The Seattle Mariners are unusually quiet in the early goings of the MLB off-season. While most of the talk is about which 3 prospects Seattle can get for Mitch Haniger, the simplest of trades can be overlooked.
Thanks to baseball’s new tanking era, teams are more willing than ever to trade impact at the MLB level for bulk in the minor leagues, counting on their player development system to produce cheap producers. The Mariners find themselves walking the fine line of this new system.
They aren’t choosing bulk over potential impact, but there were some instances where the team either took a little bit less at the top to get more in the middle or simply refused to give up its impact for bulk(Mitch Haniger didn’t get traded to the Braves for a reason).
But when we think trades in 2019, we often think of the selling team offering a major leaguer for a group of young prospects. The Zack Greinke style trade isn’t too rare these days. But the Zac Gallen for Jazz Chisolm trade was a bit rare, simply due to its simplicity. A straight one for one swap not involving a bullpen arm is rarer than ever.
But often time, these simplest of trades, asset one for asset two, aren’t even considered by most fans today. But today, these are the type of deals we will be looking for, to see if we can find 3, good old fashioned, 1-for-1 swaps. Let’s begin.
1. Marco Gonzales for Andrew Benintendi
Now, right away you’re thinking, “the Mariners need pitching and have a ton of outfield help. Why trade a pitcher for an outfielder?” While you’re not wrong, keep in mind the idea isn’t to build out an entire roster but rather to approximate value between two big-league assets.
Besides all of that, Seattle does actually need some floor in their outfield as well as some upside and Boston most definitely needs starting pitching. Marco Gonzales isn’t the most exciting name in the world, but despite the hype early in his career, Andrew Benintendi is roughly the equivalent on the offensive side.
Both players are reliable, high-ceiling players who are likely to but up roughly 2.5 WAR every season they stay healthy. Benintendi has the higher upside, but Gonzales is a bit safer and does have an extra year of club control.
We know how good Marco Gonzales is, but what about Benintendi? Well, over the past 3 seasons, he has played in 151, 148, and 138 games and posted a career triple slash of .277/.354/.442 with 51 home runs, 52 stolen bases, a 10.2 BB%, and an 18.7 K%, good for a career 109 wRC+.
He is a slightly above-average offensive threat in a home ballpark (and division) that greatly favors the offense. He has played an average, at best, left field in Fenway, but is a good base-runner. Overall, he has produced a 9.0 fWAR in 3 full seasons. Marco Gonzales has posted a 7.1 fWAR in his 2 full seasons.
Gonzales does have 2.5 years on Benintendi, but also has an additional year of club control and does not have the typical workload of the average arm entering his age-28 season. Simply put, neither player is particularly exciting, but they are in the same tier of MLB players. A straight-up, 1-for-1 is a perfectly legitimate trade from a value perspective and one that could help both sides.