Mariners Bonus Trade Candidate: Chris Flexen
There is a bit of Bill Belichick to Jerry Dipoto, I think. The fact that he doesn’t mind getting rid of guys when they are doing great, knowing that they could be at their peak.
It’s my worry with Flexen. He could 100% be a different player after coming back from Korea and pitching this year with the Mariners. He eats innings fairly well, and the 3.61 ERA and 3.89 FIP could be inflated from a couple of awful starts this season. Strikeouts are a rarity though, and he had one of the lowest rates for any qualified starter in baseball.
The other crazy thing about Flexen is that he is under team control through 2026. That’s a lot of control on a guy who could possibly be entering his prime and would hold incredible value throughout that time. He’s going to be 33 when he is eligible to sign, so you get the entirety of his prime.
Which is why I could see Dipoto trading him. It’s fun watching Flexen, as he is so different than many frontline guys these days. When you look at K/9, you expect to see double digits, not something that starts with a 6. There are a lot of fans out there, and potentially rightfully so, that think we have a boatload of current pitchers and prospects that could be better than Flexen. Is that thought process wrong? No. Is it dangerous? Probably.
With Marco, Gilbert, Brash, Hancock, Kirby, whichever other prospects you want to name, and potentially a big FA signing, there are still a lot of options. I didn’t even mention Kikuchi, who is going to likely be around still with a $13 million player option.
If Dipoto is able to move Flexen and potentially another piece for a solid second baseman, would you actually be upset? Tommy Edman, Whit Merrifield, or Brandon Lowe (probably not him). Or maybe a new player to man the hot corner, it would probably be a smart play.
It’s why Flexen makes the list, finishing it out as the Wild Card for a potential trade piece this year for the Seattle Mariners. I don’t necessarily think he is going to be traded, but very few things would surprise me as a trade alert with this team.
Trades are going to happen this offseason. Not all of them (well, I wouldn’t put anything past Jerry), but there is going to be something that catches us off-guard. The Mariners are definitely going to be fun to watch throughout the winter, and these guys are likely to be high on the list of M’s to be traded.