By: Noah Wright
The Seattle Mariners have made some hints to a rebuild in their near future. While GM Jerry Dipoto has made it clear that he’s not ready to hit full rebuild mode, I feel, as do many other fans, that their chance to compete is closing, and with a weak farm system, the time to rebuild may be now. After-all, some teams have MLB ready prospects, and trading for some of those highly touted talents, then the rebuild may not take more than a year or two. So what does this mean for other teams around The MLB?
The first team that this could impact is The Braves. The Braves are just a piece or two away from being a lock for The NL East. Right now, they need some relief pitching, a starter, and maybe a corner outfielder. There are a handful of starting pitchers on The FA market this season, so I think The Braves will likely go that route to find a starter. However, they could go to The Mariners for some relief pitching help, since they do have 2 relief pitchers with late inning experience. The first is Edwin Diaz who had an amazing season as The Mariners closer. He had a 1.96 ERA, 1.61 FIP, and .791 WHIP in 73 and a third innings of work. To top it off, he only walked 2.1 batters per 9, while striking out 15.2 per 9. That results in a 7.29 strikeout/walk ratio. Another relief pitcher they could inquire on is Alex Colome. Colome struggled out of the gate in terms of ERA as The Rays’ closer in 2018, but settled down once he got traded to Seattle. Overall, Colome still had a quality 3.04 ERA, 3.44 FIP, and 1.176 WHIP. He also kept his K rate at a high rate at 9.3 and walks to a minimum at 2.8 per 9. Now obviously, Diaz is the more valuable here. He’s just the better overall, younger, and has 2 more years of control than Colome. However that doesn’t mean that Colome wouldn’t bring back anything substantial. He does have the track record of being a successful closer. Both would bring back a haul from The Braves. The most likely to go in a trade like that would be Touki Toussaint, a starting pitching prospect who had an amazing season between double and triple-A. 136.1 innings, Toussaint had a 2.38 ERA, 2.12 FIP, and 1.130 WHIP. A trade centered around him would likely be enough to bring back Cololme, and if a few more pieces were thrown in by The Braves, Edwin Diaz could be put into the question.
Another team that could go into trade talks with The Mariners is The Yankees. The Yanks lack a good second starter, and The Mariners could have an answer in lefty James Paxton. Paxton turned in a solid season with a 3.76 ERA, 3.23 FIP, and 1.098 WHIP. He struck out batters at a career high 11.7 rate, and walked them at only 2.4 per 9. Plus he’s a year removed from a sub 3-ERA and FIP season. However Paxton comes with some drawbacks. He’s yet to reach 30 starts, or 200 innings in his career. He’s been injury prone since his career started. Another thing The Yankees should question about Paxton is his lack of keeping balls in the park in 2018. Before this season, Paxton was fairly non-HR prone. This season however, he gave up 23 in only 160 and a third innings. In a hitter friendly park, including a short distance to the left and right field corners, The Yankees may want to look twice at Paxton before trading any highly touted prospects for Pax.
The Mariners may be already facing their fate now. They traded catcher Mike Zunino to The Rays for young outfielder Mallex Smith. This is likely the start of the rebuild, and only more pieces will be moved from here. I feel the next to go is Dee Gordon. Regardless of who The Mariners trade less, this could mean something for multiple teams, and not just The Braves or Yankees.