Seattle Mariners: Who gets flipped and who stays for now?
By Ty Gonzalez
As the Mariners continue to restructure their entire organization and shed future payroll, they have taken on the short-term commitment of several veteran contracts to complete a multitude of trades this past month.
Seattle has already offloaded one of these contracts in Carlos Santana, dealing his two-year, roughly $40 million commitment in exchange for the one-year, $25 million commitment of Edwin Encarnación. Jerry Dipoto’s strategy this offseason, and going into the regular season, is simple enough: continue working down the ladder, shed more payroll and collect more value along the way.
Value is always relative, however. The amount of money you successfully shed certainly plays into the value of a deal. The kind of contract you get back and the talent of the player the contract is attached to also plays a major role, which is why the Mariners hit an absolute home run with the Encarnación acquisition.
With Encarnación, specifically, the Mariners lose very little trade value (or perhaps even gain some) by swapping Santana for him. They also obtain a top 80 draft pick, which should turn into a top 15 prospect in the M’s system.
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of this rebuild has been Dipoto’s ability to acquire valuable players with bad contracts. He hasn’t taken on players who have seemingly hit a dead end, such as Martín Prado and Jacoby Ellsbury. Every veteran that Dipoto has taken on to offset some of the money he’s offloaded still have high enough upside to bring back a worthy return.
So that’s what we’re going to look at today. It’s obvious that any veteran Dipoto has acquired thus far will likely be moved either this Winter or by July’s trade deadline, including Encarnación. It’s just a matter of when, not if, and who makes the most sense in terms of a trade partner.