The Seattle Mariners are just over 1/8th of the way done with their season. It is far to early to declare the team a buyer or seller in July. However, it never hurts to audit your franchise, to see what assets you have that may be valuable down the road.
It is important to note that the Mariners, unlike in many recent years, actually have some pieces that should have good value on the trade market. The Mariners are better suited to be sellers than buyers but have enough ammo to go either route to some degree.
Today, we will look at our list of the 5 Most Valuable Seattle Mariners Trade Assets. We are not looking at the team as a buyer or seller yet. Instead, we are focusing on the value a player can bring back to the team should they be dealt in July.
Remember, Major League players are most likely going to be dealt for minor leaguers and vice versa. Until we understand which direction the Mariners will go, it is next to impossible to speculate on the return or destination of each player. However, we have some decent comp deals to look at for each of the 5 players.
So without further ado, let’s get started with the 5 Most Valuable Mariners Trade Chips!
5. Nelson Cruz
It would be beyond painful to see Nelson Cruz get dealt this summer. In just 3 years, he has become one of the all-time great Mariners. In fact, Nelly has the highest wRC+ in Mariners history. His 150 wRC+ edges out none other than Edgar Martinez at 147. In a very real way, Nelson Cruz is the best pure hitter in team history.
However, on the flip side, he will turn 38 on July 1st and is currently playing out the final year of his contract. We have heard no speculation on extension talks from either side, but we shouldn’t completely rule them out either way. If the Mariners find themselves in a position to move Cruz, they could get a decent package.
In this case, we only have to look back to the 2017 season to find the Nelson Cruz trade comp. When the Detroit Tigers traded away JD Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks, they gave the Mariners the blueprint to follow.
Both Cruz and Martinez would/will only have a few months of club control left. Both are limited defenders. And both are extremely talented hitters. For moving Martinez, the Tigers got 3 prospects. The “headliner” was Dawel Lugo, a shortstop prospect with decent upside.
The Tigers also received Jose King and Sergio Alcantara, 2 C+ type of prospects. The Mariners could seek more than the Tigers if they decided to add a useful bullpen piece like Nick Vincent, but a package similar to Detroit’s would add 3 prospects all likely to end up in the teams Top 25.
The kicker here is that there could be an opportunity for Seattle to trade Cruz, and then resign him this off-season. It is rare, but if the relationship is strong enough, it could happen. Cruz offseason suitors will likely be limited, thanks to his age and lack of defense, so coming back to a place with friends like Robinson Cano could be an option.