Mariners Trade-a-Day: Jalen Beeks Could Be the Next Marco Gonzales
By Ty Gonzalez
All of our “Trade-a-Day” articles so far have touched on established Major League talent. Now it’s time to think outside the box because the Mariners just might have to.
Jerry Dipoto is one of the more creative general managers in baseball. He has never shied away from acquiring Minor League players mid-season to immediately plug into his MLB roster. In 2018, two of those players, Marco Gonzales and Ben Gamel, are key contributors in the Mariners’ extremely hot start.
The Mariners don’t have the most flexible payroll entering July’s Trade Deadline. It’s not awful, but they likely won’t be able to add a large contract to their books. So that’s where Dipoto’s creation plays in.
Trade Proposal: Mariners acquire LHP Jalen Beeks from Red Sox for 1B Evan White.
I know what you’re saying: “Ty, that’s our #2 prospect for #15 prospect!” Sure, but the MLB doesn’t put the Mariners’ farm system in a high regard. In fact, the Red Sox just yanked one of the M’s best hitting prospects in Eric Filia for Roenis Elias.
The Mariners are all in on the 2018 season, but they do want to maintain success for the foreseeable future. Despite losing White, acquiring Beeks still keeps you on that path. In this day and age of Major League Baseball, young pitching is more valuable than young positional players.
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White’s bat has exceeded expectations in the Minors thus far, and his defense is as good as advertised. With Ryon Healy under club control until 2022 and the ability to always acquire first base talent, the M’s might not have a desperate need for White’s services.
The Red Sox have a surplus of pitching talent in their farm system. While Beeks is one of their better Minor League starters, there just doesn’t seem to be a place for him in Boston.
Beeks was called up for his Major League debut against the Tigers last week. It did not go well. The young southpaw only managed to go four innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and three walks in the process.
With the Red Sox currently holding the second-best record in the MLB, they’ll look to add a significant starter to a rotation that currently bolsters Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez. Thus, there is nowhere for Beeks to go.
Perhaps Beeks would be a nice piece to include in a package for said top-notch starter and all of this speculation is for naught. Or perhaps the Red Sox will look to restock a farm system that will soon be a bit more empty at the top.
Nevertheless, it is indeed weird to see two playoff contending teams make a significant trade with one another. Especially when they appear to be on a collision course for a Wild Card match-up together.
So, why does this make sense for the Mariners? Why Beeks?
In AAA this year, Beeks has notched a 12.36 K/9 versus a minuscule 1.99 BB/9. The insane strikeout numbers can be attributed to a nice fastball that consistently sits at 95-96 MPH. Beeks has four other pitches, including two devastating breaking balls. Put that all together and you have yourself a very exciting pitcher.
As much of a great story as Wade LeBlanc has been so far, you cannot rely on him to pitch meaningful innings in September. Sure, Beeks is young and unproven, but he’s got the talent to overpower aggressive hitters, such as the Springers and Judges of the world.
Those are the types of players you’ll see toward the end of the season, with the way the Mariners’ schedule is lined up. Wade LeBlanc and Felix Hernandez could be absolute disasters in such games.
Again, Beeks is not just for 2018, but for the future as well. Beeks turns 25 next month, which would make him the youngest starter in the M’s rotation. Furthermore, he and Gonzales would be the only Mariners starter pitchers in their 20s.
Over the course of our series, you’ll hear names like Marco Estrada, Cole Hamels, and Danny Duffy. They’re fine pitchers, sure, but why spend financial and prospect capital on an older talent when you could spend roughly the same on a younger, more controllable piece with a higher ceiling?
For what Jerry Dipoto has consistently preached, a deal like this makes more sense than, for example, a Hamels deal.
Next: Mariners Trade a Day: Danny Duffy
While us fans want to see the playoff drought end this year, we also don’t want to suffer once again shortly after. If you have an opportunity to enhance your present and your future, you take it.