The Mariners Should Be Sellers At The Trade Deadline

I would like to believe there are consequences to our actions. The Mariners entered the second half of the season on an encouraging 7-2 hot streak. It got us back to a game over .500 and right in range of competing for a playoff spot. But, we couldn’t let up! There was two and a half weeks between the start of the second half and the upcoming trade deadline. One week in, the Mariners have gone 2-4, including losing 2 of 3 to the lowly Tigers, followed by losing 2 of 3 to a direct Wild Card rival in the Twins.

It’s clear the Mariners are going nowhere.

Once again, we’re a game under .500. Now there’s about a week and a half before the deadline. I’m officially throwing in the towel. This season is cooked. It’s time to start talking about trading away some tradeable assets and reloading for 2024.

Teoscar Hernandez should be the first to go. He’s in the final year of his deal, and he’s definitely not helping us in any way, shape, or form. However, he could help a club that plays in a ballpark that doesn’t stifle his power quite so much. Even though he may be underperforming based on expectations, there’s still good value there. Teams in need of a power bat should be lining up to try to take him from us. Maybe throw in a veteran reliever to sweeten the pot and see if you can get a good prospect or something.

I would look into trading Kolten Wong and A.J. Pollock for whatever you can get. Bag of balls, maybe some Big League Chew. Addition By Subtraction moves at their finest.

I would also see what the market is for a decent backup catcher. What are we holding onto Tom Murphy for?

Last night, I was all ready to blow things up in the bullpen and offer up Andres Munoz in trade, but I think that was mostly related to how shitty he’s looked in his last couple outings. Nevertheless, there’s an argument to be made that you’d be selling high on him. He has a very reasonable contract through 2025, with club options the next three years. I would be extremely curious to see what the rest of the league is willing to offer.

I think the Mariners would be idiotic to not trade away Sewald. Next year is his final Arbitration season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He’s also currently 33 years old and is probably as good as he’s ever going to be. The iron is hot, NOW is the time to strike!

I know everyone is ready to let Marco Gonzales go, but good luck trying to jettison that salary. Also he’s currently injured, so I don’t know how you think that’s going to work. My guess is we keep him on the team through this year, then quietly deal him for nothing in the offseason (either packaged with someone of value to get them to take his contract off our hands, or by eating a significant portion of the $12 million he’s owed next year).

I would, however, seriously try to move Ty France asap. He’s got two more Arbitration years left, but he’s 29 years old and already looks like he’s on the downside of his career. He’s one of the most HBP’d guys in baseball, which means he’s oft-banged up. He plays through a lot of pain – which is commendable – but he also clearly suffers at the plate as a result. He’s swung and missed at more terrible off-speed stuff than I ever remember him doing (except, again, when he’s playing through substantial injuries). This is not going to get better. It’s not going to stop, either. Now is the time to get what you can for him. If not, it’ll be too late and we’ll be stuck with him.

I’m not super-committed to this idea, but like with Munoz, I think I would have to listen to any calls that came in for Eugenio Suarez. His isn’t the easiest contract to take on, but he’s only set to earn $11 million next year, with a club option for 2025. And, I mean, he’s proven to play a mean third base. You’re telling me that’s not of value to one of the many legitimate playoff contenders?

I won’t get much crazier than that. I still think the Mariners need to hang onto the nucleus of this team. But, these players who are on expiring deals, they probably don’t deserve to hang around much longer. If we’re being sellers, that means bringing back prospects. Prospects who are either close to breaking into the Bigs, or who we can flip for more useful Major League pieces in 2024 and beyond.

But, it’s time to get rid of this fantasy that the 2023 Mariners are going to contend for anything. It doesn’t matter where we are in the standings, or what’s happening to the teams around us. WE are mediocre. WE can’t get out of our own way. WE keep finding ways to lose these winnable games.

So, WE need to extract as much value as we can from this lost season. That means both trimming the fat and also cutting off some prime cuts of meat to offer to the wolves. There’s no reason to cling to this sinking ship.

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