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Mariners Making Moves, Adding Some Exciting Youth

"20180601_Hagerty-405" by Tom Hagerty Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

There’s no doubt the Mariners are sellers at this year’s trade deadline. We knew that before the season even started. If the Mariners had a winning record and competing for a division. It still wouldn’t matter; the team’s strategy right now is building for the future. That means trade away any veteran players that have value.

Bye Bye Vogey

The sell-off started on 08/23 when the team officially traded struggling DH Daniel Vogelbach to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations, Vogelbach was designated for assignment by the team on 08/19, so at least they got something in return for him.

I wrote about Vogey a few days ago.

https://skullkingsports.com/2020/08/20/fan-favorite-vogelbach-designated-for-assignment/

Walker to the Blue Jays

The next move came on Thursday 08/27 when the team traded former top prospect Taijuan Walker to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later, and some cash. Walker was a nice story this year, prior to this season he hadn’t pitched in 2 years due to undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of 2018 when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This was the second time the team traded Walker. Back in 2016, the Mariners traded Taijuan and Ketel Marte to Arizona for Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura.

Walker made 5 starts for the M’s this season, posting a 2-2 record with a 4.00 ERA and 25 strikeouts. He’s been a bit inconsistent this season, which is expected for a guy who hasn’t pitched in 2 years, but the rust seems to be off. In his last three starts, Walker has pitched a total of 19 innings, given up just 3 total runs, and struck out 17. The Blue Jays might’ve traded for a gem, if you consider the little value the Mariners will get back in return.

Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll ever be the front-line starter that he was projected to be when he was a prospect. But during this COVID shortened season, Walker has shown that he can be a solid #3 or #4 starter on a good team.

Big 7-player deal with San Diego

Sunday, August 30th the moves continued for the Mariners, they took part in a 7-player deal with the San Diego Padres. The Mariners acquired from the Padres infielder Ty France, pitcher Andres Munoz, catcher Luis Torrens, and outfielder Taylor Trammell. In return, the Mariners sent catcher Austin Nola, Dan Altavilla, and Austin Adams to San Diego. The prize for the Mariners in the deal is Taylor Trammell, he’s just 22, and ranked the 60th best prospect in baseball. This now gives the Mariners 6 prospects ranked in the top 100, very likely moving the Mariners from the 3rd best farm system in baseball, to top 2, maybe even #1.

In 4 minor league seasons, Taylor Trammell has hit .271 with 33 home runs, 201 RBI, 110 stolen bases, a .363 on-base percentage, and a .769 OPS (on-base + slugging). It’s pretty evident why at one point some experts had him as the 11th best prospect in baseball (pre-2019). That combination of speed and power is highly valued. He’ll join an already loaded young outfield with rookie of the year frontrunner Kyle Lewis, other top prospects Jared Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez. In a few seasons that Mariner outfield will be very exciting to watch.

 

All four players the Mariner’s received in the trade are young, with great upside, but very little MLB experience. Ty France is the oldest (26), and most experienced of all the players. He made his major debut back early in the 2019 season. Only Taylor Trammell has yet to play in the big leagues. We will not see pitcher Andres Munoz this year, and possibly a good chunk of next season. He underwent Tommy John surgery last March.

Here is what GM Jerry Dipoto said about the players the Mariner’s are receiving in the deal. “We are excited to add four talented players to the Mariners organization, all of whom are playing in their age-25 or younger seasons,” Dipoto said. “Ty France has shown the ability to play the corners of the diamond while providing pop at the plate. Andres Muñoz is an electric arm, who at 21, has already gained experience at the Big-League level. Luis Torrens receives well behind the plate and has the ability to be a productive hitter at the Major League level. Taylor Trammell is a dynamic player who has an advanced left-handed bat, speed on the bases, and above-average defense in the outfield.”

What did the Mariners give up in the deal? Austin Nola is the player the Padres really wanted in the deal, he’s been primarily used as the everyday catcher for the M’s this season, but he’s also spent time at 1st base. Nola has hit .306 with 5 home runs, 19 RBI, a .373 on-base percentage, and a .531 slugging percentage (.903 OPS) in 29 games with the Mariners this season. He’s been very solid defensively and has generated rave reviews from the coaches on his handling of a young pitching staff.

The pitchers in the deal, Austin Adams, and Dan Altavilla, probably won’t factor much into the Padres future. Both pitchers are talented, but Altavilla has struggled this year, and Adams had ACL surgery a little over a year ago. Altavilla, 27, pitched in 13 games for the Mariners this year, going 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA (10 ER, 11.2 IP) with 14 strikeouts, 7 walks, and 3 home runs allowed. In 5 Major League seasons with the Mariners (2016-2020), he’s 7-6 with a 4.08 ERA (48 ER, 106.0 IP) with 55 walks and 117 strikeouts in 108 relief appearances. At times looked like he has the stuff to be a closer, but the lack of control has made him too risky of an option for Mariner coaches.

Sell, Sell, Sell

With the trade deadline ending at 4 PM EST today, it appears the Mariner’s might be done. But who knows, Jerry might have something up his sleeve. The Mariners still have value in some veteran players like Kendall Graveman, Kyle Seager, Dee Gordon, and Mitch Haniger. For the M’s to deal Seager, Gordon, and Haniger. GM Jerry Dipoto might have to get creative and take on most of their salaries.

Going into the season I thought Seager was basically untradeable because he’s still owed $33.5 million over the next two seasons. Might not be as impossible as previously thought, he’s having a solid season, and in 2022 the team has a buyout on the contract. It’s the fact that he’s owed $18.5 million next year that makes things difficult for the M’s. Maybe a team that desperately wants to add a veteran all-star like Kyle will be willing to work something out with Jerry, I highly doubt the M’s would get any significant value back though.

Stay tuned, we know Jerry Dipoto likes to make transactions, he’s not a GM that just sits back, and the team is aggressive sellers right now. I’m guessing he’ll be receiving or making calls right up to the deadline.

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