Seattle Mariners: The Trade to Send Haniger to Atlanta
The Seattle Mariners have done much of the heavy lifting in their rebuild already. There are still some veteran pieces they’ll shop, but none of them will bring a significant prospect back. However, two trade chips remain who could bring back more than 1 significant prospect.
The two remaining trade chips for the Mariners are LHP Marco Gonzales and OF Mitch Haniger. There hasn’t been so much as a whisper on the Mariners entertaining offers on Gonzales. However, there has been a lot of speculation and rumors thrown around regarding Haniger.
It is important to note that Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has stated on multiple occasions that Seattle wasn’t interested in trading three players whom he saw as building blocks and Haniger was among those mentioned. It is also worth noting that one of those 3 players was Edwin Diaz, who has already been dealt to the Mets.
So would the Mariners actually trade Mitch Haniger? While many believe Dipoto has no intention to deal him, Dipoto has not actively said that he won’t trade him. Instead, he has repeatedly stated that they’ll listen to everything and keep their options open. That is “GM Speak” for “make me an offer I can’t refuse”.
The problem for the Mariners, or at least those who want to trade Haniger, is that very few teams have the prospects or young MLB guys to put forward an offer like that. Among those who can, including the Padres, White Sox, and Reds, may not be ready to dive into the competitive waters and give up young pieces just yet.
However, the Atlanta Braves make a lot of sense. Deep and rich farm system? Check. Smack in the middle of their contention window? Check. Need for a corner OF? Check. The Braves make the most sense of any potential partner.
Some whispers have suggested that the Braves have already made the Mariners an offer, and Seattle flatly declined. However, these whispers are unverified, and as such, will have no bearing for us as we hammer out this proposal.
The general sentiment around baseball is that Dipoto would “need to be blown away” to move Haniger, so the Braves are going to have to dig deep to get him. Our proposal today isn’t one that the Braves are likely to do but is just to demonstrate a type of offer that could actually blow Dipoto away. Here is the proposal:
So let’s start right at the top. Kyle Wright was the number 5 overall pick in the 2017 draft. The 23-year-old RHP possess 3 plus pitches and a 4th average offering. The fastball sits at 95 mph and he can hit 98 at times with arm side run.
Wright also has 2 plus breaking balls; a slider and curveball. The curveball has a sharp bite and is just slightly ahead of his firm, but good breaking slider. Wright also has an average changeup that flashes plus and is thrown with good arm action. This gives Wright a potential to have 4 plus pitches. But as is this case with a lot of young arms, Wright is still refining his command, and occasionally loses the ability to throw strikes.
Next up is young RHP Ian Anderson. The 3rd overall pick of the 2016 draft, Anderson doesn’t possess the same stuff as Wright but doesn’t lag too far behind. The fastball sits at 93 and can hit 96 with a steep, downhill plane that makes the fastball play up even more.
The curveball and changeup are both above-average, but the changeup may have passed the curveball as his go-to off-speed pitch. Like Wright, there is still some work to be done in refining the command of Anderson. But he still has room to add strength and is a good enough athlete to make all the adjustments necessary.
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Next, on the list, we have Cristian Pache, a 20-year-old OF who may have the highest upside of anybody in the Braves farm system. A freaky good athlete, Pache has plus or double plus tools on the bases and in the field, including 70-grade speed (20-80 scale).
However, Pache hasn’t really put it together at the plate. He will probably never be more than an average MLB hitter, but with his skills on the bases and in the field, that’s all he needs to be. There is still some hope that with his athleticism and continued development that Pache could be a good, above-average regular, but the possibility also exists that he becomes a high-level fourth outfielder.
Finally, let’s talk about Tristan Beck. The 4th round selection of the 2018 draft, Beck was widely considered a first-round talent after his freshman season at Stanford but missed all of 2017 recovering from injury. He managed to get through 2018 without any setbacks and is a possible “fast riser” through the minor league ranks.
Beck’s fastball currently sits in the low 90’s, but at 6’4″ 165 lbs, there is room to add strength and velocity to the fastball. Beck’s calling card is his plus changeup that is thrown with good deception and movement. His curveball is average and flashes better, but still needs to be refined. A strike thrower with above-average command, Beck may find himself in the middle of a rotation by 2021 and has a high floor of a solid middle relief type.
In this package, the Mariners would get a potential #2, #3, and #4 starter, plus a potential above-average centerfielder. However, that is if every player in the package reaches their potential. It is also possible the Mariners get two #4’s, a 4th OF, and a 7th inning reliever.
But this package would certainly grab the attention of Jerry Dipoto, which is exactly what the Braves need to do. At the end of the day, do I believe this is a deal the Braves would make? No. In fact, they should probably see it as too rich for Haniger.
But the purpose of this article is not to find a deal that works for the Mariners and Braves, because Dipoto isn’t looking for a fair deal. He is looking to cash in on a desperate team. Will this deal come to fruition? No. But would it overwhelm Dipoto into giving up his best trade chip? It just might.