During the offseason many players are thrown around in trade proposals and discussed as being possible fits for other teams. The Seattle Mariners have many players that other teams would love to get their hands on, and right-handed starting pitcher Logan Gilbert is certainly among them. There was an interesting trade proposal with the Pittsburgh Pirates to look at involving the workhorse starting pitcher.
The trade proposal was the Mariners trade Logan Gilbert to the Pirates for second base prospect Termarr Johnson, right-handed pitching prospect Jared Jones, rookie infielder Jared Triolo, and young big league infielder Liover Peguero.
My thought this offseason has been that Seattle should not trade Logan Gilbert whatsoever. There would be obvious exceptions because no player is truly untouchable, but barring a scenario where the Mariners would be given a great opportunity to get significantly better by trading Gilbert, I believe the club should hold onto him. This trade proposal is not that scenario where the Mariners get a lot better, but it is not a laughable return. So who are these players coming from the Pirates side?
The headliner that fans might recognize in this proposed deal is Termarr Johnson. He was the fourth overall pick out of high school by the Pirates. MLB Pipeline has him ranked as the Pirates second best prospect behind Paul Skenes and has him as the 22nd-best prospect in baseball. He was drafted as a second baseman who has the potential to be a plus hitter someday. The hope was and still is that he can be a plus hitter for average and be average or better in the power department.
That potential has yet to shine through in the minor leagues, however. After having a very short first professional season after being drafted in 2022, the lefty-swinging second baseman played 75 games at A ball and then played 30 games at Advanced A ball. His numbers were similar at both levels and combined he hit .244/.422/.438 with 12 doubles and 18 home runs. He also walked 21.9% of the time and struck out at a 26% clip.
Those numbers are not very impressive for a prospect who is supposed to be a plus hitter. Yes, he did walk a lot and had a high on-base percentage, but pitchers are also going to be more careful with the fourth overall pick at the plate. I would rather have Cole Young who the Mariners drafted 17 picks after Johnson in the same 2022 draft class. Young is almost a year older but he hit .277/.399/.449 with 34 doubles and 11 in nearly 150 more plate appearances.
Cole Young is also still playing shortstop in the minors while Termarr Johnson is already playing almost exclusively second base. Even though I would rather have Young, Johnson is still a nice prospect who still has good upside and both probably end up at second base.
The next prospect in the trade proposal is Pittsburgh's third-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Jared Jones. He was an early second-round pick in 2020 and has reached Triple-A. He pitched well in Double-A last year before getting a promotion to the highest level of the minors where he was good but not great. He is a good prospect, but it is pretty unlikely that he will turn into the pitcher that Logan Gilbert is.
The ultimate hope would be that Jones turns into the type of pitcher that Gilbert is, but there is risk in trading for someone who isn't as good of a prospect he was. The next two players mocked to Seattle in this deal have already made their big league debuts but haven't spent a ton of time in the majors yet. Those two are right-handed hitting infielders Jared Triolo and Liover Peguero.
Jared Triolo is a third baseman by trade but has had to learn a little second base and first base because the Pirates have Ke'Byran Hayes at third base who has already won a Gold Glove award and signed a long term extension. Triolo has played all four spots on the infield in his pro career but has spent the most time at third base. Since he is blocked by Hayes at third and isn't a natural middle infielder he would make sense as a player the Pirates would like to trade.
The Mariners could be interested in Triolo because he could play third base and only cost them the league minimum, cheaper than the current projected third baseman Luis Urias. Triolo also hit last year in his rookie season. He hit .298/.388/.398 with nine doubles and three home runs last year. That is very impressive for the former second round pick. He also hit .299/.418/.453 in the minor leagues last year.
Liover Peguero is a former International Free Agent signing who made it to the big leagues for a cup of coffee at the end of last season. Then he played a handful of games at Triple-A before getting sent back up to the big leagues where he was a part time player in 2023. Peguero can play both middle infield spots and is very fast. He was in the 95th percentile last year for sprint speed according to Baseball Savant.
While Triolo has been impressive offensively for the Pirates at just 25 years old, the soon-to-be 23-year-old Peguero has not been as impressive at the plate. He has hit .237/.280/.374 in just over 200 career plate appearances, a nearly identical sample size to Triolo. I think Peguero is just a better prospect version of current Mariners second base prospect Ryan Bliss.
Looking at all four of these players from Pittsburgh's organization, they are all intriguing in their own ways and I would be happy if the Mariners acquired any one of them. However, trading four more years of Logan Gilbert for this package when the Mariners are trying to compete for a playoff spot is just not enough. If Gilbert had two years left of club control and the Mariners were starting a rebuild like they were in 2019, then this trade would make sense, but now it does not.
Logan Gilbert is a banner player for Mariners President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto. He was drafted in the first round and developed into a plus big league starting pitcher who has been an absolute workhorse since the day he was called up. With four years of club control left he is worth a ton and is worth at least a quality All Star level big leaguer, something those four Pirates players are not. The trade proposal isn't terrible, but it isn't enough for four prime years of an elite starting pitcher.