4. Tyler O’Neill for Marco Gonzales
I love this trade because it showed that Jerry Dipoto had some definable skill in identifying pitching talent that may have been overlooked. This deal was also a mic drop type of deal after many, myself included, ripped him for trading away one of the just 2 or 3 real prospects in his system for a soft-tossing lefty coming off Tommy John surgery.
I couldn’t even believe the return when it flashed across my screen. I assumed there had to be a third team involved or at least another player coming back to Seattle. And when that didn’t happen, I was borderline furious.
Now, after 2 full seasons of seeing a healthy Marco Gonzales, I would like to formally invite Mr. Dipoto to tell me just how wrong I was. Not only has Gonzales been the lower-end number 4 type of arm many predicted was his ceiling, but he has actually been a lot closer to a number 3 and may have entrenched himself as the only holdover from the last good Mariners team to the next one.
Over his first 2 full seasons with the Mariners, Gonzales has posted a 3.99 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP, a 106 ERA+, and 7.1 fWAR. Meanwhile, O’Neill has flashed the big-time power he always had but has struggled to make consistent enough contact to be a full-time regular.
But even if O’Neill reaches his ceiling as a power-hitting starter, Dipoto still did remarkably well in a deal so many assumed he lost. There is a bit of, “I told you so” vibes to this trade, which is why it sticks in my mind as one of Dipoto’s best.
I honestly love it when players prove me wrong. And in this case, both Marco Gonzales and Jerry Dipoto did just that. And for those reasons, I ranked this move as Jerry’s 4th best.