An Outside the Box Idea For Dipoto, Seattle Mariners

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 1: Starter Mike Leake
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 1: Starter Mike Leake /

Often times, thinking outside the box leads to success. To zig when everybody else zags can lead to profit in the stock market, and in the trade market. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has the opportunity to make such a play.

In order for Jerry to make such a bold play, he needs 2 things: an ok from his bosses, a willingness to take risk. Thus far, there is little reason to doubt Dipoto has the necessary tools. The move could be wildly unpopular in Seattle, but can also bring upside to an organization that has no real interest in winning in 2018.

The outside the box idea? Trade a starting pitcher. Yes, you read that correctly. Trade away a starting pitcher. Before you go nuts, really think about this. Do you truly believe the Mariners are going to make the playoffs in 2018? If you are being honest, your answer should be no.

After all, playoff teams don’t sign a 44-year-old outfielder to play in 4-5 games a week. And if Seattle isn’t interested in competing, why should they continue to put on a show? In the grand scheme of things, what is the difference between 78 and 81 wins?

Yes, the Mariners in order to be a contender, desperately need to add an impact starter. However, the Mariners as what they are now; a middling, mediocre team who needs everything to bounce the right way to stand a chance, shouldn’t be trying to stretch the win total to its max.

Almost every team in baseball is looking to add to their rotation, and the number of arms available are limited. Sure, they Mariners could dangle Erasmo Ramirez and Marco Gonzales out their, but they are unlikely to attract much interest. Nobody is going to touch Felix Hernandez and his contract, and James Paxton will fetch more at the All-Star break (IF he stays healthy).

This leaves one obvious candidate for trade: Mariners RHP Mike Leake. No, Leake will not fetch a premium prospect in return. However, could Leake garner a solid return of a younger MLB talent and a B-level prospect?

With perennial contenders like the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals with back-end rotation problems, as well as potential contenders like Los Angeles, Texas, Baltimore, and the NY Mets, I would venture to say, they probably could.

Leake is not an ace, but is still a solid #3 or #4 type, with a reasonable contract to move. Could they not entice the Nationals with a Leake for Will Crowe and Brian Goodwin package? Or perhaps send him to the Mets for a Justin Dunn and Brandon Nimmo type of deal?

The beauty of shopping Mike Leake now is that Dipoto and the Mariners do not have to deal him. If they don’t get a deal they like, they can hold until July, or even this off-season. In fact, holding Leake might be the smarter play right now.

After all, in July, we will know exactly who is in it, and who needs starting pitching help. Leake would be owed about $6 million less, and still have 2 1/2 years of club control remaining. Who knows who else would become available from other teams? But Mike Leake will likely be one of the most attractive names on the market this July.

Dipoto doesn’t have to do anything with Leake, except keep an open mind. The Mariners have told their fans they aren’t in it to win it in 2018. Their actions this off-season have not been that of a true contender.

So perhaps, for the sake of their performance, the Mariners hold onto Mike Leake into July. And perhaps Seattle finds themselves in a position to add instead of sell. Perhaps,everything lines up right, and the Mariners are in it until the very end. All of these things could happen.

Next: Mike Leake is Good, And You Should Be Excited

However, hope isn’t a course of action. The Mariners need to be honest with themselves, and their fans. 2018 is not the year. So Jerry Dipoto, I ask you only this: be bold, take a chance, and don’t be afraid to fail. Zig when everybody tells you to zag. Think outside the box.