Mariners could address Ty France injury with unexpected White Sox trade target

A slugger from the White Sox that you might not expect could be a sneaky good answer for the Mariners in lieu of the Ty France injury
Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox
Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox / Griffin Quinn/GettyImages

This Mariners offense was finally clicking. After weeks of disappointment and poking this team with a proverbial stick, they finally woke up. Now, they haven't been elite and some of their expected studs are still not producing, but they have still been a top 15 offense since May 27th.

A big contributor during that time has been Ty France. Among qualified first basemen since April 24th, France had the sixth-highest wRC+, is seventh in home runs, and eighth in runs batted in. France's offseason at Driveline looked it was really starting to pay dividends.

And yet, all at once, it came crashing down...and in the most Ty France way. On the day that Ty France set the Mariners' franchise record (and the Mariners release a hilarious graphic for it), it would end up costing the Mariners first baseman a trip to the injured list with a broken heel.

In response, the Mariners called up top slugging prospect, Tyler Locklear, and he proceeded to showcase his ability to hit the ball hard with a double to right center that short-hopped the wall at 100 mph off the bat. While this is impressive and Locklear has been a solid bat throughout the minor leagues, the Mariners will certainly explore all of their options as they look to both bridge the gap to France (if he does come back this year) as well as add more thump to this lineup.

Looking for more offensive production and at the sellers leads us to the Chicago White Sox. A team that will be all over the trade market with a few big names to flaunt, the Mariners should be frequent callers with new White Sox General Manager, Chris Getz.

The Mariners could add a big-time slugger from the White Sox in Gavin Sheets

Gavin Sheets

In this trade, the Mariners get a slugging lefty to stick at first base and hit right in the middle of this Mariners lineup. He is the perfect Dipoto trade target for many reasons. The first being his ability to control the zone; Sheets has a walk rate of almost 13% and for a big slugger, he has an impressive 18% strikeout rate. On the year he is slashing .242/.348/.429 with seven home runs and 28 RBI (which is pretty good considering how bad the White Sox have been). He has put up a 123 wRC+ that would play so well in the Mariners lineup.

The second reason he is a perfect match is that he is an older player with a decent amount of club control. The age plays a factor into this because the fact that he is 28 means that he won't really fit into Chicago's timeline for contention. He's having a breakout year so this is a perfect time for Chicago to capitalize on his value. He also fits into the Dipoto mold, as he is under club control through the 2027 season. This seems like a match made in heaven for Jerry Dipoto.

The Mariners would also address their bullpen, which has undergone a number of blows already. Andres Munoz is carrying the load, but a back issue is a sign that he needs help. Banks is in pre-arbitration this year and in 2025 before entering arb one in 2026. This gives the Mariners a very controllable left-handed reliever, again, something Dipoto loves. Banks has been hit hard (10.1 H/9) but has elite walk and strikeout stuff (10.1 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9). Mariners' fans should have confidence that he could thrive in their bullpen as a mid-leverage arm.

The package going to the White Sox is a hefty one. Aidan Smith is one of my favorite prospects and someone who might often get overlooked in a loaded Mariners farm system. A fourth-round pick that the Mariners went way over slot on to keep from a Mississippi commitment, Smith has wasted no time in rewarding the Mariners. He is a big athletic centerfielder with a size and speed combo that teams would dream about. Just 19 years old, Smith is holding his own in Single-A Modesto, hitting .257/.373/.433 with six home runs and 16 stolen bases. Smith isn't a household name among prospect fans but is a big-time prospect for the White Sox here.

The other two pieces in this deal are solid players but extremely different. Williamson is a college bat who has moved through the minors fairly quickly and was recently promoted to Double-A Arkansas. His ceiling is limited, but he is a solid bat with gap-to-gap pop and is an elite defender.

Jeter Martinez is one of the more interesting prospects in the Mariners system and hurts to part with. But given the fact that he is just 18 years old and years away from the big leagues, this is a move you make. He looks like he could eventually become one of the best pitching prospects in the Mariners system after dominating the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Complex League. In his two seasons in professional ball, he has thrown 64 innings with a 2.95 ERA. For a young arm, he has a solid 3.9 BB/9 rate and an elite 10.4 K/9. Martinez gives the White Sox a super talented, high-upside arm.

This is a big-time trade that hurts, but that's the kind of deal you have to make when you want to contend. The Mariners have shown that they can rebuild a farm and develop talent at an elite level, so making a deal like this shouldn't scare the Mariners.