The Seattle Mariners Approach at the 2021 Trade Deadline

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 03: Chris Flexen of the Seattle Mariners reacts. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 03: Chris Flexen of the Seattle Mariners reacts. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The 2021 MLB Trade Deadline is two weeks away, and the Seattle Mariners are looking like buyers. The team is a mere 3 1/2 games out of the A.L. Wild Card race, but there are holes on the roster that need patching up; the back end of the starting rotation, the front end of the bullpen, and the back end of the batting order.

In this article, I’ll take a look at the recent tendencies I’ve noticed in the Mariners front office, as well as the projected market at the deadline. However, I’ll leave the specific trade proposals to my Sodo Mojo colleagues; they’re pumping those out by the day, so keep your eyes peeled! *Shhh, there’s one hidden in the links below, but it’s blue instead of Gray*

Mariners Front Office Tendencies are important

Before projecting trades for a team, you need to know what the team values, not just what the team needs from an external perspective. That’s Rule #1 before going too deep into G.M. mode.

Offensively, Seattle likes speed, on-base ability, batting average with runners in scoring position (BA/RISP), and, more microscopically, hard-hit rate (% of batted balls hit at 95 mph or more). TLDR, they want their lineup to have a balance between guys who can get on base and put themselves into scoring position, and guys who can hit the ball hard and hopefully find a gap when there’s an opportunity to score.

Defensively, the team values pitchers who can locate on the corners, minimize their walks, and, ideally, have run on their fastball/significant movement on their breaking pitches. Since plenty of balls are put into play under this pitching approach, the team obviously also highly values elite fielding capability from their position players.

Finally, in grand perspective, I believe Jerry Dipoto and the rest of the front office are passionate about finding “diamond-in-the-rough” players. It’s unusual, but more often than not, the Mariners have had the most success from players who are undervalued by other teams and come at a cheap price.

All of these players have been key contributors this year: Ty France and Luis Torrens were side pieces in the Austin Nola/Taylor Trammell trade. Jake Fraley was a side piece in the Mike Zunino/Mallex Smith trade. Erik Swanson was a side piece in the James Paxton/Justus Sheffield trade. Kendall Graveman was released by the Cubs.

Paul Sewald was released by the Mets. Drew Steckenrider was DFA’d by the Marlins. Chris Flexen has been unbelievable and he played in Korea last year. When all is said and done, Dipoto and Co. have a knack for finding high talent in low places.

How the Mariners could approach the Market at This Year’s Deadline

I believe that any team within 10 games of their league’s Wild Card race will not be significant sellers at the deadline this year. Last year’s expanded playoff gave a few teams the sweet taste of postseason baseball; a taste that will continue to linger for at least the rest of this season. So, I only expect significant Mariners trades to occur with any of the 9 teams currently sitting at least 10 games back: Detroit, Minnesota, Kansas City, Texas, and Baltimore in the A.L., and Colorado, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Arizona in the N.L.

I know I said I wouldn’t propose any trades, but here are a few names to keep an eye on from those teams:

Detroit:  Matthew Boyd, SP (2.4 BB/9, 13th in A.L.) – stay tuned here

Minnesota:  Luis Arraez, 2B (.365 OBP, 16th in A.L.)

Kansas City:  Nicky Lopez, 2B (.350 OBP, 23rd in A.L.)

Texas:  Mike Foltynewicz, SP (1.9 BB/9, 7th in A.L.)

Baltimore:  Ramon Urias, 2B (.354 OBP, 21st in A.L.)

Colorado:  Jon Gray, SP (.219 BAA, 17th in N.L.) – hint hint

Miami:  Richard Bleier, RP (0.84 WHIP, 16th in N.L. among pitchers w/ at least 9 IP)

Pittsburgh:  Colin Moran, UTIL IF (.345 OBP, 26th in N.L.)

Arizona:  Asdrubal Cabrera, UTIL IF (.332 OBP, 35th in N.L.)

Keep an eye out on Sodo Mojo for more trade articles, proposals, and general Mariners coverage. #SeaUsRise