Surprise, surprise – Jerry Dipoto’s Mariners were busy at this year’s trade deadline.
With a total of four trades spanning over the past week, the Mariners added much needed depth to a lacking bullpen and beefed up their offense with a new starting centerfielder.
Seeing the Mariners strictly add at the deadline is something we haven’t witnessed since 2014, when the M’s acquired Austin Jackson and Chris Denorfia. This was the first time the Dipoto regime has gone all-in at the end of July and for good reason.
Dipoto’s teams over the past two years have been around league average at the deadline. This has put them in an awkward position of not being willing to designate themselves as either buyers or sellers.
In 2018, the Mariners are currently in prime position to end their 17-year playoff drought, tied with the Oakland Athletics for the second American League wild card.
They’ve overachieved their way to this position, which has left them with some room for improvement. After a lackluster July that resulted in the A’s catching them in the standings, the Mariners were in desperate need of some upgrades.
Let’s take a look at what they did, starting with their first deal of the deadline season.
RHP SAM TUIVAILALA
Tuivailala was the only player the Mariners acquired who is club-controlled past 2018. Despite not having any Minor League options left, Tuivailala is an extremely affordable right-handed specialist who could develop into a bullpen cornerstone in the near future.
In his Mariner debut, Tuivailala opened eyes with a smooth 97 mile-per-hour fastball mixed with a pair of breaking balls that will definitely bend knees on occasion.
While the compensation hurts on paper, Elledge projects to be a middle-of-the-rotation reliever at best. Though Elledge will likely be a Major Leaguer sooner rather than later, the Mariners were able to trade from a place of depth to acquire someone who can help them immediately and for years to come.