Trading Kyle Seager a Necessary Evil for Seattle Mariners?
The Seattle Mariners are right where they usually are, aimlessly floating in the middle of the standings. Being a middling team has a number of issues, which requires tough decisions, even trading franchise stalwarts like Kyle Seager.
Earlier in the week, we saw the Tampa Bay Rays make a similar decision, trading away Evan Longoria. Much like the Mariners, the Rays have been hovering around the .500 mark lacking the resources to make a final push.
However; the two teams have 2 completely different areas of lacking resources. For the Rays, it is straight cash. They have one of the better farm systems in the game, but cannot afford the large contracts of potential trade targets.
The Mariners have the money to spend, but have one of, if not the worst, farm system in Major League Baseball. It is worth noting, that the Rays have not officially waved the white flag on this season, despite the trading of Longoria.
Lets get back to Kyle Seager. Coming off a disappointing, yet still ok, 2017 season, Seager is one of the Mariners best trade chips. He will be making just shy of $80 million over the next 4 years, but is still just 30 years old, and typically falls somewhere in the 3.0-5.0 WAR category. In other words, a perennial All-Star caliber player.
The Mariners have made it very clear, through both their actions and words, that they are not interested in a full rebuild. However, much like the Rays, trading Seager would not necessarily be a selling move.
For their franchise player, the Rays netted a solid platoon corner outfielder, 1 Top 100 Prospect, and 2 interesting lottery ticket pitchers. The Rays had to eat some money, and it is possible the Mariners would have to do the same.
Contrary to popular belief, Seager is a better player than Longoria right now, so the Mariners could demand a package better than what the Rays got.There are still a few teams with deep enough farm systems to make such an offer, with a need at 3B, like the Cardinals or Yankees.
Trying to predict the exact details of an unknown trade is a bit of a fool’s errand, but using the Longoria trade as a guide, it gives us a decent template to work from.
The St. Louis Cardinals have a few expensive contracts they might be willing to ship, but they are perhaps a bit too good for the Cardinals to just toss them in. The 2 obvious candidates are likely Jedd Gyrko or Brett Cecil.
St. Louis has 5 of MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects. They are Alex Reyes, Carson Kelly, Jake Flaherty, Tyler O’Neill( yeah i know) and Harrison Bader. They also have borderline Top 100 prospects like Delvin Perez and Dakota Hudson.
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It is highly unlikely that Cards would part with Reyes, Kelly and possible Flaherty. Since the Mariners traded away O’Neill(again, I know) it is probably unlikely they would want him back. So lets say it Bader.
Rounding out the deal are the pair of backend prospects. Personally, I am a big fan of Ryan Helsley and Nick Plummer. Would Gyrko, Bader, Helsley, and Nick Plummer be enough for the Mariners to pull the trigger? Perhaps. Maybe you could flip Bader for a controllable starting pitcher.
Building a trade package for the Yankees is a bit trickier. They have Gleyber Torres waiting to play 3B, but he could move to SS or 2B. The Yankees also figure to be heavy players on Manny Machado next offseason.
Convincing the Yankees to give up prospects in a Seager deal instead of just signing Todd Frazier would require a financial sacrifice. A sacrifice named Jacoby Ellsbury. His deal runs until after the 2020 season, so perhaps that is a big enough deterrent to stop talks dead in their tracks.
IF they can work past that, the Yankees have 5 Top 100 Prospects, plus the deepest farm in baseball to work with. This also doesn’t include young outfielder and much talked about trade chip Clint Fraizer.
Picking your favorite Yankee prospect is like picking your favorite ice cream: there are a lot of good options. Justus Sheffield seems like a fine fit for the Mariners, and is not one of the Yankees “Big 3” prospects. The Yankees have a slew of young prospects to round out the deal.
It is highly unlikely the Mariners are even listening seriously on Kyle Seager. But the absolutely should be. One thing is an absolute certainty. Life stuck in the middle, is the absolute worst place to be in sports.
Next: Yu Darvish to the Mariners?
If the Mariners are unwilling or incapable of ballooning their payroll past the $190 million mark, or are unwilling to take franchise down to the stud, they must be creative. Trading Kyle Seager is counter-intuitive. But desperate times should lead to creative solutions. Trading Kyle Seager could be that avenue.