Seattle Mariners Not Getting Gray, But Help in SP Trade Market
The Seattle Mariners had interest in acquiring former Oakland A’s starter Sonny Gray from the New York Yankees. With Gray on his way to Cincinnati, the Mariners may have benefited without acquiring the RHP.
Typically speaking, a team not acquiring one of their targets is unfortunate news. For the Seattle Mariners, in this particular case, it could be a good thing. And not for the way a lot of people like to assume: that Sonny Gray will be bad. Also not because they’ll get to hold onto prospects, although that is nice.
The simple truth is, if the Reds are indeed giving up Shed Long and a top 40 pick for Gray, it would be irresponsible for Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto to try and outbid that. The Reds are, by an estimation, overpaying for Sonny Gray, whether he signs an extension or not.
Instead, the real silver lining of this reported trade is the location that Gray will head to. Mainly, the fact that it was not the San Diego Padres or San Francisco Giant, both of whom were reported to be interested in Gray. Why does this matter?
Hello, Mike Leake. Reports indicate that Dipoto has been shopping Mike Leake all off-season. Leake has a no-trade clause, and it is assumed he will not waive it unless he can stay close to the west coast (he lives in Arizona).
Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider, Hero Sports, and the Baseball Things podcast has reported that Leake is viewed as a “backup plan”, by a couple of teams. With Gray off the market, there may be just 1 starter left who is undoubtedly better than Leake that we know to be available: Dallas Keuchel.
The top suitors for Dallas Keuchel appear to be the Philadelphia Phillies and the Padres. Expected to earn between $16-$20 million AAV, Keuchel may very well get priced out of San Diego. However, that is not the case for Mike Leake.
The elimination of Sonny Gray from the trade market may also set the value for Leake, or at least gives the Mariners a comp from which to work. Gray is better than Leake. But Leake has more club control and is a far safer and more reliable option.
Whether the market is set for Leake, we do not know. However, what we do know is that multiple teams are playing starting pitcher musical chairs. Now there is one less chair in the market, and the Mariners are offering to sell a sturdy one at a fair price.
Time will tell if the Mariners will actually be able to trade Mike Leake before Spring Training. But the market is getting more desperate, options becoming less and less, and Dipoto is in no rush to make something happen.