Regardless of whether the 2017 Mariners make the playoffs or crash and burn, Jerry Dipoto will enter this off-season and attempt to improve. That’s obviously what any GM would do… right? What if the Mariners went a different direction? What if they tried to get worse?
It bear repeating: of course Jerry Dipoto will not tear it down this off-season. He doesn’t really have any reason to. If not for an epic avalanche of injuries to this years squad, they would likely be leading a Wild Card race, not chasing it.
With Nelson Cruz having just 1 season left, Cano and Felix getting older, Kyle Seager starting to make “real money”, Paxton 1 year closer to free agency, and a lack of quality in the farm system; the team should push all of it’s chip into the table and give it one final go in 2018. (Note: The Mariners acquired Mike Leake on Wednesday in case you need further evidence that the Mariners are not blowing this up).
But what if they decide not to? What if this was the last straw, and the team decide to invest in a new core? Do they even have the pieces to make such a strategy work? Let take a look at some of the assets.
Players we should designate as NC or “No Chance” are players that have no chance at being traded. This list basically includes just Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano (contracts) and Jean Segura, who got a full no-trade clause in his latest extension. It also includes Kyle Lewis, Sam Carlson and Evan White, the 3 best prospects in the farm, since there is no reason to sell them.
There are a few you would categorize as PBNL, or Possible But Not Likely. These include guys with lots of control who are pre-arbitration eligible. That list includes Edwin Diaz, Ben Gamel, and Mitch Haniger.
Almost every other player is available to be dealt of this roster, with the exception of pending free agents. Finally, Hisashi Iwakuma and Yovani Gallardo won’t have their options picked up and Drew Smyly will likely not be tendered a contract.
With all that being said, lets start tearing this team down, by trading its best hitter away.