Mariners Trade a Day: Trading Marco for Top Prospect, With a Catch

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 06: Marco Gonzales #7 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning during their game at T-Mobile Park on July 06, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 06: Marco Gonzales #7 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning during their game at T-Mobile Park on July 06, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Seattle Mariners still haven’t made a significant trade since they dealt away Edwin Encarnacion. While the odds say they won’t make a major deal, they may blow people away… if they’re willing to pay.

As you can guess from the title, the Mariners player we are focusing on today is LHP Marco Gonzales. We have not written about Marco all trade season and for good reason. Seattle has wanted to use Gonzales as an example of what buying into their analytics can do.

And since his brief cup of coffee in 2017, Marco Gonzales has quietly been one of the better pitchers in the AL. In his last 5 starts, Gonzales has produced 5.6 fWAR. He’s no ace, but has the floor of a #4 starter, has 4.5 years of club control, and is just 27-years-old. He won’t be arbitration eligible until after next season.

Gonzales is a solid trade chip who is tied for 30th in fWAR amongst pitchers this year and should draw the interest of many teams. But Marco himself won’t draw a top-shelf prospect. A good package to be sure, but probably lacking high-end upside.

Normally, we wait until the back end of an article to talk about return, but this proposal is a bit complicated so let’s get it out of the way. Here is our proposal:

Didn’t see that coming did you? Let’s begin with the Padres side. Reports have been consistent on two fronts: San Diego would like to add a starting pitcher and they would love to find a taker for Wil Myers contract. While they may prefer to trade Myers for that pitcher straight up, his $60 million deal over the next 3-years is a tough pill to swallow.

Marco Gonzales is one of the better arms that could be available and the Mariners are one of the only teams that might absorb Myers salary. In fact, there were reports that the Padres and Mariners at least discussed a swap involving Myers this winter.

It isn’t ideal for the Mariners to take on Myers, but for a prospect like Luis Urias, it may be worth it. Think about what Dipoto would be doing. He would be making up a lack of value by taking on more money. They would be buying value. But is Urias worth taking on a big contract like Myers? Let’s dive in.

Urias is a 22-year-old second base prospect with one of the best pure bats in all of baseball. Some scouts give him a 70-grade hit tool which is near elite. Urias constantly barrels up baseballs and has a good idea of the strike zone. He should have no problem hitting .300 while taking enough walks to post a .360 OBP as well.

Now, the power has begun to show up and may be able to post 15-20 home runs at the next level. He’s not a burner, but is a good runner and can steal a handful of bags and be an asset at the next level. Defensively, Urias is above-average at second base and can manage at shortstop, third base, and potentially in the outfield.

Urias is a borderline elite prospect, so Myers must be vastly overpaid for the Padres to consider this? Well, yes. Myers hasn’t posted a 2 win season since 2016 and the 29-year-old (in December) has posted a pitiful .214/.313/.397 slash line in 91 games.

The Padres are not a big market club and once his contract jumps to $20 million AAV, Myers will be one of the worst values in the game. But Myers runs the bases well and has good power, with experience across several positions defensively.

So in this deal, the Padres get the starting pitcher they are searching for and one who is young, cheap, and controllable; plus they shed the entire albatross of a contract from Wil Myers. A team like the Padres, who have already given out massive contracts to Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado should value the financial flexibility this deal would provide.

For the Mariners, they would be paying for Wil Myers but adding a premier prospect to their system who is MLB ready at a position of need. With a deal this complicated, it is unlikely to come to fruition.

But a deal like this could make more sense this off-season and having exploratory talks now could lay the foundation for this type of deal. The Padres are a pretty good match with the Mariners and Dipoto appears to be one of the only GM’s interested in Myers.

Deals like this are so rare and this may be the most unlikely of trade suggestions. But I’ve reached out to some people who follow the Padres and they reluctantly agreed the deal isn’t as farfetched as it may seem.

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Again, this deal has issues, but if the Padres are shopping Wil Myers and Dipoto is willing to absorb a portion of that deal, then a deal like this involving other prospects make a lot of sense. The Mariners see Marco as a part of their next winner, so a deal like this may be the only way they consider moving him.