Mariners Trade Proposal: What it would take to get Ian Happ from the Cubs

The Cubs could be in a position to sell at the deadline if they don't turn it around in July. Here's what it could take for the Mariners to get OF Ian Happ
Seattle Mariners v Chicago Cubs
Seattle Mariners v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

With the expanded Wild Card coming into play a couple of years ago, it has made the trade deadline harder than ever to figure out. Even with how many teams are in striking distance this year, in those years past there would be more of them that would take advantage of the market and send off pieces to recoup and build for the future. In 2024? Sitting 5 games back of multiple playoff spots can be too hard for teams to pass up. Which is where the Chicago Cubs are floating around at.

They're 6.5 games back of WC2 and 5.5 games back of WC3. Is that far enough to start the selling process? It's a worthy question, and one worth contemplating amidst the crowded NL race. There are six other teams between them and the WC3 spot, so it's not just the games that they have to make up, but the fact that they have to do it at a better rate than every one of those teams in front of them.

We've all heard rumors that Cody Bellinger could be someone that the Cubs look to move, getting their signing off him off the books to a team that is looking for him to recapture the glory that he had in the not-too-distant past. (Remember when there was a .400BA watch on Bellinger?!) It's a different outfielder that I want to take a look at, and one that the Mariners could grab not just as a rental, but to slot in for the next few years

Ian Happ could be the answer to the Mariners outfield woes

Would the Cubs be interested in dealing Ian Happ? I'm not sure, but I could see it. Both he and Seiya Suzuki have about the same size contract left, with Happ sitting on a 2YR/$40M and Suzuki on a 2YR/$38M. Then there is Bellinger with his double player opt-out with 2YR/$55M left. They have a great outfield for the next 2.5 years, but they could trade away Suzuki and Happ if they think Bellinger will leave, and completely rebuild and retool their team.

What would it take to get Happ? I think they could offer something like this, especially if they picked up his entire salary (which is another conversation all on its own when talking about Mariners ownership).

Ian Happ Trade

2YR/$40M isn't cheap, but it's not a massive bargain or anything either. Happ has put up 7.2 WAR (4.2 and 3.0) the last two seasons, and is in on pace for another season of around a 4.0 WAR. Every single season he has been in baseball, since 2017, he has put up an OPS+ of better than 100, with 103 as his worst mark. He's been below 113 just twice, and has a career mark of 114. To get a consistent bat like that in the lineup would be massive, even just for reliabilities sake.

In trading away Clase, you give the Cubs someone who is right at the cusp of being ready for the bigs. We saw him a bit in Seattle this year, and at only 22, he's still quite young for being so close. If they end up losing one or more outfielders from that group that could all be gone after 2026, he's a long-term replacement who we all know could be quite the asset if he can get on-base enough.

With Hancock, his value has gone up a bit this year, and a change of scenery could do him good. He's been lights out in Tacoma this season, throwing 38.1 innings with an ERA of just 1.64.

If this deal is on the table for the Mariners, I think they need to take it instantly. Yes, you're giving up a top ten prospect in Clase and a pitcher with a massive range between his floor and ceiling, but this solves a massive need for the Mariners in Right Field and does so through the end of 2026. If this it what it takes, let's get Ian Happ in a Mariners uniform.