The Paul Sewald trade is a polarizing topic in Mariner-centric circles mainly because the hometown team missed the playoffs by one game. Dom Canzone provided a few clutch longballs and routinely displayed inspiring hard-hit rates (42.6%), and Josh Rojas seemed to solve a multi-season issue at second base. However, our 13th-rated prospect, Ryan Bliss, will play a big part in determining the success of the trade.
At 5'6", don't mistake Bliss for your slap-happy middle infielder. He provides a unique power and speed combination from a premium position. 2023 was his breakout campaign, as he was one of three minor leaguers with 20 homers (23) and 50 steals (55). His top tools are running and fielding (55), with his hit tool not far behind (50).
After the trade, Bliss took a few weeks to find his footing with the Mariners' organization. When he did, it was smooth sailing for the 23-year-old, as he slashed .256/.351/.822 for the Tacoma Rainiers. He quickly adapted to the "dominate the zone" philosophy, walking 29 times in 47 games. That last stat will be the key to Bliss' ascension from utility man to the everyday starter. If he can continue to show patience at the plate and launch extra-base hits on balls in the zone, the sky is the limit.
Look for the dynamic dynamo to battle Jose Caballero and Sam Haggerty for a big league roster spot in 2024. If he breaks camp in the spring, the second base riddle could be solved for the next decade.