Seattle Mariners Trade a Day: Shipping an Infielder Off to Boston
The Seattle Mariners are going to be extremely aggressive in trying to move on from veterans with large contracts this year. They have already done so with Anthony Swarzak, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jay Bruce.
The Mariners have also been heavily rumored to be pushing Mike Leake on contending teams. One name that we haven’t heard a lot about, but does fit the mold of other veterans, is second baseman Dee Gordon.
Gordon, the 31-year-old second baseman, is set to make $13.8 million in 2020 and is still due about $6.6 million this year, making him an expensive luxury for the rebuilding Mariners. Gordon also has a $14 million team option for 2021, but with just a $1 million buyout, it is unlikely Gordon will see that option picked up.
So, in total, Gordon is due $21.6 million between now and the end of 2020. Based on his numbers the last two years, Gordon isn’t going to be all that attractive to many teams. Yes, Gordon is an above-average second baseman, with defensive versatility, and elite base-stealing skills.
However, he doesn’t hit for power. His current .305 OBP is about 20 points below league-average. For a player whose offensive value is tied to his legs, getting on base is a must for Gordon to have any value at all.
Gordon has also hit the IL in back-to-back seasons and speed is usually the first skill to deteriorate. So, in order for the Mariners to move Gordon, they need the right team to be interested and they’ll need to eat money as well.
But thankfully, one of the teams with the biggest need at second is also a known buyer with a large payroll to help absorb some of Gordon’s contract; the Boston Red Sox.
Right now, Boston has the ninth worst production in all of baseball from second base. That is trending upwards with the use of Michael Chavis at second, but they could still be looking to upgrade the position.
Now, anytime people talk about moving a big money deal to Boston, somebody always brings up the idea of taking on the Rusney Castillo contract as an offset. But for the Mariners, making what is basically an even swap of money to get a 31-year-old OF with no track record of MLB success isn’t the easiest idea to embrace.
Instead, the Mariners will likely eat money and may just add another player to their deal to extract some extra value from Boston. Roenis Elias could make sense as an example. But more than likely, Seattle will need to eat money to extract the value they want. Here is our proposal:
So, once again, the Mariners don’t get much for their veteran, but this time they do get a player with some MLB experience. Travis was also a former highly ranked prospect, but he has stalled out the past few years.
Travis will be 26-years-old in August and is blocked out of the Red Sox. Why might he have GM Jerry Dipoto interested? Well, as a prospect, scouts really liked his hit tool and thought the raw power would eventually translate to game power.
It didn’t happen in Boston, but perhaps a change of scenery can help the young player like it appears to have helped J.P. Crawford.
Travis isn’t a good defender. He has below-average speed and arm grades. You have to believe his bat can carry him, which is admittedly, a stretch. The simple truth is that Boston isn’t going to give up much for Gordon and no team may be willing to beat this deal.
But like the Jay Bruce trade, this is about clearing some salary for this off-season and opening up an everyday job for Shed Long going forward.