In one of the most controversial moves in Mariner’s trade deadline history, the club traded closer Kendall Graveman to the Astros, for a “failed prospect” named Abraham Toro. Toro is a struggling former prospect, while Graveman was the team’s closer. However, I am here to tell you that this deal is a huge win for Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners.
Graveman was a clubhouse favorite, and trading him to a division rival after one of the biggest wins in recent memory is sure to sting in a clubhouse full of guys who want to win. Toro’s lack of production at the big league level thus far led to outrage from Mariner fans, especially for a team in a pennant race. However Toro’s loud tools and potential could lead to fans forgetting about Graveman altogether, sooner rather than later.
Toro could be a sneaky long-term answer, and win, for the Mariners.
All the way back in 2019, Abraham Toro was one of the more enticing prospects in the game. He has many strong tools, including a 55 hit grade to pair with 50 power and 60 speed according to Fangraphs. His minor league numbers are tremendous, putting together a .276/.370/.466 slash line in parts of five seasons in the minor leagues.
Over his first ~90 games in the big leagues, Toro was not able to translate his production in the minor leagues to Houston. His OPS sat below .700, and for a team with Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel at the corners, there was no need to wait around for Toro. Toro had strictly played first and third base with the Astros, making his position on the team hard to see moving forward. Enter Jerry Dipoto.
In his first five games with Seattle following the trade, Abraham Toro has hit .500 with three doubles and two home runs. This success could be a sign of things to come, as he had started to heat up before being dealt to the Mariners. Above-average bat speed and power, Toro has all the potential to be an above-average regular at the big league level.
It is easy to see what the Mariners value in Toro. Many scouts have compared his bat to Marwin Gonzalez, a switch hitter with pop. The Mariners not only acquired Toro to be their second base addition at the deadline but gives them an opening day option at third base in 2022 with the likely departure of Kyle Seager. With Perry Hill in the fold, there is no question Toro can become an adequate infield option for the Mariners moving forward.
It is no secret the Mariners have not done a good job compiling infield prospects. The trade of Austin Shenton makes this even more painfully obvious, with Noelvi Marte as the only remaining infielder in their top 15. Toro is essentially a defacto prospect, at just 24 years old. He could become an easy, controllable fit to a young infield core moving forward.
While not popular at the time, I believe this trade will benefit the Mariners greatly in the long run. There is no question Graveman was a powerful force at the back end of this bullpen, but the value Abraham Toro can provide in the long run is no match for Graveman. His tools, paired with his age could lead him to flourish into a real role with a contending Seattle ballclub. It is an unpopular opinion, but this deal was a steal for Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners.