Rumors have ben flying all around Twitter... i mean "X"... about what the Mariners could do at the deadline. They have already traded for TrentThornton, who comes over from the Toronto Blue Jays. While Thornton could be a nice fit, that is not the kind of blockbuster trade Mariners fans are hoping for come August 1st at 3PM PST. And while we are all hoping the Mariners are buyers, we could be in store for a 2021-type Trade Deadline.
Back in 2021, the Mariners were sniffing around at a playoff chance. With a record of 55-46, and the day after coming back to beat the Astros from a 7-0 deficit, the Mariners traded their closer to the rival Houston Astros. Relievers Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero were sent to the Astros for infielder Abraham Toro and reliever Joe Smith. The trade blindsided Mariners fans and players alike, and the team ended up just short of making the playoffs.
Could the same thing happen in 2023? MLB Trade Rumors posted that the Mariners are listening to calls on Sewald. The headline also reads that the Mariners could deal from the rotation, an idea that we here at Sodo Mojo have written about earlier this month (Logan Gilbert to STL and BAL). But for now, we are going to focus on Paul Sewald.
In his 2 and a half seasons as a Mariner, Paul has logged 170.1 innings, with an outstanding 2.90 ERA. He has struck out 35% of all batters he has faced as a Mariner, while only walking 8.1% of batters. He has saved 51 games, 20 of those coming this season. He still has the chance to be traded, even with those numbers.
New York Post writer Joel Sherman tweeted that he has heard that the Mariners are open to taking offers on Paul Sewald, and think that the team has a deep enough bullpen to cover the loss of Sewald. Should the team trade Sewald, you would have to assume Andres Munoz slides into the closer position. He has been good this year, boasting a 2.82 ERA over 22.1 innings.
But why would the Mariners trade their closer? Because of the potential return. This trade deadline seems to have pointed to big returns for high leverage relievers. The Astros just got Kendall Graveman back from the Chicago White Sox for catching prospect Korey Lee. The Mets sent David Robertson to the Marlins for a pair of prospects who have been dominating at the complex league.
So who could the Mariners get for Paul Sewald? I think there are a wide range of outcomes. Paul is under club control until the end of next season, and has been having a much better season than Kendall Graveman. He is also much younger than David Robertson, who will be a free agent after this season. I would expect the Mariners to either land a significant piece, who contributes either this year or the next, or they won't move Paul at all.