Seattle Mariners: James Paxton Trade Proposal, Atlanta Edition
Seattle Mariners fans are going stir crazy waiting for news of a potential James Paxton trade. While we wait, we will continue to take a look at as many potential trade fits as possible.
Today, we head down south to the great city of Atlanta. The Braves shocked everybody in 2018, as their long-term rebuild plan arrived a year or so ahead of schedule. The Braves still have a cavalcade of young, controllable talent, and appear to be ready to run the NL East for years to come… again. So what can the Mariners get?
Ask anybody with knowledge of the Braves, and they are sure to mention the embarrassment of riches in the organization with regards to their crop of young pitching. Which does force me to ask the question: why would the Braves want James Paxton?
I mean, obviously, Paxton is great. Every team in baseball would find a spot in a rotation for The Big Maple. But with so much depth in the rotation, why give it away for 2 years of Paxton? I don’t know the answer, but the simple fact is, they seem to be quite interested in Paxton. And hey, I don’t tell people how to spend their money.
As has been the case with our other 2 Paxton trade article involving the Yankees and Phillies, we are working with the understanding that the Mariners would like to acquire MLB talent in any package involving Paxton.
You see, most of the Braves MLB assets are guys they are unlikely willing to part with, at least on the offensive side of things. Ender Inciarte does make a little bit of sense. He is an absolute bargain with a plus glove and an okay bat to back it up. However, the edition of Mallex Smith and the Mariners desire to get younger make me pause.
In truth, the Mariners will likely need to find their MLB contributor from the Braves deep pitching staff. While the Mariners will surely ask for Kyle Wright, Mike Soroka, or Ian Anderson, it’s difficult to see the Braves moving them. Mike Foltynewicz made sense prior to his breakout 2018 but is no longer an option. Here is our modest proposal:
Ultimately, the best fit for both sides to find some common ground is with LHP Sean Newcomb. The former first-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels, Newcomb came to the Braves in the Anderlton Simmons trade.
In his first 2 years with the Braves, the 25-year-old has been a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, his 9.14 K/9 and 4.06 ERA are interesting numbers. On the other side, his 4.70 BB/9 and poor command don’t exactly scream “Jerry Dipoto pitcher”.
Newcomb’s 94 MPH fastball and plus curveball are intriguing and if the team thinks they can tweak Newcomb’s delivery a bit to find more command of his stuff, there could be another James Paxton in Newcomb.
With Sean Newcomb’s decent but not stellar start to his career, it MAY be possible that the Mariners will require a better secondary piece than if they landed Soroka or Kyle Wright. The Braves have plenty of pitching left to give, but the Mariners should look elsewhere for the true “headliner” of this package.
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The title of the headliner in our proposed deal is Cristian Pache. The 19-year-old, right-handed outfielder would immediately become the best prospect in a thin Mariners system to give you some context.
Pache has a great tool belt to work with. A double-plus speed and defense tool, Pache also has a plus arm. In addition to what will be a Gold Glove quality defense, Pache has a solid-average hit tool. The power has not yet come, but at 19-years-old, it could come soon. Pache will likely never be more than a 15-20 home run guy, but with his defense and speed, he doesn’t need to be.
In addition to his natural gifts, Pache gets high marks for his work ethic which is not always a guaranteed trait with teenage prospects. Pache has all the makings of an All-Star down the road, and would likely start 2019 in High-A with a chance to make his debut in 2020.
Next, the Mariners would acquire some much-needed catcher talent in the organization. William Contreras, the younger brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, is a 20-year-old catcher who spent most of 2018 in A Ball. He slashed .293/.360/.463 in 82 games before earning a promotion to Advanced-A Ball.
He then hit a bit of a wall but finished the season with 11 home runs, 24 doubles, and a .347 OBP. Contreras still has a ways to go but should be a competent defender behind the dish, with a chance to provide plus offense from the position.
Finally, we round out our package with Patrick Weigel, a 24-year-old starting pitcher who should be ready to contribute, possibly out of the bullpen, by the middle of 2019. Weigel has decent stuff, led by his 93 MPH fastball. He lacks a true “out pitch”, instead of mixing in a decent changeup, curveball, and slider.
Weigel may lack the command to get through a lineup multiple times but has already shown an ability to throw 98 MPH on occasion. He spent most of 2018 recovering from Tommy John Surgery but managed to throw a couple of innings late in the year. It is possible Weigert finds his way into the rotation at some point, but if not, he should be a solid middle-reliever for years to come.
Overall, the proposed package gives the Mariners a possible Paxton replacement with 4 years of club control, a potential All-Star CF, a catching prospect with a decent chance to be an above-average regular, and an intriguing arm that may be able to start at the big league level. The Braves land a proven arm to stack next to Foltynewicz without sacrificing their premier pitching prospects.
At the end of the day, I just don’t seem to be as sure of the fit between the Mariners and Braves as others are. Ultimately, I think the Mariners ship Paxton to another team. However, the baseball world won’t stop pointing at this possibility, so it is worth delving into further.