For each division, we will be doing an in-depth look at each team’s situations for the offseason and offer some insights to what would make sense.
I take a dive into the AL West… one of the most puzzling divisions in the entire MLB. The Astros are really good, we get that… but the A’s seem to compete every year, the Mariners decide to miss the playoffs every year, the Angels have no pitching every year, and the Rangers are just horrid.
Top FA Targets:
- Martin Maldonado, C
The Mariners don’t have a starting catcher after trading Mike Zunino and they will clearly hit the free agent market. They’re not going to add a Grandal or Ramos… but I peg them for a Maldonado or a Chirinos.
- Tyson Ross, SP
The California native is on the open market again and won’t command much of a commitment. A potential bounce-back option that could fetch them a prospect or two at the deadline if he performs well.
- Martin Perez, SP
- Adam Jones, OF
Back to where it all started. After being shipped to Baltimore in the Erik Bedard trade, the Cali native could get closer to his hometown and find some regular playing time. The Mariners need some help in the OF (maybe a platoon in CF with Mallex?) and Adam Jones brings the veteran leadership and clubhouse presence that SEA is missing. Could also be a good mentor for prospect Kyle Lewis.
- Evan Gattis, C/DH
With Nelson Cruz leaving via free agency, the Mariners could take a flier on a guy that has averaged 24 homers a year the past four seasons in HOU and can catch roughly 30 games/year.
Top 3 Trade Possibilities:
- Mariners trade 2B Robinson Cano and $30M cash ($10M/year from 2021-2023) to the Yankees for OF Jacoby Ellsbury
The Mariners are in a very tough position with Cano. He has a NTC, a shitty contract, AND a prior PED suspension. If he is amicable to waiving the NTC to go to the Yankees, then the Mariners will have to take Ellsbury back in return. Cano will make $24M/year for the next five seasons and Ellsbury will make ~$21.1M/year for the next two seasons with a $5M buyout in 2021. With the Mariners kicking in $10M/year for the last three years of Cano’s deal, he is essentially a $14M/year player for them. While that is likely higher than his market rate will be by that time, it is a reasonable price considering Ellsbury isn’t contributing anything and Cano contributed 3.2 WAR on a “bad” season.
- Mariners trade RP Alex Colome to the Phillies for SP Zach Eflin, SS J.P. Crawford, & OF Nick Williams
The Phillies need a closer and the free agent market is a bit pricey. Colome is only set to make around $7.5M in 2019 before his last year of arbitration in 2020. Although none of these names in the return are “sexy” to Mariners fans, they can hope to find a diamond in the rough. Zach Eflin is a solid, not great option to eat innings and stabilize a rotation. Former top prospect JP Crawford has been nothing short of awful for the Phillies and Williams has posted a -1.0 WAR in his time in the majors… but both have had prior success in the minors and were rushed to the MLB. No rush in Seattle, as they can hopefully figure it out there and each come with five years of team control. The Mariners could probably do better in getting one good player in return, but I think they’re better suited buying low and hoping to strike gold with multiple lotto tickets.
- Mariners trade SP Mike Leake & $7.2M cash to the Astros for 1B Yuli Gurriel
Similar to the trade above, Mike Leake is another bad contract. With $36M remaining on his contract over the next two seasons, he will be a tough piece to move with his mediocre results and large contract. Gurriel has $18.8M remaining over the next two years and doesn’t provide much offensively. Leake would probably benefit from playing on an analytical team like the Astros, as they can position the defense well for his groundballs. The Mariners basically dump Leake to save $10M over the 2 years here.
- Mariners trade 3B Kyle Seager & RP Edwin Diaz to the Mets for OF Jay Bruce, P Robert Gsellman, and prospects SS Andres Gimenez (#1), 1B Peter Alonso (#2)
In line with the Mariners target of competing in 2021, it makes no sense to keep Kyle Seager around thru the remainder of his contract in 2021 when he’d be 34 years old. With ~$58M left on his contract and coming off his worst season as a pro, that is a rough contract to move without taking some shit contract back or attaching a young stud like Edwin Diaz. Enter shit contract… Jay Bruce. Bruce has $28M remaining over the next two seasons and would offset some of the money owed to Seager. The real return for the Mariners is the two prospects, that would both be ready and under team control by the time they are competing again, and pitcher Robert Gsellman. Gsellman could try his hand in their rotation or continue his solid work in the bullpen for Seattle.