Some of the Seattle Mariners bigger name trade chips have been getting hurt, which stinks. But other teams will suffer injuries that may make new markets for other trade chips.
Last night, we may have just seen a case of this as Yankees star catcher Gary Sanchez hit the 10-Day IL with an ankle sprain. Could this mean that the Mariners, who seemingly have decent catcher depth, and the Yankees match up on another trade?
Well obviously, we believe the answer is yes. While it’s not believed that Sanchez’s injury is anything serious, the backup catcher spot is still an area where a great Yankees team can still get better.
Now, in theory, both Omar Narvaez and Tom Murphy could be available. But Murphy is undoubtedly a better fit for the Yankees. Consider the profile of Gary Sanchez. He is an offense-first, below-average defensive catcher. That’s Omar Narvaez, so having both on the team doesn’t make much sense.
Murphy, on the other hand, is a more balanced option who can handle starting duties until Sanchez is back and serve a strong bench option moving forward. Murphy makes more sense for a team looking for a backup catcher in general and is also more likely to be dealt.
This isn’t the first time that we have connected Murphy to the Yankees, but now they are without Sanchez, at least for a short time, and could use the upgrade anyways. In the article linked above, we speculated that a package of Luis Cessa and Ryder Green could make sense and I agree.
But in order to avoid the same deal, let’s propose something slightly different. Let’s try this:
Now, some of you likely remember Thairo Estrada. He actually got some run earlier this season, filling in for a banged-up Yankees team and played really well. In 25 games, Estrada hit .280/.321/.520 which is good for a 117 wRC+. But Estrada was pushed out by the extremely talented Yankees infield and despite some promising skills, Fangraphs ranks him as the 32nd best prospect in the Yankees system.
This is, in large part, due to the lack of projectable power until this season. Prior to 2019, Estrada hadn’t slugged over .400 since 2013. He did make a swing adjustment entering this year and despite being sent down to AAA, he is slugging .477 in the International League. So the power may be real, but so is his lack of walks, a major red flag for the Mariners.
Overall, Estrada is probably best suited to be a utility man and in a small sample with the Yankees, he did play shortstop, second base, and in the corner outfield. He profiles best as a second baseman but there is some upside here. Estrada also has above-average speed.
Estrada still has 6 years of club control remaining, as well as 2 minor league options. This versatility both on and off the field could appeal to the Mariners who can afford to see who the real Estrada is while the Yankees chase another World Series.
Right now, Estrada would probably be the best second baseman on the big league club, and his versatility gives him an ability to play even when Dee Gordon and Shed Long are ready to roll. Estrada is a lottery ticket, but one with a short track record of MLB success with the control years Dipoto covets.
It may not be the perfect deal, but it is something within the realm of possibility from which to grow.