Leveraging the market with DeSclafani

With starting pitching deals in the official bananas zone, the Mariners could continue to augment the offense by shipping the newly-acquired righty out the door.
San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals
San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals / Rob Carr/GettyImages

Frankie Montas, injured for nearly all of 2023, landed a $14M deal with a 2025 mutual option for another $20M from the Cincinnati Reds. Lucas Giolito, who struggled with three different teams last year, signed a two-year pact for $37M in Boston. Even oft-injured James Paxton is worth nearly $10M on the open market. So, when Jerry Dipoto put on his transact hat and brokered a deal with San Francisco to bring Mitch Haniger home and acquire some starting pitching depth in Anthony DeSclafani it got me thinking. Could the 33-year-old righthander's time in Seattle be shortlived?

STEAMER projects DeSclafani to make 26 starts this upcoming season, amounting to 148 innings and 1.4 WAR. He won't wow you with stuff, but he is your typical backend starter who will take the ball every fifth day and hurl an effective 5-6 innings. Who wouldn't want a chance at solidifying the #5 spot in their rotation? Well, I'll tell you who would: the Minnesota Twins, a team that lost Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda this offseason, is banking on a bounce back from Joe Ryan and a step forward from Louie Varland.

There's been a ton of talk about the Mariners and Twins matching up for a Max Kepler trade, but after acquiring Luke Raley from Tampa and Haniger, the outfield looks all set (for now). However, the Twins have some other interesting pieces that might be on the market due to, catch me if you've heard this before, a regional sports network debacle in Minnesota. If Dipoto wants to solidify the second base spot with an everyday player, how about DeSclafani, Cade Marlowe, and Alberto Rodriguez for Jorge Polanco? You'd probably have to send about $2M in cash to match the salaries, but acquiring another two-win player this offseason is the best way to raise the team's floor.

The trickle-down effect on the roster would be that acquiring Polanco creates a platoon at third base between Josh Rojas and Luis Urias, which has always been the best scenario for the Mariners.

While I'd love for this trade to come to fruition, DeSclafani is here to stay, mainly due to the depth lost in trading Marco Gonzales and Robbie Ray this afternoon. Plus, Bryan Woo will be on an inning limit, making the newly acquired DeSclafani valuable piece for Dipoto as he continues to rework the roster.