Late last month, Bleacher Report posted an article titled: "Wild MLB Trade Ideas We'd love to see come true in the 2023-24 offseason". In that article, you can find quite a few trades involving the likes of Juan Soto, Corbin Burnes, Mike Trout, and others. No, the article author Joel Reuter did not have any of those names coming to Seattle. As fun as it would be to see Mike Trout as a Mariner, today we are going to talk about the proposed trade between the Seattle Mariners and the St. Louis Cardinals.
In Joel Reuter's article, he proposed the Mariners send RHP Bryce Miller to the Cardinals for INF Nolan Gorman.
Now, from a Mariner Fan's perspective, this trade seems like a slight overpay for the Mariners. Bryce Miller had a tremendous rookie season for the Mariners in 2023, where he jumped from AA Arkansas straight to the Majors. He posted an 8-7 record, with a 4.32 ERA (3.98 FIP) in just 131.1 innings. He also had an 8.2 K/9, along with only walking 1.8 batters per 9 innings.
Miller had about as good of a season as one could hope for a player making the jump from AA to the Majors. So, why would the Mariners even consider trading him? After all, he is just 25 years old and under club control until 2030. Well, The Mariners have a surplus in the starting pitching department. Luis Castillo, George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, and Bryan Woo are already in the stable, along with Miller. Plus, Robbie Ray will be back sometime around July, and Marco Gonzales did not fall off the face of the planet.
If the Mariners were to trade for a position player with any value, they are going to have to give up talent to get talent. Bryce Miller would fetch quite the player if they were to trade him. Between the young players at the Major League level and the talent in the farm system, the Mariners have the talent to trade for just about anybody.
From the Cardinals perspective, they need pitching in the worst way. The Cardinals finished 2023 with a 71-91 record, which is bad when you consider the team had World Series aspirations in the offseason. They had the 7th worst team ERA (4.79) and an ERA+ of 90 (the MLB average was 101). They have some prospects coming up that can help in 2024. Tink Hence, Takoah Roby, and Gordon Graceffo were all in AA or higher in 2023, and all 3 of those guys are in the top 6 in the Cardinals prospect ranking.
Nolan Gorman had a great rookie season in 2023. He hit .236/.328/.428/.805 with a OPS+ of 117. He also hit 27 Home Runs and drove in 76. He spent some time on the Injured list, with back, foot, and hamstring injuries. He also struck out 31% of the time in 2023, so he would fit right in with the Seattle Mariners. While that is a frustrating part of his game, he also plays a good second base. He is a very solid player, and he probably is a future all-star.
Our friends over at Redbird Rants, the Fansided St. Louis Cardinals page, wrote about this hypothetical trade as well. You can read that article here. They were against this deal because they felt that Miller was not enough to land Gorman. In fact, they did not want to trade Gorman at all. I get where they are coming from, but the Cardinals could not pitch their way out of a wet paper bag last season.
Personally, I would not make this trade a straight-up 1 for 1. Obviously, the Mariners would not get Gorman and a Paul Goldschmidt, Lars Nootbaar, or Ryan Helsley. But maybe you can make this a blockbuster-type deal and maybe land both Goldschmidt and Gorman. The price would be steep, but the Mariners are just a few key pieces away from contending for a World Series, and the Cardinals could hold those keys.