In the offseason, fans spend most of their time thinking about who the Mariners should acquire in free agency, but not as much time thinking about who might fetch the highest price. With the team's existing pitching and middle infield depth, who are some pieces that Seattle could part with in order to bolster their weaker areas?
#1 Bryan Woo
Bryan Woo had a quietly effective rookie season. Prior to being called up, Woo was ranked as Seattle's sixth-best prospect and was pitching in Double A. After Marco Gonzales was sidelined due to nerve issues in his elbow, Woo skipped Triple A entirely and made his major-league debut against the Texas Rangers. Over his 87 ⅔ innings pitched, he posted a 4.21 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, but there's more than meets the eye.
Woo's five pitch arsenal depends most heavily on fastballs, with four-seamers, sinkers, and cutters occupying the majority of his pitches thrown. He used his four-seam fastball nearly half the time and it was also his main strikeout pitch, with his sinker and cutter leaning into soft contact over raw power. He also used a slider and a changeup but with a combined run value of -6 across those two pitches, it's clear that he has some kinks to iron out before becoming a more multi-dimensional threat.
Most interestingly, Woo actually had an expected ERA of 3.45, placing in the top 20% of MLB. Despite making a hasty and unexpected major-league debut, he likely performed better than expected and rounded out a rotation that was the fourth-best in MLB by ERA (3.89). Nonetheless, one starter will have to give up his spot to allow for the return of Robbie Ray at some point during 2024. With a wealth of talent, the Mariners may be better off leveraging it towards acquiring better hitters.
Potential Landing Spots
One interesting potential trade candidate that might be interested in picking up a piece like Bryan Woo would be the Texas Rangers. With the recent news that Max Scherzer will be out for a significant portion of 2024 after receiving back surgery, Jacob deGrom still recovering from Tommy John, and Jordan Montgomery leaving in free agency, their rotation is looking worse for wear. It probably would require a bit more from Seattle's side but packaging Woo and a prospect or two for Eqezuiel Duran at third-base could be beneficial for both organizations.
If trading with a division rival isn't your cup of tea, the Boston Red Sox are another team whose strong offense was held back by a lackluster starting rotation. Even after trading Alex Verdugo to the New York Yankees, their acquisition of Tyler O'Neill has given them one of the most crowded outfields in baseball. A deal involving Wilyer Abreu or Jarren Duran (if they're feeling really frisky) would make for interesting business.