Should Mariners Closer Edwin Diaz Head North this Off-Season?
Oh, Sugar, what a 2018 season you had! Edwin Diaz definitely made himself a household name. He tied for second all-time in single-season saves at 57. Only 32 of the Mariners 89 wins were not saved by him!
His All-Star appearance may not have gone the way he wanted but it was well deserved and he was our first All-Star closer since 2014. For most of the hitters he faced, the chances looked unfair. But let’s be realistic Mariners nation. Professional baseball is still a business and players want to sniff that gold at some point in their careers.
The Mariners haven’t shown clear signs of leaving their hard luck ways and at some point sooner or later, Edi may want to be dealt to a perennial contender. The man’s talent can’t be wasted and the fact that his 57 saves weren’t showcased in the playoffs was an injustice.
Late last March, Edi signed a one year, six-figure contract to the tune of $570,800. In MLB money, his 2018 was a million-dollar season. With where the Mariners stand, we are perhaps over our head with one of the best closers in the game. It sadly may be time to deal him elsewhere.
The man is, after all, way before his prime at 24 years old and a handful of teams out there are salivating over a closer like him. With Diaz’s arbitration around the corner, he will want the more money he is worth.
If Edi is craving more national airtime, he may want one of the bigger market clubs like the Red Sox, Yanks, Dodgers, or Angels. Three of those four are set at closer while the Halos weren’t even in Bleacher Report’s Top 18 farm systems to begin the season. Jerry may not want to trade with a lousy farm system when his own is even lousier. Our Mariners had Bleacher Report’s worst ranked farm system to end this season.
No, Jerry needs to find a middle-of-the-pack club who needs a closer and has a better-ranked farm system. What about the Jays? Roberto Osuna was traded away this season and is trouble off the field. Their current closer, Ken Giles, cussed out his manager this year and may not be a great clubhouse presence.
Per our friends at Bleacher Report, the Jays were their third-best farm system and if you’re their general manager, Ross Atkins, you don’t want your 2015 & 2016 playoff window to end just yet. Which is why you surprise baseball by putting Edi in the AL East and giving the Yanks and Sox a tough closer to handle most of the season.
The first player who Jerry should trade for Edi is Jays pitching prospect, Eric Pardinho. He is their seventh-best prospect and the Mariners are in need of pitchers other than Paxton. He posted a 2.88 minors ERA this year as well as a .199 opposing average!
The other prospect we should consider is Forrest Wall. He was MLB Pipeline’s fifth-best outfield prospect but his 2018 average was better than the top four fellas, at .263 including .305 in 47 games with the California League! His scouting report has him in left field but maybe we groom him for a center in case Maybin and Heredia continue to be hitting no-shows. He’s also good in case Mitch or Gamel continue their frail health history.
And with our infield set, let’s snag one of their major league guys. How about Marcus Stroman? He may be expendable to Ross Atkins due to his almost 6.00 ERA last year. However, he is a veteran starter which the Mariners could use more of. He has pitched well in the big time, during Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS. If Felix’s decline continues, he could be Paxton’s ideal number two.
All in all, the proposed trade…
Jays get: P Edwin Diaz
Mariners get: Prospects P Eric Pardinho, OF Forrest Wall, & P Marcus Stroman