The Seattle Mariners have been focused on moving their big money veterans in trade. However, they have several controllable pieces that should be of interest to buyers and sellers alike.
Amongst these Mariners are Domingo Santana, Mitch Haniger, Mallex Smith, and Omar Narvaez. All are under club control for at least 2.5 seasons, while the latter three are under club control for 3.5 seasons.
All these players carry different value, but they are the most likely to fetch high return thanks to their low salaries and club control. Perhaps the most interesting case of the players mentioned above is Omar Narvaez.
An offense-first catcher, Narvaez has the 6th highest wRC+ amongst MLB catchers and may just be available for teams looking for the offense of any kind from their catcher position. Without question, the team with the biggest need for thump from their catcher position is the division rival Texas Rangers.
Texas, this year’s surprise contender, sit just 1 game back in the Wild Card hunt and are reportedly looking to buy this year. The biggest area of need for the Rangers continues to at catcher. This season, their catchers have produced a measly 41 wRC+, with a .285 OBP and a -1.7 fWAR.
So to say Narvaez is a massive upgrade might be an understatement. And believe it or not, Narvaez may be a defensive upgrade as well. With their need and Omar being much more than a rental, the Mariners may be smart to see what the Rangers have to offer.
Texas has a good but not great farm system but has more than enough valuable pieces to make something work. GM Jerry Dipoto could get a prospect-heavy package for Narvaez, or maybe even get a player with some big league seasoning as he has been known to do.
A player who may make sense to ask for is Willie Calhoun, the 24-year-old who was traded to Texas in the Yu Darvish trade. Calhoun hasn’t found his footing in MLB yet, though he has been very good in a small sample in 2019.
While Dipoto could ask about him, it is unlikely Texas would trade him. He is under club control until after 2024 and despite having no defensive value, his bat and power are too valuable to pass up.
A package of prospects is more likely and there are several players that make sense for Seattle. Here is our proposal:
Finding a match is a bit tough because the Rangers have an interesting system. At the end of the day, I settle on these 2 arms. Demarcus Evans is a 22-year-old reliever with an upper 90’s fastball and a 12-6 curveball that is a plus offering. Like many flamethrowing relievers, control is Evans biggest question as indicative by his 25 walks in 32 innings.
But Evans also has great stuff, as evidenced by his 57 strikeouts and .124 OBA. Evans is probably ready for a cup of coffee in the big leagues, but with Texas in a playoff race, it would be risky to push Evans up the ladder at this time.
The prize of the trade is Owen White, the Rangers second-round pick of the 2018 MLB Draft. Unfortunately, White will have to wait until 2020 to make his pro debut, as he has succumbed to Tommy John Surgery.
As a high school prospect, White was throwing his fastball 93-95 MPH with arm side run which may just be the beginning of his upside. At 6’3″, 170 lbs, White still has a lot of room to grow and add good weight to his frame.
The curveball should be a second plus offering, with high spin rates and a slider that he has shelved but could make an appearance at a later date. The changeup is already above-average, showing good fade and is thrown with excellent arm speed.
White will take some time to get to the big leagues, but the upside of a #2 starter will be well worth the wait.
The Mariners may be able to get more from Texas. But for now, they take some upside plays for their starting catcher, leaving Tom Murphy and Austin Nola to handle the position for the rest of the year.