The Mariners trade of Paul Sewald keeps looking better and better. The acquisition of INF Josh Rojas and OF Dominic Canzone has made the Mariners front office look like geniuses. Paul Sewald had been the anchor of the M's bullpen for the past three seasons, but the Mariners needed a spark both in the outfield and at second base going into the trade deadline. Canzone and Rojas have been just the players Seattle needed as they have provided depth and lengthened the Mariners lineup.
Trading from a bullpen which has been one of the best in baseball this year, the front office has appeared to have found the missing pieces this roster needed. Not only have Canzone and Rojas been big success stories on the field, they have also made quite an impact in the Mariners clubhouse. They both have expressed that they enjoy playing with their new teammates in Seattle since joining the club in August.
Also, because the Mariners traded Paul Sewald, they were able to move Andres Munoz to the closer role. Munoz has had a few bumpy outings as closer since taking over the position, but he has started to grow into the position and gain confidence with more save opportunities. Had Seattle hung on to Paul Sewald, they never would have been able to give Munoz a chance to take over the closer role.
With the depth of the Mariners bullpen, and other closing options such as Munoz, Seattle had the luxury of being able to trade Sewald to fill two huge needs at the deadline. As well as add an additional infield prospect in Ryan Bliss. Here are three reasons the Mariners trade of Paul Sewald has been beneficial for them:
Reason #1 Dominic Canzone fills an outfield hole
When Jarred Kelenic went down with an injury in July, the Mariners lost their everyday left fielder, leaving AJ Pollock to fill the void. With the acquisition of Dominic Canzone, the Mariners were then able to trade struggling veteran outfielder Pollock away. Allowing them to instead go with youngsters Dominic Canzone and Cade Marlowe to play the open outfield positions.
Canzone has had a chance to play everyday in his time with Seattle. Making big contributions at the plate and setting the table for the rest of the team. Canzone has been a huge upgrade from AJ Pollock, especially from a statistical standpoint. As a Mariner, Canzone's OPS+ is 94, by comparison that is 42 points higher than AJ Pollock's OPS+ of 52 in his time with the M's.
Although Canzone's production has not fully replaced Jarred Kelenic's OPS+ of 112, Canzone has filled in admirably for Kelenic. Canzone has been solid in both left and right field for the Mariners as well, with a fielding percentage of 1.000 (he still has yet to commit an error) and one defensive run saved. Providing comparable defensive output to Kelenic and AJ Pollock.
Reason #2 Morale Boost in the Clubhouse
The trade of Paul Sewald clearly has had an affect on the clubhouse post-trade. In the immediate aftermath of the deal Cal Raleigh said, "We can look at it two ways: we can pack it in, or we can keep going and trying... make this thing real and kind of prove them wrong." Raleigh at the time seemed to be echoing a sediment inside the Mariners locker room that players were a little uneasy about the trade at the time. Paul Sewald was a big leader inside the Mariners clubhouse and at the time it did hurt to lose a great teammate.
However, the move did seem to light a fire under a team which had underachieved for most of the season. Players in the Mariners clubhouse were not sure what to make of the Paul Sewald trade. Was the front office giving up on them or were they trying to help them?
For whatever the reason was for trading Sewald, it did appear to bring the Mariners closer together. After the trade deadline, each player in Seattle's locker room knew who they would be playing with for the rest of the season. Players no longer had to worry about someone else getting traded or moved.
Also, the Sewald trade helped strengthen clubhouse culture, as Josh Rojas and Dominic Canzone quickly assimilated to the team. The move also gave Seattle the ability to release Kolten Wong and trade AJ Pollock. Two players who had struggled all year to produce after being acquired in the off-season.
Josh Rojas fills the void at 2nd Base
Kolten Wong's struggles at second base had plagued the Mariners all year long up until the acquisition of Josh Rojas. Wong did try to make a comeback with a clutch go-ahead home run against the Twins in his last road trip with the Mariners. Unfortunately for him, it was too little too late. The Mariners would release Wong following their acquisition of Josh Rojas from Arizona.
Rojas has been a huge upgrade at second base for the Mariners. Since he was acquired, Rojas has been hitting .300, with an OPS of .816, 3 HR, 15 R, and 10 RBI in 17 games. Compared to Kolten Wong, who in his time with the Mariners hit just .165, with an OPS of .468, 2 HR, 19 RBI, and 21 R in 67 games.
With the acquisition of Rojas the Mariners have been able to effectively use Jose Caballero off the bench. Since Caballero no longer has to fill in for Wong at second base. This has been important, because the Mariners have been able to exploit Caballero's amazing versatility and speed. With Rojas now being able to play everyday as the M's second baseman.
Rojas has also been an incredible table setter at the bottom of the lineup. Reaching base frequently with a .333 OBP in the month of August. Creating opportunities for players at the top of the lineup such as JP Crawford, Julio Rodriguez, and Eugenio Suarez to drive him in.
Paul Sewald Trade could be one to remember
The Mariners move to send Paul Sewald to Arizona for INF Josh Rojas, OF Dominic Canzone, and INF prospect Ryan Bliss has already been a smashing success. Depending on how the Mariners season ends, the deal could be one for the history books.