Mariners – Rockies Trade No. 3
I was a little hesitant to add Jon Gray to my list, just because Seattle has a healthy amount of pitching already. Gray has been a huge mystery for Colorado fans, and he might just need a change in scenery.
The 29-year-old starting pitcher has decent stuff in his toolbox, but he just hasn’t been consistent. He has had a sub 4.00 ERA season twice in his six-year career, but all of the other seasons have been really bad.
Unfortunately for the Rockies, the Jon Gray project has not worked and they have waited long enough. So, why don’t the Mariners give him a shot? It’s almost like we’re doing the Rockies a favor.
To turn the question back on the Mariners, why should we give Gray a chance, and why should we take the gamble? The short answer, Gray has potential.
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Early in his career, his FIP was actually quite good. In 2015 (rookie season), he posted a 3.63 FIP in nine starts. In 2016, he posted a 3.60 FIP after 29 starts. And in 2017, he had a great 3.18 FIP across 20 starts. For context, Mariners ace Marco Gonzales had a 3.32 FIP last season.
But then came 2018, where he posted a 4.08 FIP. The first time he had a FIP large than 4.00. That being said, Gray’s baseline numbers, like ERA, doesn’t really do justice for how he pitched early in his career.
His Baseball Savant numbers aren’t great either, which is worrisome. But, maybe the Mariners coaching staff can convince him to change his repertoire. In the past, Gray has relied a lot on his really good fastball which was 94mph on average last year.
Gray does have a sinker in his back pocket, but he only used it seven times last season. In 2019, he only used it 29 times. Remember how Justus Sheffield pitched in 2020? He became a sinkerball pitcher rather than a four-seam pitcher, and that did wonders.
I think Gray could really benefit if he threw his sinker more often because his current repertoire is not doing it for him.
Lastly, changes in scenery can occasionally change players. Gray has been with the Rockies since 2013, after being their first-round draft pick and third overall pick right after Kris Bryant.
Pitching in Colorado is a difficult thing to do because of how the ball carries, so I think a new home could really benefit him. So, what would it take?
Gray is not as valuable as McMahon according to Baseball Trade Values, but he still is rather valuable (7.20). To balance it out, the Mariners would need to give up Zach DeLoach and Nick Margevicius. Their value is a projected 4.5 and 2.8 respectively.
I will be honest, this is a big gamble for the Mariners. There is still a lot of uncertainty in Gray and I am assuming that the staff would be able to convince Jon to change his repertoire.
In terms of what we have to give up, it isn’t the biggest loss, but DeLoach is looking like a really good draft prospect. Margevicius also did a good enough job for Seattle in 2020 as a 24-year-old. He is not the most exciting pitcher, but he still has the potential to be a solid No. 3 pitcher in the rotation.
I think all three of these trades would benefit both sides and are respectable returns. Also at the same time, the Mariners don’t need them. I think the roster is pretty well set as it is, and these three Rockies players would be a bonus.