Seattle Mariners: James Paxton Trade Proposal, Cincinnati Edition

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 11: James Paxton
KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 11: James Paxton /

While Mariners fans anxiously await the inevitable James Paxton trade, most of the focus has been on the Yankees and Astros. However, one baseball insider has announced a surprise team as an active participant.

Jon Heyman of Fancred sports and MLB Network threw out some info that may have surprised Mariners fan on Thursday. In this article, Heyman notes that the Reds are looking to trade for starting pitching, and are actively engaged on both Sonny Gray and James Paxton. Heyman calls the edition of one of the two pitchers the Reds “top priority”.

Unfortunately for the Reds, at least in the pursuit of James Paxton, they are reportedly hesitant to part ways with any of their “big 3” prospect, which may take them out of the Paxton hunt. But perhaps there could be a way to make it happen.

First, as with our other Paxton trade articles, we look for the MLB piece Dipoto is reported to be looking for in every James Paxton package. One name that could make sense is Scott Schebler, a player we profiled earlier this off-season.

Schebler makes some sense in LF and is the player who does everything reasonably well, though is unspectacular. For a deeper dive into Schebler, click here. Aside from Schebler, Tucker Barnhart would make some sense given the Mariners need at catcher.

More from SoDo Mojo

Barnhart is a very good defensive catcher who provides value with his bat as well. Barnhart did sign a 4-year, $16 million deal with the Reds that includes the 5th-year option, so the Reds may be hesitant to move him. Perhaps they’d move his back Curt Casali?

Casali is a solid defender behind the plate, and at 30-years-old had a breakout of sorts at the plate in 2018, slashing .293/.355/.450 in just 156 PAs. Casali is club controlled for 4 years, but a 30-year-old catcher would hardly lower the prospect cost for the Reds.

The Mariners asked about Jose Peraza at the deadline, and would presumably be interested again. Peraza has a ton of experience at SS and 2B and has some pop to go along with his speed. If the Mariners are interested, it probably means Robinson Cano is back at 1B for most of the regular season.

However, the Reds are likely to balk at this idea, or at the very least, drastically decrease the prospect haul coming back to Seattle. Peraza still has 3 years left of club control, and the 25-year-old is set to make just $3.4 million in 2019, giving the Reds little incentive to move him.

Amir Garrett makes some sense as well, and the Mariners had interest in him this summer. Garrett, who started all the way up to 2018, made his debut as an exclusive reliever in 2018 and looked pretty good. He posted a 3.89 FIP, a 10.14 K/9 and a 0.4 fWAR in 63 innings.

Raisel Iglesias makes some sense as well, giving the Mariners a great back end of the bullpen or another trade chip to deal this winter or at the deadline. Overall, it is difficult to find the MLB piece the Mariners would want and the Reds would part ways with, but this is our proposal:

Again, finding the MLB match for this deal was tough. I think the Mariners would love Peraza, but I believe the Reds would draw a hard line on him unless the Mariners sent back a piece like Kyle Lewis or Evan White.

It came down to Garrett vs Schebler to me. In the end, the possibility of Amir Garrett returning to the rotation still exist, and Schebler isn’t much of an upgrade over Ben Gamel, if at all. In addition to Garrett, the Reds give up their 2018 first round pick Johnathan India.

India, the 5th overall pick in 2018, will be a tough pill to swallow for the Reds. But if they are unwilling to part with Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, or Hunter Greene, they may not have a choice (again, unless Peraza is in the deal).

India would immediately jump into the Top Prospect spot for the Mariners. The RHH 3B does everything well, and there is the thought he could actually play SS as a pro. However, the Mariners would likely keep him at 3B, where he has the potential to a Gold Glove player. India reminds me a bit of Alex Bregman and could be a star for years to come. Unlike Bregman, he will need some time in the minors and is likely at least 2 years away.

To wrap up this package, Jerry Dipoto lands his favorite thing: a toolsy OF with a high floor and some ceiling as well, Stuart Fairchild. With average or better tools across the board, Fairchild should have a nice career as a 4th OF. His run tool is actually above-average and uses it to play all 3 OF positions well. Whether or not he will hit enough to become a full-time starter remains to be seen.

Fairchild does have surprising pop and may develop into a 15 home run guy when all is said and done. With a solid approach at the plate, Fairchild will take his walks which raises the floor of a player with his skill set.

Overall, the proposed package allows the Reds to keep their “Big 3” prospects, while trading prospects from positions of strengths to land their ace pitcher without spending massive money. The Mariners get bullpen help in 2019 (or possibly rotation help), a new shiny top prospect, and a toolsy OF with a relatively high floor.

Next. Crazy Day 2 of FS Mock Off-Season. dark

The Reds make for a fascinating trade partner. The deal would look significantly different if they are ultimately willing to part ways with one of the 3 prospects, Peraza, Iglesias, or even Eugenio Suarez. But based on the limited information we have right now, this proposal makes sense for both sides.