MLB Trade Deadline: The Mariners

by Kevin Nesgoda

The Major League Baseball trade deadline is in close proximity. Typically, this is the time of year that Mariner’s fans, like myself, dread because we all an emotional investment. While I’m sure dealing players away can be tough from the human aspect of the game, it is a part of the business aspect.

I mean, I was a little bit sad when the news broke about Daniel Vogelbach, Seattle’s lone 2019 All Star, was designated for assignment then ultimately traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. However, from the business perspective, his “services were no longer needed” in Seattle. While Evan White is only batting .175, that’s a significant improvement than .094. On the defensive side of the ball, Evan will start 100 out of 100 times over Vogey in the field. Evan will get better offensively, as he is hitting .275 in his last 9 games while adding three long balls.

But that’s not why I’m here. I’ve put it off long enough, but we should talk about who is likely gone at the trade deadline. As a caveat, I will say this is purely conjectural.

When it comes to trading players at the deadline, teams making offers generally look for those who are producing “right now.” For Seattle, they will deal for players who are young and atop the prospect pool.

What does Seattle need? Let’s go around the horn, grass and pen.

Outfield: Nope and not for a while. The outfield is probably the deepest pool for the Mariners right now. Even with Dylan Moore out for a sprained wrist, Braden Bishop, Sam Haggerty, and Jake Fraley have made their immediate impacts. The Mariners also have Kyle Lewis, who is the front-runner for AL (should be MLB) Rookie of the Year and I’d argue a case for MVP.

There is also Tim Lopes, Dylan Moore, Jake Fraley. Lopes, Moore, and Haggerty are capable infielders as well. 

Middle infield: Sure, but not necessarily. Shed Long has been the cemented guy at second this season, but I question his offensive abilities at this point. He’s hitting .167, but has excellent speed and is also still young. Hopefully his bat will develop after more time in the Bigs.

JP Crawford, I believe, will be the shortstop for the Mariners for the foreseeable future. There are plenty of utility players that could fill in at shortstop if JP needed a day off or ended up out for a while. Overall, I think the Mariners will likely draft a second baseman and shortstop, not trade for one.

Corners: Here’s the hard part, mostly just 3B. I believe Kyle Seager’s time in Seattle might be done in 10 days. He is the “producing right now” guy that teams making (or trying) a push for a successful post season would potentially like to acquire. However, he comes at a cost.

He is owed $18.5 million in 2021 and has an option for 2022. I don’t know if a team is going to go after him, but desperate teams may—such as the Brewers who have had 3B by committee all season. The Mariners can still afford him, but I would consider going after a young stud pitcher, using Kyle as trade bait.

Pitching: Here’s the thing: Starting pitching hasn’t been too bad as of late. There are a ton of youngsters in the starting rotation, leaving Marco Gonzales and Taijuan Walker as the true veterans. Yes, Yusei Kikuchi is older, but is very new to the MLB. With the way Walker has pitched this season, I could see teams going after him. The problem is that I don’t see who the Mariners could possibly get in return. It wouldn’t be anything of notable value, in my opinion, but anything is possible.

Relievers: Yes. The thorn in Seattle’s side right now.

The bullpen is atrocious.

The bullpen is young.

Part of me believes these relievers will grow to be much better and with the way the season is heading, I don’t see a need for the Mariners to really trade away anything of value to pick up relief pitching. As we have seen over the last week or so, the relievers coming up from Tacoma are proving themselves to be productive while holding the lead.

The oldest member of the bullpen is Yoshihisa Hirano at age 36 and the only other over-30 pitcher on the 40-man roster is Matt Magill, who is 30. There are handful of 29 year olds (Austin Adams, Brandon Brennan, and Taylor Williams) who will be 30 next season.

Again, I think a lot of these relievers are young and trying to figure out this game. The ones that I see constantly struggle and have over the last few season are Dan Altavilla and Matt Magill—both who have appeared in over 100 games and have roughly a 4.00 ERA each.

So who else could Seattle deal away?

I don’t see much of a future for Dee Gordon in Seattle. He is a true leader, but his production has diminished.

Mallex Smith, who is in Tacoma, could also be dealt to a team needing speed. I also don’t see much more of a future in Seattle for Mitch Haniger. His injuries and time away I think have put the former All-Star in a position to be dealt, but I’d like to see him get back on the field in his 2018 fashion.

What pitchers are available?

I like Forrest Whitley of the Houston Astros. He struggles at times, but he is still Houston’s #1 prospect. Granted, I doubt he’s dealt, but anything is possible. I also like the possibility of adding Marcus Stroman from the Mets. If the Mets continue to struggle, I could see the potential of Stroman getting dealt, and he would be an excellent veteran for the Mariners to scoop.

Lastly, Trevor Bauer. He is slated to be the top starter entering free agency this off-season. Why not go after him now?

I’ve been saying this and I’ll just say it one more time. The Mariners are a top-tier starter and developed bullpen away from being a contending team. The bats are alive and the Mariners are scoring runs. They just need to hold opposing offenses.

As of right now, no lead is safe for the Mariners.

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