Photo: Shari Sommerfeld
Benjamin Joseph Gamel
Height: 5'11" Weight: 187
Bats/Throws: Left / Left
Born: 05/17/1992 in Neptune Beach, Florida
Acquired: In trade from the New York Yankees, for Juan De Paula and Jio Orozco (08/31/2016)
MLB Debut: 05/06/2016
Free Agent after: 2022 season
The trade that brought Ben Gamel to Seattle was a bit of a head-scratcher. Why would the Yankees, those bastions of greed and avarice, part with the just-named MVP of the International League (Triple-A) for two guys with marginal potential in the low-low-low minors? Was Jerry Dipoto just that good a negotiator? Did the Yankees know something we didn't about Gamel? What was the catch? Apparently, there wasn't any. New York had a logjam in their outfield and needed to free up a spot on their 40-man roster and Dipoto gave them a way to do it. Call it seizing an opportunity—Dipoto knew the Yankees' situation and used it to his advantage.
The result was a steal of a deal for the Mariners. Gamel didn't show much in a few September at-bats after the trade and didn't make the big-league team out of camp in '17, but when Mitch Haniger went down with an oblique strain a few weeks into the season, Gamel came up to take his place and raked. After two weeks he was batting .373/.475/.588, and by the time Haniger returned there was no getting Gamel out of the lineup. He slumped badly in the second half, though, and going into this year nobody was really sure what to expect.
And we're still not sure, really; his first half in 2018 has been a Jeckyll/Hyde situation—at home, he's been Ted Williams, batting over .400; on the road, he's more Mario Mendoza, barely topping .200. What accounts for this? Home cooking? Jetlag? Who knows. But it might be changing; his June numbers as a whole we're outstanding—.351/.422/.491—and though his road numbers were worse than the aggregate, still respectable for the month. On the June 19-28 road swing through New York, Boston, and Baltimore, Gamel hit .280/.357/360.