The Seattle Mariners will begin their second half of the 2019 season on Friday but the biggest news most are tracking is what will happen at the trade deadline in the next 3 weeks.
The Mariners are going to be involved in this market. While the focus of most is which contracts GM Jerry Dipoto can dump, we still need to be prepared for the possibility that they could actually add Major League talent to help them in 2020 and 2021.
As is common this time of year, more names are leaking as “on the market”, including former New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard. So today we ask, does Syndergaard fit with the Seattle Mariners?
Well yes and no. Remember, Dipoto’ stated goal is to begin to look like a playoff team the second half of 2020 with the window truly beginning in 2021. If Seattle made a trade for Syndergaard, he would be under club control for the remainder of 2019, 2020, and 2021. So he would be here for year 1 of the window, but no guarantees to being around longer.
The cost would obviously be another issue. Early in the process, teams like the Astros and Brewers are interested. Getting into a bidding war with 2 World Series contenders isn’t something that makes a lot of sense for a team like Seattle unless the price is right.
But that obviously begs the question; what is a fair price for 2.5 years of Noah Syndergaard? Interesting enough, the Mariners may have been involved in the best comp for such a deal. A few days ago on Twitter, we asked you which pitcher you’d rather have:
216 of you voted and 86% said you would rather have pitcher B. Which is interesting since A is Noah Syndergaard and B is none other than former Mariner James Paxton. Now, obviously, there are a few difference between the two pitchers. One being that Paxton is 4-years older.
But remember, age isn’t as valuable as club control and if the Mets deal Thor this summer, he will only have 2 more months of club control than Paxton did when the Mariners dealt him this winter. And remember, the package for Paxton was Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson, and Dom Thompson-Williams.
So we have a fair comp from which to work with. Now, let’s assume that Syndergaard will still cost more than Paxton but with his injury history and relatively disappointing 2019, we still should be in the ballpark.
With all these factors in mind, there are two proposal’s that come to mind: one if the Mets still want to compete in 2020 and one that is more appropriate for a team with their eyes on 2021 or beyond. First up, the “win sooner” proposal:
So in this deal, the Mets get a big league player with 3.5 years of club control as the headliner, outfielder Mallex Smith. The Mets centerfield production this season has been an embarrassment, slashing .184/.281/.282 with a -1.5 fWAR, and there is no clear answer in their minor league system.
In addition to Mallex Smith, who has slashed .275/.330/.420 since being recalled with better defense as well, the Mariners give up Noelvi Marte, a super talented infielder who is 3-5 years away.
But in this package, the Mariners clear up a bit of a future logjam in the outfield and add a potential ace. It does cost them a high-upside prospect in Marte, but would be well worth it. However, I do not believe this would be enough for the Mets to move Thor, so let’s move on to our more “by the book” offer:
So in this proposal, the Mariners add both a potential ace and a solid outfielder who may ultimately be best served as a platoon partner for a haul of prospects, including Justus Sheffield. Sheffield has figured things out since his demotion to AA, and his next start could very well come for the Mariners, not in AA or AAA.
With the ceiling of a #2 starter and the floor of a multi-inning, high leverage reliever, Sheffield is as sure of a bet as you can get to be a productive big leaguer in one capacity or another. As we mentioned in the previous trade proposal, the Mets have no real future plans in center field so both Braden Bishop and Jake Fraley make sense as a strong second in this offer.
Finally, Seattle ships off Sheffield’s AA teammate and one of the more unheralded prospects in the system, LHP Ricardo Sanchez. Traded by the Braves for cash this season, Sanchez has posted a solid 3.75 ERA in 94 innings, striking out 91 batters while walking just 24. Juan Querecuto gives the Mets a lottery ticket to try and develop as well.
Now, at the end of the day, does it make sense for Seattle to trade so much club control for Noah Syndergaard? Probably not. And with other playoff teams in pursuit, the Mariners are probably better off looking elsewhere for their next ace.
Adding Noah Syndergaard would be a lot of fun and could be exactly the type of deal that accelerates their timeline. And if you can’t make that next step in 2020, Syndergaard will retain a fair amount of trade value to be dealt next winter as well.
The right deal for Thor could be a huge step forward. But the risk of making a wrong deal for him could be a major step back. The magnificent head of hair may be most likely to remain in New York, but a trip out to Seattle would be fun… and a little scary.