The Mariners have had a respectable offseason in terms of trades — Eugenio Suarez to the Diamondbacks, Jarred Kelenic to the Braves, and Robbie Ray to the Giants — but have been quieter on making any majors splashes with free agents. They did add recent World Series winner Mitch Garver and former Orioles pitcher Austin Voth, but despite sometimes hinting at blockbuster signings, they've stopped short of actually doing anything major (though a hometown boy remains on the market).
However, if you're going to explore trades, you might as well shoot for the moon. The Mariners have now been identified as the newest pursuers in the chase for White Sox ace Dylan Cease. Is Cease to be traded or not to be traded? That is the question. Trade conversation around Cease has waxed and waned throughout the offseason, with the Braves, Dodgers, and Orioles among those in the running at various points, but talks seemed to stall completely before the Mariners reportedly entered the picture on Sunday.
Seattle's rotation was one of the best in baseball last year, headed by veteran Luis Castillo and backed up by a host of homegrown arms in Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, Bryce Miller, Bryan Woo, and so on. Many of them had even better ERA years than Cease in 2023, but he is a former Cy Young votes recipient who could add some experience, bat-missing and a history of greatness to the Mariners' rotation.
Mariners Rumors: After Dylan Cease trade talks stalled with Braves and Dodgers, Seattle enters the picture
In 2023, the Mariners' pitching staff had the third-best ERA in the major leagues with a 3.74 mark, just a point behind the Padres. Two of their starters, Gilbert and Kirby, both pitched the first complete games of their careers and each gave the team a pretty staggering 190 innings of work. Seattle has expected a lot of their young pitchers and they've performed accordingly; Gilbert pitched almost 120 innings in his rookie season (2021), Kirby pitched 130 in his (2022), and Miller pitched 131 his 2023 rookie year.
Over in Chicago, Cease stumbled a bit in 2023 after coming off of a 2.20 ERA, 184-inning year in 2022. He still gave the team 177 innings, but his ERA ballooned to 4.58. Despite this, he's still been one the hottest trade commodities of the offseason, with teams hoping (not unrealistically) that he'll bounce back after a down year. There's a lot to be excited about with the Mariners rotation as it stands, but adding a big name who's proven his excellence could also inject some life into the team.