We've written extensively about the Mariners' inability to bring free agent position players to Seattle. That is why President of Baseball Operations, Jerry Dipoto and General Manager, Justin Hollander continue to label the organization as a draft, develop, and trade type. The front office traded for Eugenio Suarez, Carlos Santana, Jesse Winker, Abraham Toro, Kolten Wong, and Teoscar Hernandez in the past two years. According to MLB insider, Ken Rosenthal the Mariners and Royals have chatted recently with talks centering on a pitching for offense deal. It sure fits the narrative, right?
Dipoto expressed the desire to keep the team's pitching intact this offseason, but with a smaller budget than expected he might be forced to trade from a position of strength. If so, you'd think Luis Castillo and George Kirby are untouchable. Logan Gilbert, who's name was floated in media circles at the trade deadline, isn't untouchable, but the package would be immense due to the value of cost controlled arms of his caliber. Who does that leave?
Bryce Miller Bryan Woo, and Emerson Hancock have various levels of value as the latter two hurlers had injury concerns. Miller probably has the most value because he is built up and could plug and play in a rotation without an innings cap. So, say Miller is the one the Royals want to beef up an uneven rotation. The Mariners could target a package centered around MJ Melendez.
Melendez is listed as a catcher and outfielder, but honestly he's a designated hitter on this team. Dipoto made a comment at the General Manager's meetings last month about acquiring a DH who just bangs. Well, if you look at Melendez' Baseball Savant page it's littered with red in all the right places.
The 25-year-old walks above the league average rate, which is important to the Mariners as they reimagine their lineup this offseason. However, he did run a 28.2% strikeout rate, but if you are looking to add a presence in the middle of the lineup Melendez could be that guy especially if you want a strong-side platoon with that right handed bat Dipoto will end up signing this offseason.
If Dipoto and Hollander decide to trade one of their cost controlled starters (Hancock, Miller or Woo) we are probably looking at the following package:
Kansas City receives Emerson Hancock and Jonaton Clase, Seatte receives MJ Melendez, and RHP Chandler Champlain.
In this deal, the Royals get a mid-rotation starter to pair with breakout sensation Cole Ragans. While the Mariners get a cost-controlled big bat (thru 2028) and an intriguing starter with a high-spin fastball in Champlain. I'd love for Dipoto and Hollander to find a way to include flame-throwing reliever Carlos Hernandez in this deal, but that probably means we'd have to include Miller, and I'm just not ready to let the lanky Texan walk.
Now that Shohei Ohtani is in Dodger blue the market should thaw, which means refreshing the X feed a hundred times of day and waiting for the Mariners' front office, specifically Dipoto to work his magic.I for one wouldn't be surprised if the Royals and Mariners linked up on a transaction this offseason.