The Toro for Graveman deal is better than you think for the Mariners

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 23: Scott Servais #9 and Kendall Graveman #49 of the Seattle Mariners shake hands after the game against the Oakland Athletics. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 23: Scott Servais #9 and Kendall Graveman #49 of the Seattle Mariners shake hands after the game against the Oakland Athletics. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Mariners Kendall Graveman is traded away
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – JULY 23: Scott Servais #9 and Kendall Graveman #49 of the Seattle Mariners shake hands after the game against the Oakland Athletics. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Look, we were all upset when the Mariners traded Kendall Graveman to the Astros. Seeing, arguably, our best bullpen guy go to the most disliked team in the division stinks. No one wanted to see him go to Houston, especially after the most exciting win in years, and during a series against them.

I was angry when I saw it happen. Our best bullpen guy… to the Astros. Gross. How could Dipoto do this to us? My phone was blowing up, and I was sending messages as fast as I could ripping the team for making the trade.

Then, I took a second to actually think about who we sent out, and who the Mariners received in the trade.

We sent out Rafael Montero. He’s been bad, fans don’t want him out there, and now he’s off the team. I still wish him the best of luck, cause he did have some bad luck this year. Then, we sent out Kendall Graveman. A decent starter who has turned into a potentially great reliever. One who has never shown that he can pitch like this, and is going to be a free agent at the end of the season.

He’s gonna want closer money, and someone is going to give him closer money. If we throw out the top three guys, the #4-8 highest paid closers average $10.99 million per season. So Graveman is likely going to get something in the 3-$36 range. Is he worth that? Honestly… I don’t think so. If he pitches like this, then yeah, it’s a deal. If he turns back into a 3.5-4.00 ERA, a guy without crazy strikeout stuff, then it’s a bad deal.

In return, the Mariners got the most consistent reliever in baseball from 2007-2019. Joe Smith never had an ERA over 3.84 and had a career 2.98 heading into 2021. That’s insane for a reliever. This year has been a different story, as he has a 7.48 ERA, possibly due to now being 37. Maybe it’s just a change of scenery that he needed, and he could easily get back to a solid reliever.

Then, they received Abraham Toro, a 24-year-old with a good bat, potential for solid power, a great arm, and the ability to play third with a bit of second. Supposedly, he was every baseball nerd’s dream in the GM circles and was a sneaky snag for the Mariners. Also, he’s under control through 2025, meaning that the team could’ve found a long-term answer at third if/when Kyle Seager either leaves or moves off the position.

Essentially, they swapped their struggling reliever for another struggling reliever, although the one they received had one of the most consistent 13-year stretches in the history of baseball. Then, it was Graveman for Toro. Houston will get 20 innings or so out of Graveman before they have to PAY THE MAN or watch him leave. Seattle gets 4+ years of Toro. I take that deal every single day of the week.

The part about it that stinks, and understandably so, is the effect that it had on the clubhouse. Multiple Mariners were angry, and even publicly said so to Ryan Divish. Doing this trade, in a  vacuum, is great. Doing it in the middle of the series against the team you are trading him to, that’s just dumb.

Once people calm a bit and think about the longer-term effects, more and more fans will like the trade. It does seem a bit like he is selling instead of buying, but it’s Trader Jerry. You know he’s got four phones going, and is working on multiple trades to continue to improve the team. He’s not done, and I think we are all going to be pretty happy once the deadline is over. Even about this trade.

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