Alternate Universe: The Mariners blow it up for 2018 Part 1
Mariners Trade James Paxton to Toronto for Anthony Alford, Richard Urena and Sean Reid-Foley
You may think that this is a high price to get for James Paxton, but remember what the A’s got for Sonny Gray. Like Gray, Paxton has multiple years of club control and some injury concerns in the past and future. Gray still netted a Top 100 prospect in Dustin Fowler, a former Top 100 guys in Jorge Mateo and James Kaprelian. The Mariners have every right to demand a similar package.
The trick is to find a team with a deep enough farm system to absorb these loses and still give the Mariners enough to move their ace. Enter the Toronto Blue Jays. With one of the best farm systems in the minors, it is a logical landing spot for the lefty from Ladner BC.
All of the prospects the Mariners receive are in AA and could be up as soon as next season. Alford is the #49 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. It seems unlikely they could snag Vlad Guerrero Jr or Bo Bichette, leaving Alford as the next best choice.
Alford is a potential top of the order catalyst with 70 grade speed (20-80 scale) and a sound approach at the plate. There are questions if he can hit at a consistent level in the bigs. If everything goes well, he has some Byron Buxton-type of upside.
Next: Mariners acquire Mike Leake from Cardinals
Urena would add depth to the farm system in the middle infield and has some nice tools. He has been overmatched in AA thus far, but at 21 years old, there is still upside left. Reid-Foley is the piece that can take this deal over the top.
When healthy, he poses a 97 MPH fastball with arm side run and 2 above average breaking balls. The changeup is coming along and could be a solid 4th offering. It will come down to command for Reid-Foley, but at 22, he has time to figure it out.