In spite of recent rumors, the Mariners will not acquire Sonny Gray. But that hasn’t stopped Jerry Dipoto from getting involved in the aftermath of the Yankees and Reds’ recent trade.
Over the weekend, the seemingly everlasting rumors about a potential Sonny Gray deal finally came to a close when the Yankees agreed to ship the former All-Star to Cincinnati for prospect Shed Long and a compensatory draft pick.
As it turns out, however, Long has received the Mallex Smith treatment from New York and has been immediately flipped to the Mariners. Monday afternoon, the M’s and Yankees finalized a swap of prospects, with Long coming to Seattle for 2018 second-round pick Josh Stowers.
Last season, MLB Pipeline had Long slotted in as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. Additionally, FanGraphs assigned a 50 future value grade to Long, something only three current Mariners prospects have.
Long played the entirety of his 2018 campaign in Double-A Pensacola where he slashed .261/.353/.412 with 12 home runs, 56 RBI, and 19 stolen bases.
It’s a sensible deal for the Mariners, who are greatly devoid of infield talent near the top of their farm rankings. In dealing Stowers, the M’s lose their 10th overall prospect, per Pipeline, but also trade from the deepest position in their system.
With this deal, Dipoto continues to add talent on the verge of MLB playing time. Long will likely start 2019 in Triple-A Tacoma, but shouldn’t be too far away from making his Major League debut, especially if the Mariners are successful in trading Dee Gordon at some point during the season.
For now, Long will likely slot in – or around – the consensus top 5 Mariners prospects. At 23-years-old, Long is coming off of a poor defensive year that has likely lowered his value, but his power and speed combination gives him special potential if he can put all of his tools together.
To make room for Long on the 40-man roster, Seattle DFA’d pitcher/infielder Kaleb Cowart.