Started writing this post last week as word was leaking out about Mets trade. I rewrote this several times because as the deal was being finalized Trader Jerry made two more deals.
Do you remember when the season ended and Dipoto suggested the team might need to take a “step back” in 2019 before returning to contention in 2020 or 2021. Later he suggested the M’s would “re-imagine” their roster.
Well, three trades later it’s been re-imagined and it looks a bit like a dystopian nightmare.
Mike Zunino C
Robinson Cano 2b
Jean Segura SS
Guillermo Heredia OF
Nelson Cruz DH (contract expired)
Chris Herrman (waived)
James Paxton SP
Nick Vincent RP (waived)
Edwin Diaz RP
Alex Colome RP
Juan Nicasio RP
James Pazos RP
Casey Lawrence RP-Released to Nippon Professional Baseball
Michael Plassmeyer SP (NW League Low A)
Omar Narvaez C
Carlos Santana 1B/DH
J.P. Crawford SS
Jay Bruce OF/DH
Mallex Smith OF
Jake Fraley Of (High A Charlotte)
Dylan Moore UT (AAA-free agent signing)
Ruben Alaniz RP (AAA-free agent signing)
Justus Sheffield SP/RP (AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre)
Erik Swanson SP (AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre)
Dom Thompson-Williams OF (High A Tampa)
Ricardo Sanchez SP (AA Mississippi) acquired from Atlanta for cash
Jarred Kelenic OF (Rookie League Kingsport)
Justin Dunn SP (AA Binghamton)
Gerson Bautista RP
You can see the Mariners traded away or parted with huge chunks of their major league roster and got back-well a lot fewer major league players. They got younger. They are cheaper. They are more flexible. They are years away from the majors.
Sometimes words have meaning, but perhaps a lot different meaning when they come from the mouths of major league general managers. To me, I thought stepping back meant trading some key Mariners pieces to go from 89 wins to around .500, or maybe a little less. I was fine with that.
If Dipoto had simply been frank and said, “look we need to tear this down and start over,” I would have been fine with that too. The M’s have tried to paper over their weaknesses with ill-advised trades and free agent signings since 2003. The courage to be candid might have tempered my expectations a bit. Bill Bavasi, Jack Zdurencik and Dipoto all showed the unique ability to paint a real world a bit different from their promises.
With four pretty substantial trades under their belt, however, it is unclear if the Trading Man is done. Is Seager the next to go? Will Dipoto try to trade Jay Bruce or Carlos Santana? Is Malex Smith now trade-able? Does Dee Gordon go, or will he play second base? What roles can we expect for Ryon Healy and Daniel Vogelbach? Will Jerry now trade the “untouchables” Mitch Haniger and Marco Gonzales? Why are they untouchable if Edwin Diaz was not? The M’s no longer have a back end of the bullpen. What does Jerry expect to do about this?
Any way you look at it this is likely to be a very different world for Mariners fans in 2019. I’m sure that Sheffield and Swanson will see some time in the majors. Bautista will likely make an appearance in the bullpen. We’ll see Richards at shortstop by June (and no idea who would take his place before that.) Kiss the days of Robbie and Boomstick good bye. This team may get on base a bit more (a good thing) but it’s hard to see how a team that struggled to score last year, scores as much in 2019. The M’s will got into Spring Training with a rotation that is likely quite unsettled. And who closes out games? Auditions in the Center Field Market. Yikes.