There were few teams worse than the Mariners in 2019. The Miami Marlins happen to be one of them. Rebuilding teams usually aren’t a great trade fit for one another, but could this be the exception?
The Mariners have a ton of outfielders. So many, in fact, they will likely spend large portions of the off-season trying to move a couple of them. So naturally, let’s talk about acquiring another one from the NL East cellar-dwellers: the Miami Marlins.
Unlike the Mariners, the Marlins are following a more traditional rebuild plan. Their plan involves the typical 5-7 year rebuild and they just wrapped up year 2. The franchise is in bad shape and their fan support has diminished to almost zero after trading Christian Yelich, Marcel Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton, and J.T. Realmuto in recent years.
The team needs to start getting better soon but is in no rush to push for even a .500 record. But there is some talent in the Marlins organization that could appeal to other teams like Caleb Smith. But what if the Mariners instead traded from a position of strength for a player who plays the same position?
Here is our proposal:
The player we targeting here is a 25-year-old outfielder, Lewis Brinson. Once considered the jewel of the Yelich trade, Brinson’s time in Miami has been nothing short of disastrous. In his 186 games with the Marlins, Brinson has posted a horrific -2.7 fWAR.
This is thanks, in large part, to his 29.7% strikeout rate and his sub-.240 OBP. He has been nothing short of a massive bust in South Florida. So take the chance on him? Well for starters, his raw skills are that of an elite prospect.
We are talking about 70-grade raw power, 60 speed, and 65 arm strength. Now the time has come to see if the athlete can become a baseball player. And about a year and a half into his big league career, the answer is a resounding no.
But Brinson is just 25-years-old, has 2 MILB options remaining, and is at least 4-years away from free agency. If the Mariners scouting or analytical staffs see something they can do with Brinson’s swing, there is a potential upside for a late-blooming, All-Star-caliber outfielder.
Brinson isn’t the high-floor prospect that GM Jerry Dipoto typically favors, but from a raw skill perspective, Brinson may just trail Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez in the category. Because of this and the Marlins’ lack of urgency to win, they won’t likely just give him away, so the return would have to be tempting.
The return in this offer could make sense for a few reasons. One, Mallex Smith basically replaces Brinson in the organization. The two are just 1-year apart from each other, so not a massive gap. Second, the Marlins add a few decent prospects in Juan Querecuto and Ty Adcock, both of whom would slide into the Marlins Top 30.
Finally, they would clear about $4 million of payroll, something the Marlins are always interested in, by moving Jose Urena, whom the Mariners could use as a short-term starter before transitioning him to the bullpen, where his current profile plays better.
The deal may not be perfect, but it is at least in the realm of possibility, making it a good starting point and conversation starter. This trade wouldn’t relieve the outfield overflow but is a way to add high upside players to the organization without sacrificing the significant pieces typically required.