Mariners Trade Deadline: An Analytical Look at Seattle’s Trade Options

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Jul 23, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon (40) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the second inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Bartolo Colon, SP, New York Mets

It seems the common belief is that the Mariners need not pursue a starting pitcher because they are currently one of the better pitching teams in the league. The latter is true, the former is not.

Roenis Elias is not going to finish out the year, meaning their number four starter is out of the picture. Taijuan Walker has struggled since returning from injury, and could benefit from more seasoning, whether it be in Triple-A, or the major. The problem there is, even if it is at the major league level, you have a guy trying to hone his skills during a playoff race when what you need is a dependable starter.

James Paxton could be back soon, but he is another question mark. That is a long time to be out and to expect him to return to pre-injury form right away, if at all, is a fools errand.

From there, you have Erasmo Ramirez struggling to get through five innings without walking the world, or Brandon Maurer getting another chance in the rotation, which would add some uncertainty to the bullpen (though it was strong without him) and simultaneously place another question mark in the rotation.

Enter Bartolo Colon. He is probably the least aesthetically pleasing player possible, but looks are next to meaningless. He has defied the laws of aging, and the laws of every diet or health plan ever constructed. He is 41 years old, and weighs 285 pounds, but man if he can’t locate a fastball.

He has a 4.03 ERA and 3.49 FIP on the year in 135 innings. Those are the numbers of a good #3/4 starter, and there is very little risk involved, despite the aforementioned age and body fat content. You pretty much know what you will be getting, which is more than can be said for Elias, Paxton, Walker, and even Chris Young, who despite doing a great job of preventing runs has peripherals that suggest some of the success is bound to fade at some point.

Colon is under contract for next year as well, but reports have stated that the Mets are willing to pay $2M of the 2/20 he signed last offseason. Though paying a pitcher $9M at 42 years old seems silly, he has already avoided the traditional decline, which makes me far less worried about paying him next year.

He was a 3.9 fWAR guy last year, and is on pace for around 2.5 this year. Following that pattern, you can probably expect 1.5 WAR or so from him next year, which by current market standards is worth the $9 million.

It is unclear who the Mets would want in return, but I personally would be hesitant to give up anyone like Nick Franklin. A couple mid level prospects would make sense (Pike and Kivlehan?), but the Mets may want more.