It has been an exciting start to the offseason for the Mariners. Whether or not you are “For” or “against” a rebuild, the Mariners are going to be involved in a lot of trade rumors. Upon searching through ESPN for Mariners information, I stumbled across an article written by David Schoenfield titled “A Blockbuster Offseason Move For All 30 Teams”. You can take a look at the article Here.
In the article, he proposes two trades for the Mariners, Both sending Mariners closer Edwin Diaz to either the Las Angeles Dodgers or the Chicago Cubs. Both trades will add to the stockpile of prospects being acquired by Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, maybe without moving into a full rebuild. Keep in mind, these are just hypothetical trade scenarios.
Jerry Dipoto has said numerous times that players like Mitch Haniger, Marco Gonzales and Edwin Diaz are “untouchable”. However, a top-tier closer is one of the last things you need in a rebuild. Diaz is coming off of an amazing season, posting 57 Saves, a 1.96 ERA, 73.1 innings pitched with 124 strikeouts. With that, his value has never been higher. It may be wise to at least look at the possibility of trading Diaz.
The first trade we will dive into is with the Dodgers. David has the Mariners trading Edwin Diaz to the Dodgers for OF Alex Verdugo, RHP Dylan Floro and RHP Mitchell White. Alex Verdugo is the prize piece coming back to the Mariners in this scenario, as he is ranked as the number 32 prospect according to MLB.com. He is also 22 years old.
Verdugo, a converted pitcher, was drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft by the Dodgers. He carries a 70-grade arm, which translates well to playing centerfield. His other scouting grades are as followed: Hit 60, Power 50, Run 50 and Field 50. His overall grade is 55. He did spend some time with the Dodgers last season, playing in 37 games and netting 86 plate appearances. He also played in 91 games for the Dodgers triple-a affiliate.
In those 91 games for the Oklahoma City Dodgers, he had a slash line of .329/.391/.472/.863. He also hit 10 home runs and stole 8 bases. He is a very highly regarded prospect and was almost dealt to the Baltimore Orioles in the Manny Machado deal at the deadline. Ultimately, the Dodgers were able to keep Alex Verdugo.
The second name from the Dodgers going to the mariners is Dylan Floro. He is a mid-leverage reliever. Floro is not a prospect, as he is 27 years old and on his 4th major league team. Floro started his 2018 campaign with the Cincinnati Reds and was traded to the Dodgers back in July. He pitched to a 6-3 record, 2.25 ERA (3.08FIP), 64 innings, 58 strikeouts, and a 1.25 WHIP. He would be a great replacement for Nick Vincent.
Mitchell White is the last name mentioned by David Schoenfield. He is currently the number 7 prospect in the Dodgers organization. White is 23 years old and was drafted in the second round back in 2016. His fastball hovers between 92-97 mph and has a plus slider. He struggled a bit in 2018 in Double-A. His stat line was 6-7, 4.53 ERA. He pitched in 105.1 innings, walking 34 and striking out only 88. The K/9 was down significantly in 2018, as he has a 9.2 K/9 in his short minor league career.
In their pre-2018 prospect rankings, Baseball America had him ranked #69 in baseball, with Baseball Prospectus had him at #86. He did miss the first month of the minor league season with an undisclosed injury, so that could have led him to have a down season in 2018. If he stays healthy, he could make the major league roster in 2019.
The next team David had in his article was the Chicago Cubs. He has the Mariners trading Diaz for OF Kyle Schwarber and RHP Adbert Alzolay. The Cubs have an abundance of outfielders on their major league roster, and could be looking to move the Slugger. With Jason Heyward locked in RF, Albert Almora Jr in CF, plus Ian Happ, they have 4 starting outfielders on their roster.
Kyle Schwarber would be a perfect fit in an American League lineup as a designated hitter. Schwarber hit .238/.356/.467/.823. He also added 26 home runs and drove in 61. Schwarber came into the league as a catcher but was moved into LF because of struggles behind the plate.
He takes his walks, as shown by his high on-base percentage compares to his low batting average. He strikes out a ton, and if he can get past that he could be a premier power bat in the Mariners lineup for years to come, as he is only 25 years old.
Schwarber also did not hit lefties in 2018. That could be because he was used as a platoon player with the Cubs having so many options in their lineup. Against Lefties, he only had 76 at-bats with only 1 home run and a .224/.352/.303/.654. Against righties, he hit .241/.356/.503/.859 with 25 home runs.
Adbert Alzolay is the big prospect that would be coming back to Seattle. He is ranked as the Cubs second best prospect. He is just 23 years old and made it to the Cubs Triple-A squad in 2018. He was shut down in May because of a strained right LAT muscle. He did pitch in 39.2 innings, striking out 27 and had a 4.76 ERA. He is on track to play in the Spring.
Alzolay is not a strikeout pitcher but does have plus command. His fastball sits between 92-96 mph but does touch 98 from time to time. He is a flyball pitcher but has avoided home run trouble in the minors. He projects as a solid number 3 starting pitcher in the Majors.
Some other teams that could be interested are the Redsox, Cardinals, Phillies and the Braves. The Redsox may lose closer Craig Kimbrel in free agency and the Cardinals, Phillies and the Braves do not have a closer set in stone. The Dodgers do have Kenley Jansen, but he was injured a bit in 2018. The Cubs used a combination of former Mariner Brandon Marrow and Pedro Strop, But Marrow can’t seem to stay healthy.
If I had to choose between these two trades, I would lean towards the Cubs offer. Kyle Schwarber would be a very nice replacement to Nelson Cruz at DH, without giving up much in OBP. The Mariners already have their new center fielder in Mallex Smith, so Verdugo would most likely bump Smith to left field. I believe that Adbert Alzolay is better than the two pitchers from the Dodgers, and is more Major League ready that Mitchell White.