Two days after the baseball world was shocked by the Red Sox three-team trade of Mookie Betts, the world was shocked again by a fracture in the proposed deal. Could the Mariners jump into the action?
The purposed deal would have sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers for Alex Verdugo and Twins prospect Brusdar Gratoral. The Twins would get Kenta Maeda for Gratoral, and the deal appeared set. But Gratoral’s elbow concerned the Sox and the deal as we knew it needs to be changed. So naturally, we ask “should the Mariners get involved”?
For starters, we know the Mariners are interested in a few Dodgers prospects like Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray. But the best shot at acquiring either prospect went out the window with the revelation that Mitch Haniger would miss the start of the season with core surgery.
Instead, in theory, the question is what do the Dodgers have to offer the Mariners so that Seattle would flip a prospect in the Gratoral category to Boston? Obviously, Seattle has a need for a starting pitcher, so maybe Maeda could still be the guy?
Well, while I like Maeda a good deal, trading one of their top 5-7 guys for a 32-year-old pitcher is a tough sell for a rebuilding team, even with the ultra team-friendly contract of Maeda worked into the equation.
A prospect for prospect swap doesn’t make much sense either. The Dodgers have a strong farm system, but unless there is a case similar to the Shed Long for Josh Stowers deal (trading a prospect far away for a similar prospect closer to the bigs), I think we can rule it out.
The Mariners don’t have any major league pieces that would make sense for the Red Sox to take instead of the Top-100ish prospect. The Red Sox biggest need would likely be in the OF, even if they acquired Verdugo, and without Haniger to offer, the next best OF piece would likely be Mallex Smith.
Smith has almost no value right now and the Red Sox would likely look to do better than him anyway.
When you start to peel back the layers of this idea, there isn’t a super obvious way to substitute the Mariners for the Twins in this deal. For Seattle to get involved, some major pieces would have to change and with the Sox and Dodgers able to get a deal done without a 3rd team, it seems more likely they’ll reach an agreement amongst them.
You can never count Jerry Dipoto out of any trade negotiation. He is aggressive and creative, a deadly combination in these types of trades. But sometimes, you just don’t have the cards to play out the hand and you have no choice but to fold. Seattle may be in that position this time around.