The Mariners have never been one to sign big free agents. Notice that I made it plural, as they have made one big splash when they signed Robinson Cano. I've long defended that signing for how he did on the Mariners and what they got in return in the trade, but that's a separate conversation. Robbie Ray came here, but in the grand scope of things, that was the price for a strong #2 pitcher, not an Ace.
That's what we are looking for. An ace or a superstar. Is that something that the Mariners could go out and acquire? Better yet, would they even do it? That's why I turn to looking at Juan Soto on the Padres. The Padres were similar, in a way, to the Mariners in 2023. Lofty expectations and a "failure" of a season, even though the Mariners were in the picture a lot longer than the Padres were.
With a hefty tax bill incoming and free agency looming for Soto after the 2024 season, could the Padres actually look to trade him away so soon after trading for him? Remember, it wasn't that long ago that they swing a deal to acquire Soto.
August 2nd, 2022
Padres receive - OF Juan Soto, 1B Josh Bell
Nationals receive - LHP McKenzie Gore, SS CJ Abrams, OF Robert Hassell III, OF James Wood, RHP Jarlin Susana, 1B Luke Voit
That's... well, that's a lot to give up in order to acquire Soto. However, they did it in the middle of a playoff race to try and push their team over the top while knowing that they would have 2.5 years of control on Soto. Things are a bit different now, as it's just a single season left for Soto as he heads to his final year of arbitration. He's set to make somewhere around $33M as well, so he isn't going to be coming at a cheap number. Add in that he is looking for a massive extension, and you are faced with some tough questions about his market value.
We did talk about how Soto could be one of the targets that the Mariners go after this offseason, but let's get more specific and go through a couple of trades that the Mariners could make, looking not just at what it would take to pry Soto away from the Nationals, but at the more important piece of whether or not Seattle would actually pull the trigger in order to get him for that price.