Could Mariners strike up another deal with the Giants for a third baseman?

After signing Matt Chapman to a three-year deal, the Giants have some excess manpower in the hot corner, a perfect trade match for the Mariners.

Cleveland Guardians v San Francisco Giants
Cleveland Guardians v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

It seemed like the Boras Four would remain unsigned for the entirety of the offseason. Despite being some of the most enticing free agent options on the market, negotiations dragged on for Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, Blake Snell, and Jordan Montgomery. While the pitchers are yet to sign as of the writing of this article, Bellinger and Chapman have found homes with the Cubs and Giants specifically.

With Chapman undoubtedly seizing the starting spot at third base, J.D. Davis will be pushed to the bench and may split time between both corners of the infield. That's quite an underwhelming amount of responsibility for a player who just won an arbitration deal that set his salary at $6.9 million. Money aside, his intrinsic qualities as a player make him worth far more than a depth piece and could, at the very least, make him a highly sought-after trade target.

After four productive years with the Mets, he spent a season and a half with the Giants, slashing .251/.333/.431 over his 704 plate appearances with the team. A hitter with top-quartile exit velocity and a great hard-hit rate, he's also a fielder with excellent range, posting six outs above average last year. However, he's not perfect and struggled immensely with whiffs and strikeouts in 2023, landing in the bottom quartile for both stats and notably striking out at a rate of 27.8%.

The Mariners should trade for JD Davis to fill third base

So why should the Mariners pursue him in a trade? First, Seattle has been incredibly proactive this offseason, making key upgrades at DH (Mitch Garver), 2B (Jorge Polanco), and the outfield (Mitch Haniger and Luke Raley). While none of these players were marquee free agents, their strategy seems to rely on well-rounded depth rather than a handful of elite superstars.

Second, the situation at third base remains up in the air with the team seemingly planning to split time between Josh Rojas and Luis Urias. Neither one of these are particularly alluring options given their offensive struggles in 2023 and Urias battling injury, so Davis could be the one to stabilize the position.

Furthermore, Davis was reported as being unaware of the Chapman signing until it was publicly announced but stated that he would be willing to do whatever the team needs. This may serve as a potential signal that the Giants are not intending to split time between the two.

The question then becomes, what can Seattle offer the Giants? Last year, San Francisco had close to the worst offense in baseball. While they were 25th in team OPS for the whole season, they were dead last with a .651 OPS after the all-star break. Signing Matt Chapman, Jorge Soler, Jung Hoo Lee, and Pablo Sandoval (just kidding) have all been moves to rectify this issue but it's yet to be seen how effective it will be. Their pitching is fine and given the move to sign a still-recovering Robbie Ray, it doesn't seem like there are too many concerns about the state of the rotation.

One area in which the Giants could afford to improve is the quality of their farm system. It was ranked the 23rd best farm system in baseball by the Athletic and they only have two Top 100 prospects in Carson Whisenhunt and Bryce Eldridge (Kyle Harrison and Marco Luciano have already seen major league action so not sure if they're still considered true "prospects").

On the other hand, Seattle is rich with talent at the minor league level. Most notably, five out of their top ten prospects are listed as shortstops. The Giants have a few top shortstop prospects like Walker Martin and Maui Ahuna but they're both in Rookie ball with ETAs of 2027 and 2026 respectively. An interesting trade might involve Ryan Bliss, who is the Mariners' #12 ranked prospect with an ETA of 2024, in exchange for Davis and some cash considerations to help with the increased payroll.

Ryan Bliss is a great prospect but with the existing middle infield tandem of J.P. Crawford and Jorge Polanco and #1 ranked prospect Cole Young just a few years out from his expected debut in 2025, a move to the Bay Area might be beneficial for all parties involved. Ultimately, the front offices will have to decide the details and actual pieces of a potential deal but in the meantime, J.D. Davis will remain a "what if" for this burgeoning Seattle squad.