Valuing the trade chips: Seattle Mariners
- After trading away several accomplished veterans in the offseason of 2018/19, followed by Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion in June, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto doesn’t have much left to work with. Here’s a breakdown (values in $Ms):
- Haniger: 81.4
- Smith: 21.6
- Santana: 6.1
- Healy: 3.0
- Narvaez: 2.7
- Beckham: 1.4
- Gearrin: 0.3
- Strickland -0.2
- Leake: -1.3
- LeBlanc: -1.6
- Gordon: -14.8
- Hernandez: -17.8
- Seager: -20.9
Clearly the big fish is OF Mitch Haniger. He would bring back a haul. But we don’t see that happening at the deadline this summer, since most contenders are set in the OF and will be more focused on shorter-term rentals than longer-controlled talents.
Otherwise, the good news is that Dipoto has no problem including cash in deals to clear roster space and acquire younger talent for his aging veterans, so the key here is to focus on AFV (Adjusted Field Value), then calculate how much cash would be needed to break even. Any amount he includes above that line creates a total surplus value that can then be used in trade. That’s exactly how he was able to move Bruce and Encarnacion. The M’s didn’t save much money in either deal, but they did get a minor prospect back in each one by kicking in just enough to get in the black.
Dipoto would have to make similar deals to move other underwater contracts. Moving Dee Gordon might be challenging because most contenders are set at 2B, and he’s having a disappointing year to boot.
It’s likely someone could be interested in Mike Leake as an innings eater (the D’Backs recently explored that). But to do so, Dipoto would need to include at least $1.3M. More likely, he would include more to make Leake more attractive, as he is still owed over $23M (not counting what the Cardinals are covering from a previous deal). So one package could be:
Braves acquire SP Mike Leake and $10M for SP Joey Wentz.
Beyond that, there really isn’t much else that would interest a potential suitor this summer. Most contenders are set at 3B, and Kyle Seager has been injured and in decline, so his underwater contract seems unmovable. Perhaps a team would bite on setup reliever Cory Gearrin, who is worth a lottery ticket.
And you’ll notice we haven’t mentioned the revered Felix Hernandez, whose time has faded and whose contract is unmovable. He’ll retire a Mariner.
So with some creativity and a willingness to move cash, we think the M’s could yield a couple of prospects this summer. Better than nothing, right?