New trend could lead to Mariners breaking stalemate in Haniger talks

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 11: Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto watches batting practice before a game between the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Rangers won the game 2-1 in eleven innings. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 11: Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto watches batting practice before a game between the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Rangers won the game 2-1 in eleven innings. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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The Seattle Mariners are probably not going to trade Mitch Haniger this winter. The market has more suitors than it did last year, but we have heard very little in regards to Haniger rumors. But perhaps clues have been dropped?

Well, maybe not clues, but at least an idea that we haven’t properly shaken out. The Mariners recently traded Omar Narvaez to Milwaukee and their big prize in the return was a draft choice, the 70th overall pick (for now) to be exact.

Last winter, they traded Carlos Santana to Cleveland for Edwin Encarnacion and another competitive balance draft slot, which ended up turning into Isiah Campbell, who immediately fell inside our Top 15 prospects. Are you starting to see the trend we are talking about?

Each of the past two off-seasons, Jerry Dipoto has completed a trade that involves snagging a selection at the end of the second round. Which makes me wonder: could a draft pick be an x-factor in a Mitch Haniger trade?

Well, before we answer that, let’s remind ourselves of how trading draft picks work in MLB. There is only a handful of draft picks that can even be traded. These picks are called “competitive balance” picks, which MLB awards in late November, early December. Competitive Balance A picks come after the first 30 picks in the draft, while Competitive Balance B picks come after the completion of the second round.

Acquiring draft picks comes with two benefits. First and most obvious, you get to add another player in the draft. Second and perhaps more importantly, you get the slot money allocated to that pick added to your bonus pool. In layman’s terms, you get more money to spend on your draft picks.

But now, let’s take a look at the teams who were awarded these picks. In the competitive balance round A, the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Cleveland Indians, and St. Louis Cardinals. The last 5 teams are all fits, to some degree, for Mitch Haniger.

As for the competitive balance B picks, really only the Rays and Reds make sense as fits. But for a team like the Cardinals, who don’t seem to have the right inventory to lure the Mariners into trading Haniger, could the 38th pick make it work? Possibly.

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Ultimately, the likelihood of the Mariners trading Haniger remains low. But keep this x-factor in mind when looking at potential fits. Adding a pick inside the Top 40 could be a jewel in a deal as significant as the Haniger one would be and we know Jerry Dipoto isn’t afraid to get creative in trade talks.

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