Trade Dee Gordon
Sometimes in rebuilds, teams have decisions that are incredibly easy. Some are incredibly hard. But for the Mariners, the decision of what to do with Dee Gordon this winter is somehow both. In a strict baseball sense, it is an easy decision.
Gordon just wrapped up his second season in Seattle and both years have been huge disappointments. He is also 31-years-old and in the final year of his contract, which is set to pay him $13 million, plus a $1 million buyout after the season. An aging player making money who appears to be in decline? Easy call for a rebuilding team.
But Gordon is beloved in the clubhouse and having a veteran like Gordon around for J.P. Crawford and Shed Long to learn from isn’t a major problem, especially because it’s not like Seattle needs that $13 million to give somebody else. They have money.
Plus, the likelihood you’ll get much of anything for Gordon begs the question as to whether it’s even worth it. It is certainly something that was a factor in our decision making and ultimately, we just couldn’t find a prospect that we liked for Gordon.
So, in theory, he should stick around. Well, we may not have found a prospect we like, but we have found a team that Gordon fits well. And it just so happens that this team has a disappointing player on a nearly identical deal. So, our proposal is a straight contract swap.
Now, in all honesty, I don’t know if this is enough. The Mariners may have to add a prospect to sweeten the deal because while Tyler Chatwood has been disappointing, he wasn’t terrible in 2019.
Chatwood finished the 2019 season with a 4.28 FIP, an 8.69 K/9, a 51% groundball rate, and a 0.6 fWAR. However, he gave up a lot of home runs, finishing the year with an HR/FB rate of 20%. Chatwood, like Gordon, is a free agent after 2020.
But Chatwood’s fastball spin rate and curveball spin rates both rank in the 95th and 99th percentile respectively. Chatwood is a great target this winter as with very little downside and tremendous upside, both in the rotation or in the bullpen, Chatwood will either help eat innings or become a valuable trade chip in July.