The 2018 MLB offseason has been slow but has started to pick up over the past few days. One of the most active teams this offseason has been the Seattle Mariners. Over the past few years, the Seattle Mariners made a flurry of moves at an attempt to end the longest current playoff drought which is 17 years. Instead, the Mariners were foiled by a division rival, the Houston Astros and failed to sniff the playoffs.
The Mariners front office has decided this offseason they will sell off their top players and rebuild now. It was an interesting decision as the Mariners have a great core but cannot currently compete with the larger market teams. Seattle has already started the rebuild. The Mariners have made a flurry of trades, sending out their veterans in exchange for a handful of prospects and some high priced veterans. Here’s the Seattle Mariners trade grades for all of their offseason moves.
Traded James Paxton to the New York Yankees.
The first big move the Mariners made this winter was trading ace James Paxton to the New York Yankees. In exchange, Seattle received the Yankees’ top prospect Justus Sheffield. They also received prospects Don Thompson-Williams and Erik Swanson. Trading Paxton signaled the fire sale was on and the Yankees were desperate for an ace. In 2018 Paxton went 11-6, struck out 208 batters and finished with a 3.76 ERA.
New York Yankees: They needed an ace in the worst possible way. Their pitching rotation was EXPOSED against the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. New York shipped out their top prospect in a heartbeat for Paxton. For the Yankees, this is a win. Teaming up Paxton with Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka will make for a great playoff rotation.
Seattle Mariners: They received a decent pitching prospect in return that they can groom. The hope is Sheffield can be the new ace in the next couple of years. Sheffield was trending upwards inTriple-AA last season as he went 6-4 with a 2.56 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 20 games. Unfortunately he struggled in three games in the majors last season. Seattle was also able to get two other prospects with upside so if either of them pans out, they can come out on top in this trade.
Traded Alex Colomé to the Chicago White Sox
Seattle followed up the Paxton trade by sending reliever Alex Colomé to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for catcher Omar Narvaez.
Chicago White Sox: The White Sox acquired a top reliever but are not yet in a position to contend. They gave up a player with four years of eligibility for a guy with two. For now, the plan seems to re-sign Colomé when his deal expires. Two years is when many are expecting for the White Sox to arrive so the timing makes sense. Colomé is only 29 and one of the better relievers in the game. He had another solid season last year despite being moved to the eighth inning. Colomé brings great veteran leadership to the bullpen and is lights out. If he re-signs this deal gets even better.
Grade: B. A- if Colomé re-signs
Seattle Mariners: The Mariners received a great hitting catcher that is only 26. Narvaez is in the plans for the rebuild and is on a cheap deal. He hit .275 this year in 280 at-bats. Allowing him to groom with the rest of the prospects they receive is a smart decision. Building a relationship between Narvaez and Sheffield once he arrives in the majors now can only help the team moving forward. Not receiving an extra prospect in return is disappointing but clearing extra room in the budget is a win.
Traded Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the New York Mets
For the third year in a row, the New York Mets are advising against rebuilding and pushing forward with what they have. New GM Brodie Van Wagenen has told his team that he plans on contending this year. This trade proves it. The Mets gave up two former first-round picks for one of the best closers in the game in Edwin Diaz. Diaz led the league in saves last season with 57 and will be anchoring the ninth for New York.
New York Mets: The Mets traded for one of the best closers in the game. At only 24, Diaz is a dynamic game changer when it comes to the ninth inning. If the Mets can improve their offense this trade will be a steal. If not then what happened to Jacob deGrom last year may happen to Diaz. Improving the offense has to be the next priority. Diaz won’t be able to save any games if the offense can never hand him a lead.
But if the Mets end up singing A.J. Pollock and trade for J.T. Realmuto, then Diaz will have many save opportunities. When it comes to Cano, no one will know when father time will catch up with him. The 36-year old hit .303 last year despite his suspension. New York was able to offload two heavy contracts in Swarzak and Bruce and was able to get the Mariners to pay $20 million of Cano’s $120 million remaining salary. If Cano can avoid father time for another year or two, then he will be a boost for the offense.
Grade: B. A if their offense improves.
Seattle Mariners: They lost their top tier closer but got two former first-round picks. If Dunn and Kelenic can live up to their potential, then this trade is a win for the Mariners. They were able to offload Cano’s contract and by the time they are able to contend again. Bruce and Swarzak’s contracts will also be off the books. If Jay Bruce can redeem himself next year, then Seattle may be able to flip him at the trade deadline for a prospect. The same goes for Swarzak.
Traded Jean Segura to the Philadelphia Phillies.*
Jean Segura waived his no-trade clause for the Phillies. Seattle will be receiving Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford while the Phillies get All-Star Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio, James Pazos, plus $1 million to pay Segura’s trade bonus.
Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies were able to get an All-Star shortstop on a team friendly deal as well as get rid of Santana’s contract without having to pay any money. They were also able to bolster their bullpen with some cheap relievers.
Seattle Mariners: Jerry Dipoto what are you doing? The Mariners lost two decent relievers and Segura for Santana who is coming off a terrible season as well as Crawford whose stock has been down the past year. Crawford does have potential, but Seattle wasn’t able to get any additional prospects. At the same time, they were also unable to get the Phillies to pay any of Santana’s remaining contract. Instead, Jerry is hoping that Santana bounces back so he can flip him later on. This is a possibility but Seattle may have to pay some of his remaining contract to do so. Seattle got swindle hard on this deal. It just does not make sense.
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