Spring Training is just 5 days away from officially starting. Mariners pitchers and catchers will report on February 12th. But just because it’s still winter, doesn’t mean we can’t look forward to the Summer.
The 2020 Seattle Mariners are probably not going to be a good team. I think we can all accept that and for the people who have been paying attention, they’ll know it is all a part of the plan. The goal for Seattle and GM Jerry Dipoto was never to have a good record in 2020.
However, time and time again, Dipoto and the Mariners have circled 2021 as the year they would like to start competing again. But the team has a long way to go to get there and the team did very little in the way of bringing in talent outside of the organization to get there.
But Dipoto doubled down a bit in his pre-Spring Training press conference, saying that he anticipates his team being very interesting in the Summer and winter, comparing his timeline to that of the White Sox.
Of course, the White Sox have been one of the busiest teams this winter, shelling out large contracts to Yasmany Grandal and Dallas Keuchel, while also adding veterans Edwin Encarnacion and Steve Cishek on short-term deals, and giving top prospect Luis Roberts an MLB contract before his debut.
So if Dipoto believes his team is set up like the 2019 White Sox, we should expect a busy 2020 off-season. But remember, Dipoto actually pointed to the summer in his statement. This could lead to the idea that some of the Mariners’ top prospects like Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert could be called up. But it may also hint at the expected activity at the trade deadline.
Remember, Dipoto says he wants to compete in 2021. With that aggressive of a timeline, you can’t rely on getting everything you need to be done in one winter. And since Dipoto did nothing in terms of adding proven MLB players this winter, it seems like he’ll need to be aggressive this summer too.
While it is unusual for a non-contending team to be aggressive buyers at the deadline, we have seen it more recently. Perhaps the best example of this is the Cincinnati Reds who finished last season with a 75-87 record but traded top prospect Taylor Trammel and Scott Moss in a 3-team deal for Trevor Bauer. The Reds are now solidly considered serious wild card contenders and could challenge for the NL Central title.
This is the type of deal Dipoto could consider this summer. The player would have to be controllable through at least 2021 and the cost cannot be astronomical. It could be a tough needle to thread, but Dipoto does not lack the creativity or conviction to get such a deal done.
With all that in mind, here are 5 potential trade targets for the Mariners this July.