Within the first week of free agency, the Cincinnati Reds traded away one of their top three starting pitchers, Sonny Gray. All eyes will be on the other two candidates from the Reds rotation in Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo. What are the chances that the Mariners could look to solidify their rotation by going after one of them?
Now that the Reds have traded away Gray, it would surprise no one to see them move on and make deals to move both Castillo and Mahle. Once the firesale starts (remember, Miley was claimed off waivers, Barnhart and Iglesias were both traded, and seeing Archie Bradley leave), it would make sense to finish fast. All of those moves have happened since the end of 2020.
Dipoto held a presser soon after the lockout ended, and he mentioned that the team wasn’t looking to add back of the rotation talent. He left open the possibility of adding a front-end guy, but did seem fairly focused on leaving the door open for the prospects so that they could be added once ready.
We all know how much Dipoto likes to make moves, as he woke up “ready to transact”. If the Reds are going to deal away either Castillo or Mahle, Dipoto has likely been in their ear every day whittling away at the asking price.
If Mahle or Castillo can be had for the right price, the Mariners should make the move.
We can go around and around on the concept and value of keeping the farm system strong vs using it to acquire MLB-ready talent vs blocking said prospects. There are solid arguments for all of the options, some of which make more sense than the others.
We do need to remember this, though. Dipoto hasn’t really lost a trade. Sure, there are trades that he hasn’t won, but it’s rare that he loses trades. He isn’t going to get hosed. For those of us who can remember the awful days of Jack Z and previous M’s decision-makes, seeing the Mariners get swindled is a thing of the past.
This first full week of post-lockout is likely going to continue heating up, as we saw on Sunday the 13th. Spring Training is around the corner, and the big-time players are going to want to be in camp to get the work in before the season starts. GMs and Front Offices are going to want the same thing for their players (or should, at least).
The dominos may have already started to fall with some of the trades we’ve seen happen, mostly thanks to the Twins. If things fall into place, the Mariners would be smart to target the Reds as a partner, and lock up the rotation as one of the better ones in all of baseball.