Building a Haniger trade between Mariners and D-Backs

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 14: Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners scores on a double off the bat of Domingo Santana in the third inning against the Houston Astros at T-Mobile Park on April 14, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 14: Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners scores on a double off the bat of Domingo Santana in the third inning against the Houston Astros at T-Mobile Park on April 14, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Raiding Arizona’s Cupboards

PHOENIX, AZ – AUGUST 25: Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first-inning pitch against the Seattle Mariners at Chase Field on August 25, 2018, in Phoenix, Arizona. All players across MLB will wear nicknames on their backs as well as colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms during Players Weekend. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ – AUGUST 25: Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first-inning pitch against the Seattle Mariners at Chase Field on August 25, 2018, in Phoenix, Arizona. All players across MLB will wear nicknames on their backs as well as colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms during Players Weekend. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

When it comes to identifying targets in the Arizona system, the Mariners don’t have a shortage of options, but the Diamondbacks aren’t going to make every player available to acquire Haniger. We know that Arizona won’t likely move Alek Thomas or Kristian Robinson, and have let it be known that Corbin Carroll, Daulton Varsho, Geraldo Perdomo are near untouchable.

While this does account for most of their consensus Top 10, there are still quality prospects who would seemingly be available, particularly on the pitching side. Perhaps chief amongst them is RHP Jon Duplantier.

Duplantier is a 25-year-old pitcher who reached the big leagues in 2019 and should compete for a rotation spot in 2020. He features a good fastball with run that sits at 93 MPH and a slider that sits squarely in the above-average category. The slider is closer to plus than above-average and is his true out pitch.

Duplantier also shows a solid curveball that flashes above-average and a changeup that is fringe-average now and has shown steady growth in the past year. Duplantier throws enough strikes and misses enough bats to be a #4 type but he will need to refine his command to reach his ceiling.

Other top pitching prospects who could be available include Levi Kelly, a 20-year-old RHP who has 2 plus offerings but is at least 1.5 seasons away from the big leagues, and Brennan Malone. Malone is a Competitive Balance A selection of the team in the 2019 draft and features big stuff but is also the furthest away amongst the trio of arms.

Any one of these names could make for an interesting headliner but with Dipoto’s insistence on beginning to compete in 2021, they likely favor Duplantier. Other interesting names include Corbin Martin, who made his MLB debut in 2019 with Houston. Martin did the near-impossible and pitched well in the PCL, flashing mid-rotation stuff and command. Unfortunately, he had Tommy John Surgery in July and will likely miss all of 2020 as a result.

Thankfully, the Diamondbacks also have a few established MLB pieces that could be of interest to Dipoto. Perhaps the most interesting name is also the least likely, RHP Zac Gallen. Gallen came over from the Miami Marlins in a surprising deal at the deadline and threw really well down the stretch.

Unfortunately, he has 5 years of club-control making him an unlikely part of this deal. The same could be said for Robbie Ray, just on the other end of the spectrum. Ray makes some sense on the surface but is set to be a free agent after this season, which is obviously a big problem.

Two final names to keep an eye on would be Merrill Kelly and Luke Weaver. Both are controlled for 3 or more seasons and both profile more as right-handed versions of Marco Gonzales than as a top of the rotation arm.

Weaver is just 26-years-old and got off to a start worthy of a high-end 2 in 2019. But he missed 3 months with an elbow sprain, an obvious black flag on his resume. Still, he has a fairly high floor and with 4-years left of control, he could be a member of the rotation when Seattle is ready to compete.

There are dozens of more names we could discuss, but let’s just move right along to our actual proposal.

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