Number 1: Mallex Smith
It is hard to imagine a worse first year with a new club than Mallex Smith had with the Mariners in 2019. He got hurt in the off-season, missed all of spring training, struggled both at the plate and in the field early, got demoted, came back up, and was just okay upon his return. That’s tough.
But despite all of that, Smith did lead the AL in stolen bases and if you buy into the metrics, he was one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball. I think it is fair to call 2019 a bit of an outlier for Mallex Smith. It may also be fair to call his 2018 an outlier as well, just in the opposite direction.
The real Mallex Smith is probably somewhere in the middle and if the Mariners see it, Smith will be an interesting trade chip. The plus speed and good defense in centerfield will make him an interesting bench piece for a contender. But the 3-years of club control open up his market to more than just contenders and that market gets even bigger if he can get back to a .270/.330/.370 player.
We talked about the logjam in the outfield during the Haniger discussion and that all applies in this discussion as well. But Haniger’s upside is as a perennial All-Star and Smith just doesn’t carry that. But a cheap, 27-year-old speed demon with above-average defense will carry value. Just how much value depends on how his 2020 season goes.
There you have it. The 5 players most likely to be dealt before Opening day 2021. Now, guys like Carl Edwards Jr. and Yoshihisa Hirano are obvious candidates as well. But they were so obvious we decided to skip them to talk about some of the less obvious candidates. Who do you think is the most likely Mariner to be traded in the next 11 months?