As i write this, we are about 24 hours away from the MLB Trade deadline. The actual deadline is August 1st at 3pm PST. While there have been rumors and rumblings, the Mariners have only really made one trade so far (Trent Thornton). I still do expect Jerry and co. to be busy between now and the deadline, and below I will list the likely canidates that could be moved.
1. Teoscar Hernandez
Teo seems like the easy choice here, and for the most part, he is. His power is well known, and so is his plate discipline. He leads the Majors in strikeouts (141), and he simply refuses to take a walk (25). He has a career 29.7% strikeout percentage, while walking just 5.7% of his at bats. This season, however, his K percentage is up to 32%, and his walk percentage is down to 5.7%. Just too inconsistant.
Hernandez is also in a contract year. While the Mariners could choose to use a "Qualifying Offer" on him, (at about $20,000,000), They may choose to move on from his inconsistant bat. And if that is what the Mariners want to do, it maybe time to get something for him now. Teo isnt signing a mega deal that will get the Mariners a high comp pick in the draft, so the time to move on from Teo is now.
2. Paul Sewald
Paul Sewald's name has been rumored to be on the trade block for a while now, and we have written about the possibility of trading him before. We all love Paul, and His breakout into a top reliever is remarkable. But the fact of the matter is, the relief market is too strong. Teams are paying out the wazoo for high leverage relievers. But the fact is, none of the relievers who have been traded are as good as Paul Sewald.
The return Sewald would bring could be huge for the Mariners. Paul is under club control through 2024, and is having a tremendous year. Those two points, along with the going rate for high end relief pitching, could be all of the reasons needed to make this move. It maybe unpopular with the fans and even the players, but it could be necessary to get the right bat for the lineup.
3. Ty France
I am not a fan of moving Ty France. I wanted to say that first, and foremost. But the reality is, Ty is massivly underperforming this year. His 96 WRC+ is a career low, and his power has all but gone away. He has not hit a home run since June 22 in New York, and that is just bananas. While he is not known as a typical power hitter, he is knows as a "good" hitter. But that is just not the case this year. He currently is having career lows in batting average, on base percentage, slugging, OPS and OPS+. His strikeout rate is up, but still well below league average.
All of that to say, Ty does not have a ton of trade value. The Mariners would be selling low on a plyer we all know can be great. He is not a free agent until after the 2025 season. Sure, he is having a down season, and that is super frustrating. But the only logical replacement is Mike Ford. Can you really count on Mike Ford to be your firstbaseman full time? Yes, Ford is having a breakout type year, but he is still striking out in 35.3% of his at-bats. That is nearly 13% above league average. I hope that Ty France stays, but he still seems like a likely canidate to be traded.
4. One of Logan Gilbert, Bryce Miller or Bryan Woo
Moving on from Logan Gilbert would be unpopular, and i totally get that. The Mariners rotation, as a whole, has been outstanding. And they may feel they need to move a piece from their strength to get someone to help the offense, and I think that is the right move. Now, the piece(s) coming back for wither Gilbert, Miller or Woo would be significant should the Mariners decide to do this.
The Los Angeles Angels traded their #2 and #3 prospects for Lucas Giolito, a rental. If that is the going rate for a good starting pitcher who only has a few months of club control left, what would the return be for one or even two of Gilbert/Miller/Woo? It would be huge. The Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles, both in first place in their divisions, are both desperatley in need of starting pitching, and both have the frontline prospects to get a deal done. I also look at the Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Braves, Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers and the Diamonsbacks as potential suitors.
Now, I hope that I am wrong on some of these, and the Mariners become buyers. They are only 5.5 games behind the first place Texas Rangers, and 4.5 back in the Wild Card hunt. But I expect some form of a hybrid buying and selling to occur. Either way, this next 24 hours will be exciting for Mariners fans. And as always, Go Mariners!