- Because this is the year to make a strong move forward. The first half could have collapsed at various times, but fortunately it didn’t. But the second half can’t rely on good fortune alone.
- Because the A’s added two very good pitchers to give themselves a very good playoff rotation. Seattle could add a great pitcher to give themselves a great playoff rotation.
- Because the Mariners very much need an outfielder who can contribute from the right side of the plate. There aren’t a lot of choices, but Desmond Jennings fits the bill.
- Because the Mariners have a “maldistribution” of resources. It doesn’t do them any good to have a multitude of right-handed relievers or emerging shortstops. They need to convert their surpluses into resources that plug their deficits.
The first three are pretty self-explanatory, but the fourth requires some discussion:
Roenis Elias has been a life-saver, and he’s very good. But do you trust him in your playoff rotation? Is he better than Taijuan Walker and James Paxton? Walker is good enough that I would protect him from even a blockbuster deal. But not Elias.
The bullpen was already first-rate. But Brandon Maurer “finding” his high-90s stuff with effective secondary pitches provides even more surplus.
But not just that. There are three pitchers at Tacoma who are probably just as good as the guys in the majors: Stephen Pryor (when healthy), Carson Smith, and Stephen Kohlscheen.
Too many relievers to ever use at one time.
Emerging Middle Infielders
Second base is, obviously, not going to be vacant for a long time. And maybe not shortstop either. But here’s Nick Franklin with excellent power from the left side, and no place to show it (.190 Tacoma ISO). And Chris Taylor has hit better than anyone expected. Plus 20-year-old Ketel Marte has learned to hit some, and is known as a glove wizard. And farther down there are yet more interesting middle-infield types.
Taylor will probably latch on with the Big Club as a RH-hitting alternative to the lefty-dominated infield, but there won’t be room for the others.
Rising RH hitters
D.J. Peterson leads the pack, but, even with splashy Jabari Blash on suspension, there are a host of others coming up. Austin Wilson and Tyler O’Neill are already making a mark, and teenagers Alex Jackson and Gareth Morgan could move up fast (particularly Jackson). That means guys like Patrick Kivlehan, Jabari Henry, Dan Paolini and Gabriel Guerrero are going to get squeezed down the pecking order.
If one of them can be used to make a deal, then let’s do it.
Abe Almonte got Penciled in during April, before losing the job to James Jones. But it just as easily could have been Xavier Avery. And not that long ago, Leon Landry was considered better than any of them.
Almonte is surplus at this point, and his strong June may give him some trade value.