Could the Mariners take the fast 'Lane' to Wild Card?

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
Washington Nationals v New York Mets / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

We have one more day before the Major League Baseball trade deadline. The Angels continue to add around superstar Shohei Ohtani striking a deal with the Colorado Rockies for slugging first baseman C.J. Cron and outfielder Randal Grichuk. The Rangers infused their ailing rotation with Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery. Even the Astros added to their bullpen by grabbing Kendall Graveman. Meanwhile, the Mariner’s “Trader Jerry” hasn’t lived up to his nickname. Some headlines over the weekend suggested Dipoto might be leaning toward selling by this deadline.

However, this team just won its third series in a row and has the second-best record in the AL for July at 17-9. They are currently 5.5 out of the division-leading Rangers and 4.5 out of the second wild card. There could be a strong case for this team buying in the next 24 hours. 

Most of the impact rental bats are either already moved or pulled off the market (Bellinger, Ohtani). But Dipoto never really wants to trade for impending free agents. He’s said numerous times that acquiring players with control (at least a season) is the preference. One player who fits the model is Washington Nationals’ outfielder Lane Thomas. 

Thomas is having a tremendous season (.285/.333/.794) atop the Nationals’ lineup. He’s a 20/20 threat with solid bat-to-ball skills, something this team needs for the stretch run. Additionally, acquiring Thomas would allow Scott Servais to move Teoscar Hernandez to the designated hitter spot creating an elite outfield of Cade Marlowe, Julio Rodriguez, and the 27-year-old Thomas. 

If the Mariners acquired Thomas, they’d have two more arbitration seasons. That should make Nationals’ General Manager Mike Rizzo’s price steep. Could a package centered around Cole Young and Prelander Berroa get the job done? If so, I’d pull the trigger yesterday because players like Lane Thomas don’t grow on trees and aren’t available in the 2024 free-agent market.