1. 3B Options: Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas
Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager has always been known for his slow starts. But it is now June and the formal All-star and Gold Glover is still struggling in every part of the game. Seager has had his struggles defensively the past couple of seasons since his gold glove season in 2014. These struggles have continued this year as he rides a .973 Fielding percentage and 9 errors. What’s been most disappointing about Seager however is his bat. Seager is slashing an underwhelming .222/.270/.408/.678 clip this season with a solid 12 homers and 41 runs batted in. Right now Dipoto and the Mariners are batting Seager 5th, and whenever I watch or listen to a Mariner’s game it seems like he is always struggling. Recently things haven’t gotten better for Seager, in his last 30 games he’s just slashing a miserable .212/.226/.365 with just 2 walks. If this was a typical 70-80 win Mariners season I would be fine with leaving Seager out there for the rest of the season, but when they’re 4 games back from Houston and looking at their first October run since 2001? Nah. They need something to change, and there are a few options out there that they could look into.
Game Changer- (BAL) SS Manny Machado for OF Kyle Lewis, RHP Sam Carlson and OF Braden Bishop
Positives- Machado is a 3 time (soon to be 4 time) all-star and 2 time golden glove award winner and has played his whole career at 3B (moving from SS when he came up because of JJ Hardy). This year Machado is batting a very solid .305/.373/.559/.931 with 18 home runs and 53 RBIs. Machado is playing on the worst team in baseball so it is very impressive that he is third in RBIs in the league with 53. He would be a major upgrade to Kyle Seager, and would give the Mariners even more depth in the infield. Maybe they could move Seager to 2B and put Gordon back into the outfield or jut platoon the struggling third basemen at first base with right handed hitter Ryon Healy.
Concerns- Though Machado has solid season stats he has had his own struggles in the last 30 games. In his last 30 games he’s been swinging a rough .234/.282/.383/.665 with just 4 homers and 11 RBIs. Though there is still a month to go until Machado will be dealt so he can easily turn things around, and if anything his current production will only drop his trade value, giving the Mariners a better chance to get him. Another issue with Machado is his trade value. Most people see Machado costing a motherload of prospects, with at least 3 in the top 50. But I doubt too many playoff teams are going to be willing to give that much for the star SS. Everyone knows that the Orioles should have traded him in the winter when he had more value (since whoever gets him would have a full season of Machado rather than just 2 to 3 months of him now). Now his trade value has dropped, but there are still other teams like the Brewers, Yankees, Rockies, D-backs, and Phillies who have a lot more prospects to offer than the Mariners do.
I doubt that Dipoto will pull off this trade, and I think they need to wait at least another month before they seriously consider it. But Seager’s current performance just isn’t cutting it, and if the Mariners want to keep on winning games and staying close to Houston something in their offense HAS to change. And who better than Manny Machado. I’ll wait.
Dark Horse Candidate- (KC) 3B Mike Moustakas for RHP Nick Rombelow and OF Anthony Jimenez
Positives- I know, I know, Moustakas? Really? The guy is barely putting up better numbers than Seager. But overall he has put up better offensive numbers with a .264/.320/.473/.793 with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs. And though these numbers might not be overwhelming, don’t forget that we still have over 5 weeks until the trade deadline, so if Moose catches fire and Seager continues to struggle? This could be a huge upgrade for the Mariners, and he’s also a free agent after this year so Seager can have his job back for next year.
Negatives- As much as Moustakas has outperformed Seager this year he has definitely under preformed as of late. In his last 30 games he struggled batting just .206/.297/.371/.668. But then again we still have another 5 weeks until he will be dealt, so he still has time to change our minds. Moustakas would also not be much of a defensive upgrade as he holds just a .963 fielding percentage with 6 errors.
Again, realistically I don’t think Dipoto would pull off this trade either. People see Seager as a franchise third basemen who has had many solid years with the Mariners (other than Felix Hernandez Seager has been on the team longer than any other current player). But one important thing to remember about Moose is he doesn’t have nearly as high of a trade value as Machado would. We’ve all seen how Dayton Moore will take lower tier prospects when he dealt his closer for the National’s 10th and 11th ranked prospects (and we’ve seen relievers like Herrera, aka Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, cost massive hauls). If we got Moustakas, Dipoto would have plenty of room to make other acquisitions, perhaps to the rotation or the bullpen. Though if I were the GM I probably wouldn’t give the green light on a Moose deal, though it is something that I would consider, especially if Seager continues to play as horrible as he has been playing.
2. Outfield Options: Nick Castellanos, Khris Davis
In the last 30 games or so we have seen Mariners outfielders Ben Gamel and Denard Span just take off, with Gamel slashing .385/.452 and Span splashing a great .302/.362 with 2 homers. And with All-star hopeful Mitch Haniger playing right field everyday what could go wrong? Well we’ve seen this kind of production from Gamel before, there was a point last year where Gamel had the highest batting average in baseball in the first half of the season, but then in the second half he tanked, batting .227/.262/.376 after the all-star break. Could this be a repeat of last year? There are also questions with Span, can he sustain this production through the whole season? As good as Mitch Haniger has been, has he been good recently? No, not at all, He’s been swinging a struggling .208/.303/.385 with just 5 homers in his last 30 games. With all of these question marks about the outfield, Heredia’s own slump, and talk of Gordon staying in 2B upon Cano’s return, I think an upgrade in the outfield would be welcome. Now the only question here is can they acquire a player that they can afford and will have enough positive production to make a difference on this team? I think the answer is yes.
Game Changer- (DET) RF Nick Castellanos for OF Kyle Lewis and 1B Daniel Vogelbach
The once top prospect, Castellanos has had a solid career with the Tigers and you wouldn’t think they’d be willing to let him go. The better route would probably be an extension, and with the surprisingly disappointing season of the Indians (and pretty much the entire AL Central) and the strong start by the Tigers they find themselves in playoff contention. But if the Tigers were really committed to winning they wouldn’t have traded the face of the franchise Justin Verlander to the Astros last August, and with the right offer I think the M’s could easily pry the star outfield from Detroit’s grasp. Daniel Vogelbach has proven all he has to prove AAA, slashing .290/.437/.595/1.033 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs. The only problem for Voggy is he will probably never see consistent playing time in Seattle’s already full infield. They have Healy having a solid year at first, and talk of Cano moving there later in the year. This guy could be a stud, and could easily slash 30 homers annually in Detroit. Lewis is the jewel of the Mariners farm, and with the toss in of Vogelbach the Tigers would definitely consider this offer.
Positives- Castellanos plays right field (Haniger can easily move to center), and also has years of experience at third base if they need him. Nick seems to be just a plain and simple solid hitter, slashing .307/.350/.497/.846 with 9 homers and 41 RBIs and 22 doubles. This solid bit of offense is better than all of the Mariners current production (with the exception of Mitch Haniger). But more importantly, Castellanos simply crushes vs left handed pitching, in 70 at bats he’s slugging a .414/.461/.586/1.046 batting line with a couple of homers and 9 RBIs. With a current 2 lefties in the lineup the Mariners could now throw out 3 solid righties (Haniger, Heredia and Castellanos) against lefthanded pitching. Another Positive (or negative depending on how you look at it) is the Mariners would have another 2 years of control through the arbitration process, maintaining control through the 2020 season. Though this would make for a crowded outfield it would keep the Mariners window of success open for a little bit longer.
Negatives- Negatives? Can’t think of too many but I’ll give it a shot. Dipoto has already acquired one outfielder (Denard Span) so adding Castellanos would make things crowded for the current group for the next few seasons pushing the Mariners to 5 outfielders. Also Nick would cost the Mariners their best prospect, as I doubt the Tigers would deal their star outfielder for a package that didn’t include a top 100 prospect. Losing their top prospect it would limit the Mariners options in acquiring a starting pitcher, which most people believe they need to do. For me it’s like this, they have arms in Tacoma and so far the rotation, minus Gonzales’s last 2 starts and Felix in general, has been pretty solid so I don’t think they NEED to acquire more pitching.
Overall I think this would be a great deal for both sides. The Mariners would get a super star caliber player who can help lead the Mariners to the postseason for the next 3 seasons. And the Tigers would get two young studs to help build for a brighter future. Realistically I don’t see Dipoto making this deal, I think he will acquire pitching rather than hitting, but perhaps an injury to an outfielder would change his mind? Who knows, also the Tigers have been on a tear lately and are in legit contention with the Indians, so you might see them buy rather than sell, we’ll see, only time will tell.
Dark Horse Candidate- (OAK) DH/LF Khris Davis for 1B Evan White, RHP Nick Rumbelow and OF Braden Bishop
Positives- Wait Khris Davis? Isn’t he a DH? Yes he has moved to DH, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t move back to Left field for a few months. He might become a defensive liability but his powerful bat will more than make up for it. Past Haniger, the Mariners don’t have any power bats in the outfield, and that’s including Dee Gordon when he was playing center field. And this guy is slashing this year, hitting a line of .238/.321/.540./861 with 20 Home runs and 49 RBIs. In his last 30 games Davis is slugging an even stronger .264/.352/.623 with 11 homers and 20 RBIs. He’s hit more than three times as many homers than Span, Heredia, Gamel, Gordon combined. This addition of power will surely help an underperforming Mariners lineup in the second half of the year.
Negatives- As I have discussed Davis would be a defensive liability, with Cruz at DH he would be forced into left field which he has only played 9 times all year. Davis has also struggled with runners in scoring position, having just a .219 batting average with runners in scoring position, so he would have to bat lower in the lineup.
Davis wouldn’t solve all of the Mariners offensive problems, but he’d definitely be an improvement and he would be a much cheaper option than a Castellanos or a Machado. Honestly I don’t think this would be a move Dipoto would make, since he usually likes to add solid defenders and play small ball. Also Oakland’s surprisingly good start has put them in contention, and are one of the few teams that could actually challenge the Mariners or Astros for a wildcard spot, so it might make sense for the A’s to listen to offers from a team outside of the division. But we’ll have to wait and see what will happen in the coming month, Oakland could go 6-20 and be forced to sell, or they could go 20-6 and be in the playoff mix, we’ll just have to wait and see.
3. Catcher Options: Wilson Ramos, JT Realmuto
All Mariners fans know just how bad Mike Zunino can be offensively. Whenever he comes to the plate you expect a strike out and maybe hope for a homer. From 2013 to 2016 Zunino batted a terrible .195/.245 clip with a solid 50 homers. He was so bad that the Mariners decided to send him down to AAA Tacoma for most of the 2016 season. In 2017 Zunino finally began to break through, with a much improved .251/.331/.509/.840 with 25 home runs and 64 RBIs in 430 plate appearances. When the Marlins began their fire sale last offseason and the Mariners got Gordon I was surprised that they didn’t go for Realmuto also. I suppose Zunino’s strong 2017 campaign changed Dipoto’s mind. But in the first few months of 2018 Zunino has recessed back into his formal self, swinging a struggling .202/.266/.434/.699 clip with 11 homers. The Mariners have had their offensive struggles this season, playing more 1 run games than anyone else in the majors. Something has to change in their offense, and many believe that Zunino is the worst hitter in the Mariners lineup. I have a hard time arguing against that, and there are some upgrades available that could give the Mariners lineup the extra depth that it needs.
Game changer- (MIA) JT Realmuto for OF Kyle Lewis, 1B Daniel Vogelbach, 1B Evan White and RHP Logan Gilbert
Positives- Realmuto has been one of if not the best offensive catcher this year. He’s slashing a very impressive .297/.355/.536/.879 clip with 9 homers and 27 runs batted in. Along with his heavy bat, Realmuto has been a superb fielder this year, he’s holding a .995 fielding percentage and has thrown out 11 runners. More importantly for Realmuto is his controllability. The Mariners would have Realmuto under control through the 2021 season, which would keep this winning window open for a little bit longer.
Negatives- The main problem for a Realmuto deal is the affordability. In Steve Adams MLB Trade Rumors article he says that a month ago the asking price for the Nationals was top prospect Victor Robles and young star Juan Soto. The Mariners have little depth in their minor league system, so a deal for Realmuto would clean house and perhaps cripple the Mariner’s farm system for at least a year, leaving no more room to make any pitching additions.
Since the Marlins are in the middle of a rebuild, and the value of Realmuto will probably never be higher than it is now, perhaps they will lower their asking price to the Mariners range. Realistically I don’t think that the Mariners have the prospects for Realmuto, but I think it’s definitely worth at least looking into. I’ve always said that Zunino would be a perfect backup catcher, and having Realmuto on the team would make this a reality.
Dark horse candidate- (TB) Wilson Ramos for 1B Evan White, 3B Joe Rizzo and RHP Art Warren
Positives- Wilson Ramos has been one of the pleasant surprises of 2018, after suffering most of last season with a torn ACL he has come back strong, hitting .288/.337/.447/.784 with a surprising 9 homers and 36 RBIs. Ramos has been a clutch hitter this year for Tampa Bay, owning a .362 batting average with runners in scoring position. One of the best things about Ramos is that he would be cheap, since he is a free agent after this season. If the Mariners acquired Ramos, they would still have some room to acquire another piece to make their postseason run, a starter seems most likely.
Negatives- Even though Ramos has been so much better than Zunino this year, his numbers are not jaw dropping. Ramos has also had his own June struggles, batting just .217/.277/.350/.627 with just 2 homers and 8 RBIs. Though he’d be an upgrade, a hot July by Zunino could easily change Dipoto’s mind so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Under the Dipoto regime the Mariners have made more deals with the Rays than they have with any other team, as recent as this month even. So a deal with Tampa would seem logical, though I would think that it would include a pitcher, not a hitter. My gut tells me that the Mariners will stick with Zunino as they’ve always have. But if his average dips under .200 and stays there? Can they justify keeping that in the lineup? Perhaps not. I believe that something has to change, because Zunino is becoming a real offensive liability and if it continues I could see Dipoto finally doing something about it.
4. Starting Pitching Options: Tyson Ross, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Lance Lynn
If you watched Mariners baseball last year you know that enough starting pitching is never enough. Last year the Mariners used a record 17 different pitchers as starters, as the entire rotation went on the DL at once (including the 6th man as well). With a AAA rotation the Mariners underperformed last year, missing the postseason by 7 games and finishing 6 games under .500. This year has been completely different, other than an early injury to Erasmo Ramirez that led to early rotation struggles, the Mariners rotation has been surprisingly amazing. Starters like Mike Leake, Marco Gonzales, and Wade LeBlanc have come out of nowhere, and staff ace James Paxton has met all of his preseason expectations. But if we learned anything over the last couple of years it’s that one of these 5 pitchers will get injured. All of their starters (other than maybe Wade LeBlanc) have substantial injury history. Starter James Paxton has never thrown a full MLB season in his previous 4 tries, each time getting sidelined by injuries. So there is an obvious question mark whether Paxton can sustain his early season success, and questions on what kind of pitcher he will be come September or October. Marco Gonzales is 2 years removed from Tommy John surgery, so he could easily go back on the DL. Felix has never really been his real self since he began to get plagued by injuries in 2016. My point is that at least one (or more) of these 5 starters will get injured. And the Mariners need to acquire a starter for when that will happen to keep this team moving through a tough August and make a postseason run. And there are plenty of viable options that could help bring the Mariners a pennant.
Game Changer- (NYM) Jacob deGrom/Noah Syndergaard (either or) for OF Kyle Lewis, OF Braden Bishop, RHP Logan Gilbert, and 1B Daniel Vogelbach
Positives- As of today Jacob DeGrom might be the best pitcher in baseball. His 1.51 ERA is the lowest in all of baseball, and he also holds a very solid 0.99 WHIP and .204 opponent average. DeGrom could be the Justin Verlander of this year, as he comes with 3 more years of affordable team control and could sit in the front of any major league rotation. Syndergaard on the other hand has been plagued by injuries this season which might raise some red flags, but if anything it will only knock the Met’s asking price down. Both pitchers come with years of team control that could keep the Mariners window of opportunity open and have successful postseason experience that the Mariners need.
Negatives- the only negatives that I can really think of are affordability. With a thin farm system both players could easily be out of the Mariners price range. The Mets will be asking for giant hauls of prospects and there are other teams who can offer more than the Mariners can.
I think that the most likely trade to happen for the Mariners in the coming month is a trade for a starter. But realistically I don’t think Dipoto could pull this off, even if we emptied our minor league system there are teams like the Phillies or Yankees who could easily offer more. The Mariners will have to have a little bit of luck to pull this one off, and I hope they do.
Game Changer- (TOR) LHP J.A. Happ for 1B Daniel Vogelbach, OF Braden Bishop, and RHP Sam Carlson
Positives- J.A. Happ has been a very solid starting pitcher this season, thus far he’s posted a 9-3 record with an ERA of 3.56 with 102 strikeouts in 91 innings. More importantly however, Happ has been even better recently, posting a 5-0 record with an ERA of 2.35 in his last 7 starts. Though Happ isn’t much of an improvement to the likes of Mike Leake or Wade LeBlanc, he is still a proven starter, and the Mariners could easily move to a 6 man rotation to make room for the southpaw.
Negatives- The Mariners already have 3 left handed pitchers in their rotation and if he was going to replace anybody it would probably be the struggling Felix Hernandez, or enter a 6 man rotation, but this would leave the Mariners with an unbalanced rotation (4 lefties and just 2 righties). Happ also is probably not a huge game changer like a DeGrom or a Syndergaard would be, though he is a solid arm that has had success this season.
This is a deal that has been rumored to happen, and to me would make a lot of sense. Since Happ would be a free agent after this year he would come at a cheap price, my only concern is giving up too much for the left hander. The Yankees, who are also looking for starting pitching, could easily drive the asking price for Happ up and force us to give up some of our top prospects for him. But if Dipoto can pull this off, this is the most realistic trade for the Mariners.
Dark Horse Candidate- (TEX) LHP Cole Hamels for OF Eric Filia, RHP Nick Rumbelow and player to be named later.
Positives- Hamels is definitely the most decorated starter listed here, with substantial postseason experience, the 13 year veteran could help lead the Mariners staff on a postseason run this fall. Though this season hasn’t been special, but it’s been solid, with the Rangers Hamels has posted a 4-6 record with a 3.41 ERA and has 92 strikeouts in 92 innings. With his experience and solid stuff I think Hamels could help Paxton lead this rotation in the second half of the year.
Negatives- The biggest negative that comes with Hamels is his giant contract. Though he’s only signed through next season we’d have to pay him 30 million between now and then, and honestly I don’t think the Mariners ownership will buy into this.
With how big Hamels contract is, if ownership were willing to eat up most of it, then we could probably get him with limited prospects. That’s a big if though, more likely Texas would pay most of his contract and we’d have to give up some top prospects. Because I don’t think that is likely I list the Mariners giving up fleeting prospects for Hamels. Realistically this deal is definitely a stretch, but if the Yankees get Happ and the asking price for DeGrom/Syndergaard is too high? Dipoto might have to consider this.
Dark Horse Candidate- (MIN) RHP Lance Lynn for 1B Evan White, OF Braden Bishop, and RHP Sam Carlson
Positives- Though Lynn got off to a rough start this season, he has since turned it around. In his last 7 starts he has posted a 4-2 record with a 2.29 ERA. A Month ago I would have never even considered Lynn as a rotation piece, but with the injury of Chris Archer and this midseason push? Lynn could fit in nicely in the Mariners rotation. Of course a deal like this won’t happen for another month so who knows? If Lynn cools off then he’ll be off the radar, if he continues his success and the Twins fall off the standings? He would look good in green and blue.
Negatives- Right now the Twins are sitting at 33-38 and are just 6 games back in the AL Central division race. Though it’s likely that the Indians will eventually pull away with the division, if they don’t? Lynn’s not going anywhere. The Mariners would also have to pay the what’s remaining on Lynn’s contract (around 6 million) so there’s no telling it the ownership would buy it when there are cheaper options like Happ on the table.
I honestly think that this deal could happen. Yes the Twins are still contention and there’s still another month to go before the trade deadline. But if Lynn stays hot and the Twins falter? I really think Dipoto could get a steal here. Lynn would fit well in front of the rotation and add another righty to the staff, only time will tell.
5. Relief Options- Blake Treinen, Jeurys Familia, Shane Greene, Zach Britton, Keone Kela, Jared Hughes
The Mariners have gotten off to an amazing start this year, and a lot of that has to do with their bullpen keeping them in one run games. But as good as this bullpen has been they have taken several hits this year. Before the season even start Mariners setup man David Phelps went down with a right elbow UCL injury put him out for the season. Reliever Nick Vincent has also gone through his own injuries, suffering a right groin strain. Dipoto responded to these injuries with the acquisition of Rays closer Alex Colome. At the time I thought this was a brilliant move. But now it seems like more of a head scratcher. In Colome’s 10 games with the Mariners he’s put up a struggling 5.19 ERA and has surrendered 2 homers. We gave up a very solid arm (Andrew Moore) for him, which to me seems like a bargain for Tampa Bay. Especially considering how little the Nationals had to give to acquire Kelvin Herrera, who has been light years better than Colome this season. I get that the Mariners will have team control of Colome for a few more years, but still he has not solved the immediate bullpen problems, which I think Dipoto needs to address. Right handers Ryan Cook and Chasen Bradford have been even worse than Colome, and Juan Nicasio has also had his struggles. As much as people believe that Mariners need more starting pitching, I would argue that they need a solid anchor in the bullpen to put behind Diaz. Thus far they’ve tried out Phelps, Vincent, Nicasio and Colome and none of them have worked out. I believe that unless the bullpen turns themselves around in the next month that the Mariners need to aggressively pursue some of the top arms available, because if the Mariners don’t, then the Angels and Astros will.
Game Changer- (OAK) RHP Blake Treinen for OF Kyle Lewis and RHP Sam Carlson
Positives- Blake Treinen has been one of the best closers this season, even winning Reliever of the Month in May. His 1.03 ERA is among the best among relievers this year, and has a solid 16 saves for a struggling Oakland team. His K/9 ratio has surged up to 11.06 this season which is almost 3 strike outs higher than last year. Treinen is also a free agent after this season so the Mariners would not have to give as many prospects up for him like they would have to do for a reliever like Brad Hand. Treinen would fit perfectly into an 8th inning role for the Mariners, taking the pressure off of Colome and Nicasio.
Negatives- Since Treinen is probably the best reliever available there will be a lot of competition for him. Teams like the Astros and Indians who need that anchor closer will be offering the A’s a lot, and I hope the Mariners can step in first, but it is kind of doubtful. Also the Mariners already have a pretty full bullpen thanks to the Colome deal, so I think they should definitely wait until late July before they seriously consider pulling the trigger on another reliever, perhaps Colome, Vincent, and Nicasio will have solid second halves, which would give the Mariners room to address other needs.
Personally I think Treinen is probably the best option in the entire article, not only would a strong setup man help the bullpen but it would also help the rotation which needs to stay healthy if the Mariners wish to succeed. I think it is most likely that Dipoto will look into acquire a starter first and then if he has room, a reliever, and I really hope he gets Treinen.
Game Changer- (NYM) RHP Jeurys Familia for 1B Daniel Vogelbach and OF Braden Bishop
Positives- from 2015 to 2016 Familia was one of the most elite closers in the game for the New York Mets, recording an astounding 94 saves in those 2 years. Though he struggled with blood clot injuries all of last year he has had a very respectable start to his 2018 campaign. A free agent at the end of the year, and a step down from Treinen, Familia might be the best for how much you’ll have to give to get him. So far this year he’s riding a career high 10.16 K/9 with a solid 2.60 ERA and 14 saves. I think that he would be a very solid setup man behind Diaz, similar to Treinen, but just not as elite.
Negatives- The Mets are still waiting to start their fire sale, if the Mets get hot in the next month the asking price for Familia may rise out of the Mariners price range.
Overall I think Familia would make a solid addition to the Mariners pin and give them a chance against the Astros in 2018. I think that Dipoto would definitely make this move if he can. The Mariners have had a shaky bullpen in the last month and Familia could balance them out.
Dark Horse Candidate- Shane Greene for 1B Evan White, RHP Sam Carlson and OF Braden Bishop
Greene, perhaps a step down from Familia and Treinen, is still a solid option. He has been a solid closer for the Tigers this year, recording 19 saves and owns an ERA of 3.65. Greene also comes with several controllable years under the arbitration process. These controllable years might press the Tigers to drive the asking price up for the young closer. Though I don’t think that the Tigers are anywhere near a postseason berth, they might wait a year or so for Greene’s trade value to go up before they trade him. Though with the right offer? Greene could easily be pitching the 8th inning in this year’s American League Wild Card Game.
Dark Horse Candidate- Zach Britton for RHP Sam Carlson, RHP Nick Rumbelow and OF Braden Bishop
Britton is the most intriguing option available. From 2014-2016 he was the greatest closer on the planet, getting ground ball rates at an historic pace. Unfortunately he has suffered through injuries throughout the last year and his trade value has plummeted. The Orioles should have traded Britton prior to the 2017 season, but chose not to. Obviously they chose wrong. But now they kind of have to trade him, and they’ll trade him for next to nothing so they at least get something out of Britton. This all pretty much depends on Brittons performance over the next month, if he’s terrible then I doubt anyone will be willing to pay the 4 million that will be left of his contract. But if he’s solid and not too great? Could be a cheap option is the Orioles are willing to eat most of his contract.
Dark Horse Candidate
(CIN) RHP Jared Hughes for 1B Evan White, RHP Sam Carlson and OF Braden Bishop
Jared Hughes has been one of the more surprising relievers in baseball this year. He has quietly posted a 1.36 ERA through almost 40 innings with the Reds this year. Only thing you can hold against him is that he doesn’t close games (only has 5 this year). But the Mariners aren’t looking for a closer, only a setup man, which is what Hughes has been. Hughes also comes to 2 and a half years of very cheap team control. Of course there are questions whether his production thus far this season is sustainable, so I think the Mariners should wait until the deadline (and see how Hughes does over the next month) before they make a move. Still Dipoto has a history of building the next years team before the current year is even over. I would love this move.
Overall this has been an amazing season for the Mariners this year. They are easily one of the top 5 teams in baseball and have proven it time and again. But with every great team there can always be improvement. And that is what the trade deadline is for, it’s for each contender to try and get a step above the next, to be able to make the best postseason team that they can. Look at what Andrew Miller meant to the Indians in 2016? At what Chapman meant to the Cubs in 2016? At what J.D. Martinez meant to the Diamondbacks in 2017? At what Justin Verlander did for the Astros last year? These trades CAN push you over the top. A postseason team doesn’t have to be perfect, you can have a catcher batting .202 at the bottom of the order, you can have a veteran pitcher burning out with a 5.50 ERA at the bottom of the rotation. These things are ok, because all you can do when you make it to the postseason is hope. Hope and pray that your team catches fire, and you must do any and everything that you can to make that happen. This is what the trade deadline is for. And I’m very excited to be able to write, talk, and wonder about what the Mariners are going to do to finally end that Postseason drought. Thanks for reading!