Mariners Trade Proposal: Deals with the Baltimore Orioles
Option 1: Mariners acquire John Means
In Means, the Mariners would be acquiring a relatively inexperienced pitcher still, who has just 348.2 innings in his career, the majority coming in the last three years.
He finished second in ROY voting in 2019 while making the All-Star game. 2020 was fine, and 2021 was a pretty good season. Mariners fans are more knowledgeable about him than most, but not by choice. His season did get cut down a bit by shoulder fatigue and wasn’t the same after coming back. There’s a good chance it was due to coming back too soon, and a full offseason should be enough to get him back to full health.
Means isn’t a big-time strikeout guy, but he’s been trending up, reaching 8.2 K/9 in 2021. The worry with him is the negative difference in ERA and FIP, with an ERA of 3.82 and a FIP of 4.65. It was actually a full point apart in 2021, at 3.62 and 4.62.
A bit of a late bloomer, this will already be his age-29 season. He should be coming into his prime now, and there is a good likelihood that the next few years will be the best ones that he produces. This is going to be his ARB-1 year, and he will be a free agent after the 2024 season. So while he doesn’t have any cheap minimum seasons left, he does have all his arb years left for the team.
There’s a hope that Means could get even better with the lesser pressure that comes from moving down in the rotation. In Baltimore, he was the clear ace. In Seattle, he would be more in line with Logan Gilbert and Chris Flexen for the 3-4-5 spots, depending on how you feel about each pitcher.
It’s why I think the Mariners would still have to give up a decent amount but could get away with an assortment of younger guys who are a few years away. In return, Seattle sends them a SS, RHP, and a CF. They’re all likely to come up in 2024, with Polcovich possibly being a late 2023 guy. It helps the Orioles build up their system, and get set for internal pieces to be ready in a few years.
Connor Phillips is a top ten in the Mariners system, so he would be the headline piece in the deal. Polcovich is likely a utility type, and Clase is the wild card throw-in. The dude is crazy fast and reportedly is closer to 6′-180lb instead of his listed 5’8-150lbs. Remember, he turns 20 in May, so growing is to be expected from someone his age, especially when it hasn’t been updated in quite a while.