Mariners Ship Tyler O’Neill to Cardinals, Receive Marco Gonzales

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 13: Starter Marco Gonzales
ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 13: Starter Marco Gonzales /

For the second time in 2 days, Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto made a trade. He sent Tyler O’Neill to St. Louis for left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzalez. The deal has largely been jeered on social media, but should it be?

Marco Gonzales, a former first round pick out of Gonzaga, has an interesting back story. Drafted in 2013, Gonzales made his MLB debut in 2014 with varying degrees of success. Gonzales had a dominate NLDS but control issues ultimately forced him back down to AAA for the start of the 2015.

Gonzales struggled mightily in 80 innings in, before finding out he needed Tommy John Surgery. The rehab wiped out his 2016, and many fans began to write off the young lefty. Gonzales has returned with a vengeance in 2017, posting a 2.78 ERA in 12 starts.

In those 12 starts, he has thrown 74.1 innings with 64 strike outs and a sub 1 WHIP. Perhaps most important for a Jerry Dipoto pitcher, Gonzales has regained his control, as evidence by his 2.1 BB/9.

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Stuff wise, Gonzales is pretty average. He has a running fastball that sits at 90-92 MPH. The curveball is fringe-average at best. Gonzales true out pitch is his plus changeup, which he throws with terrific arm action and has good fade.

It is Gonzales great command that allow his repertoire to play up. He attacks hitters in the zone and isn’t afraid to live inside with his fastball. He scores highly with scouts in his pitchability and raw athleticism. A fair comp for Gonzales upside is Jason Vargas or Jamie Garcia.

In the grand scheme of things, Jerry Dipoto may have spent a $1 (O’Neill) to acquire .85 cents (Gonzales). But the Mariners feel great about their young outfield depth, and have a glaring need for young MLB ready pitchers. Gonzales is still considered a rookie, and has 6 full seasons of club control for the Mariners, 3 of which will come at the league minimum.

Tyler O’Neill, our 5th ranked Mariners prospect heads to St. Louis, where he could get a chance to play regularly in September, if the Cardinals sell off some outfield pieces. Gonzales would slide right into the #6 slot on prospect rankings.

Next: Mariners Acquire David Phelps for 4 Minor Leaguers

Marco Gonzales Scouting Grades(20-80)- Fastball:50 Curveball: 50 Changeup: 65 Control: 60 ETA: 2017 Overall Future Potential: #3 or #4 starter