Seattle Mariners: 5 Trades to Clear Payroll this Off-Season

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: The Seattle Mariners American League All-Stars pose during Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Nationals Park on July 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: The Seattle Mariners American League All-Stars pose during Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Nationals Park on July 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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DEE GORDON

Dee Gordon is the first one on the list. It’s nice to see someone like this on the team, but he is more flash than substance. He played just above average defense at second base this year and struggled in center. Even though the Mariners just traded for him, they could look to clear payroll this off-season by shipping him to a contender.

There is a legitimate worry that the speed may be taking a step back as well. Gordon is going to be 31 in 2019, and speed doesn’t always stick around well. For someone who relies solely on that aspect of his game, if he loses half a step, he is a completely different player.

He needs to do more as a hitter as well. With only nine walks in 2018, Gordon doesn’t give the team much opportunity to drive him in. If he can work on his eye and maintain his speed, he is worth his contract. With three years and $40.5 million left, that is a lot to live up to.

There are a few teams out there that could use an upgrade at second base and would welcome his speed onto the team. The Arizona Diamondbacks could be a target, but they are wary after how the last trade turned out with the Mariners. This leaves two American league contenders.

The Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox both have a need for a second baseman. Josh Donaldson is a free agent in Cleveland, which will likely slide Jose Ramirez back to third. Ian Kinsler is going to be a free agent as well, and Dustin Pedroia is near the end of his playing career. Here is what a trade with the Boston Red Sox could look like.

Boston receives – 2B Dee Gordon

Seattle receives – 3B Danny Diaz (17 years old, #11 prospect), RHP Kutter Crawford (22 years old, #18 prospect), 1B Pedro Castellanos (20 years old, #30 prospect)

The Mariners would get back a young third base prospect and a pitcher with a back-end starter upside. Diaz currently has a bat that is ahead of his age. He has recently moved to third from short, which will be his position going forward as he gains muscle and puts on weight.

Castellanos would be a nice piece with the upside of solving a long-standing problem at first base. The Mariners did give up higher ranked prospects to get Gordon but also received $1 million in international money.

Something like this would likely be the deal that could be made for Dee Gordon. It would be a big step in multiple areas. The team would get good young players, all with different arrival windows. Asking for three prospects may be a little much, but if Boston wants to continue to improve, this would be the way to do it.

Savings – $40.5 million over three years, $13 million in 2019

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