The Mariners are likely going to try and move either Chris Flexen or Marco Gonzales this offseason. Recently, Roch Kubatko of MASN answered some fan questions and one of them was how many pitchers the Baltimore Orioles will acquire this offseason. Kubatko responded with:
"More than one. Fewer than a dozen. We could debate your definition of “quality,” but they want multiple veteran starting pitchers and a couple of potentially impactful bats."
MLB Trade Rumors noted that the young Orioles side isn’t looking to go after the top-tier free agents like Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom. However, they believe the Orioles will be aggressive in going after second and third-tier starters to add to the current crop of pitchers. With that being said, could Chris Flexen and Marco Gonzales be good fits for the Baltimore side?
The realisticness of parting ways with Chris Flexen and Marco Gonzales
Our own, Trevor Pedro, thinks that Chris Flexen and Marco Gonzales are strong trade chips for the Seattle Mariners for a few reasons. We already have a strong starting rotation without Flexen and Gonzales, we have decent pitching prospects, and we should look at adding to the lineup.
According to Jerry Dipoto, Chris Flexen drew interest at the trade deadline, and interest continued during the GM Meetings. He isn’t an elite pitcher with jaw-dropping stuff, but he is nice and consistent for his price. He posted a 3.92 ERA across 21 starts earning him a B grade from our Chris O’Day. Flexen’s contract also ends after the 2023 season so teams aren’t locked into a large contract with him.
Marco Gonzales is another name that has been mentioned by reporters but he is a bit tougher to trade. The left-hander turns 31 in February and is owed $6.5 million for 2023 and $12 million in 2024. His numbers have also been trending in the wrong direction so his overall value isn’t as high as Gonzales in my opinion.
Do Chris Flexen and/or Marco Gonzales make sense for the Baltimore Orioles?
The Baltimore Orioles finished with an unexpected 83-79 record which nearly earned them a spot in the playoffs; they finished 3 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays. The Orioles are good, and will only get better with their young core.
Adley Rutschman made an immediate impact once he was called up and Gunnar Henderson did the same toward the end of the season. We cannot forget Cedric Mullins and Ryan Mountcastle as well. And then out of nowhere, a few starting pitchers decided to turn things on.
The current O’s situation is a little reminiscent of the 2021 Seattle Mariners. The Mariners scrapped together a decent team with a bunch of names that people across the nation aren’t familiar with but managed to play well.
- The Seattle Mariners got a glimpse of what Logan Gilbert could do
- Jarred Kelenic played a handful of games despite struggling
- Ty France, Kyle Seager, and Mitch Haniger were the offensive stars
- A “random” mix of starting pitchers tried to keep it together; Yusei Kikuchi, Chris Flexen, Marco Gonzales, Justus Sheffield, Tyler Anderson, and Justin Dunn
With this being said, I think it’s very likely that the Mariners could provide a temporary stopgap in their rotation much like the M’s had Tyler Anderson in 2021. The Orioles currently have Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish, Tyler Wells, and Austin Voth as their top 4 options. And you’re probably wondering, who are they? Here is a short recap from 2022:
- Dean Kremer, 26 years old, 3.32 ERA, 221starts
- Kyle Bradish, 25 years old, 4.90 ERA, 23 starts
- Tyler Wells, 27 years old, 4.25 ERA, 23 starts
- Austin Voth, 30 years old, 3.04 ERA, 17 starts
The Orioles also have two pitching prospects on the way in Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall but I’d think that the Orioles would be conservative with the two. They aren’t ready to compete in a World Series next year and Rodriguez dealt with injuries last season. Last season, the O’s had 6 players on the top 100 prospects list:
- Gunnar Henderson #2
- Grayson Rodriguez #4
- Jackson Holliday #13
- Colton Cowser #40
- Jordan Westburg #76
- DL Hall #87
The O’s also have John Means but he had Tommy John Surgery in April with his timetable being uncertain. So, with all this being said, Chris Flexen and Marco Gonzales fit the mold of what the O’s are in need of for 2023 at an affordable price.
What could the Seattle Mariners get in return?
Chris Flexen and Marco Gonzales aren’t too valuable in my opinion so we won’t get that large of a return. I don’t think the Orioles are also interested in trading away a player that was in the starting lineup last season. I think the Seattle Mariners would like Anthony Santander or someone at that level who could make an impact on the existing Mariners lineup. However, Santander is only 27 years old and probably important to them. It would take more than Chris Flexen or Marco Gonzales to get Santander anyways.
So, I think the most likely return would be a mid-tier prospect. The Mariners don’t have the same high-caliber farm system as they did in 2020 with many graduating and being sent away to other teams. Adding a few prospects from the Orioles might really benefit the Seattle Mariners’ long-term strength, but also trade leverage.
Whether Justin Hollander can make a deal with the Orioles or not, I am betting that Chris Flexen or Marco Gonzales will be sent away, if not both.