The starting pitching market is moving faster than ever and it leads to an interesting thought: could the Mariners actually trade staff ace, Marco Gonzales?
The premium names are gone. The middle class is rapidly shrinking and interesting lottery tickets remain. But with at least 20 teams looking to compete in 2020, there simply isn’t enough starting pitching to go around. And perhaps, it is time for the Mariners to take advantage of the market.
You see, the Mariners aren’t trying to compete for the playoffs in 2020 and they actually have quite a bit of depth in their system with nearly ready arms in the high minors. With the market working in their favor, perhaps now is the time to consider trading LHP Marco Gonzales.
With 4-years of club control and coming off of back-to-back 3.4(or higher) fWAR seasons, Gonzales is as safe a bet to return good value to the acquiring team, which makes him an attractive option.
Gonzales has also proven durable since recovering from Tommy John Surgery, does a good job of avoiding walks and home runs, and is entering just his age-28 season. Compare that to Dallas Keuchel, who is set to make between $13-$15 million a year, and Gonzales will definitely have a strong market.
However, the return in any Gonzales trade has to justify Seattle giving away 4-years of club control who won’t be making serious money until after the 2022 season. And while Gonzales is a solid mid-rotation arm, he is in no way going to get the return of Zack Greinke.
Still, with the market set the way it is, it would be irresponsible for GM Jerry Dipoto to not be at least willing to listen to teams regarding his lefty. And when you play things out, it isn’t hard to see Gonzales as the “odd man out” behind Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, Brandon Williamson, and whoever the team selects in this year’s draft.
At the end of the day, Gonzales is probably more valuable to Seattle than anybody else. The team knows him, like his leadership abilities, and need quality arms to eat innings in 2020. But if the Mariners get a good package, it wouldn’t derail their current timeline and could actually extend the window.
Only time will tell if the Mariners are willing to move Gonzales and there is a decent chance we will never know. Seattle is tight-lipped regarding trade talks, so any news of this would likely come from outside the organization.