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Yahoo MLB columnist Jeff Passan: Mariners best off trading Edwin Díaz

AL Reliever of the Year Edwin Díaz could be the Mariners' biggest trade chip. (AP)

Yahoo Sports MLB columnist Jeff Passan caused a stir Tuesday when he tweeted the Mariners are “considering a full-fledged teardown this winter.” Being that he’s a regular guest on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk, it was a natural fit for him to join the show Wednesday and further delve into the Mariners’ offseason.

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Among the topics Passan discussed were three players that immediately come to mind as trade chips for Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto: closer Edwin Díaz, starter James Paxton and shortstop Jean Segura.

Díaz, who is just 24 and won the American League Reliever of the Year award after tying the mark for second-most saves ever in a season, is the player who Passan said would fetch the biggest return. Furthermore, he believes it would be a mistake for the Mariners to hang on to Díaz if they’re not going to be competing for a postseason spot for a few years.

“We’re getting to the point now where they’re gonna have some difficult decisions to make, and those decisions include trading Edwin Díaz,” Passan said. “The notion that you are trying to hold on to a closer who is coming off of what I think all of us rational people will assume is going to be the best season of his career … for two years down the road potentially of just being OK or not winning and then targeting 2021 so you can have him for two more years before he leaves in free agency, it’s just maddening.”

It’s logical to think that Paxton would net a better return than Díaz on the trade market due to his standing as a top-of-the-rotation lefty, but Passan said their contracts tell a different story.

“I actually think Díaz has more value on the market than Paxton does because Díaz has four years of (team) control whereas Paxton has just one. That is a big difference right there. Díaz will get you a top 50 prospect and a top 100 prospect, probably. Díaz will bring some thunder back in terms of return. … Paxton I think is a guy who gets you maybe one really well-thought-of prospect, one young but well-regarded guy, and one lottery ticket.”

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As for the 29-year-old Segura, he would be harder to move simply because he has a no-trade clause as part of a contract that has four years and $61 million left on it. But if the Mariners found a suitor and could convince Segura to waive the no-trade, a trade could still result in a useful piece for Seattle, according to Passan.

“I think Segura could bring back like a top 150-type guy. It’s not a terrible contract. You wonder how he’s gonna age because he’s a speed guy, but the bat-to-ball is undeniable, and Segura’s just a really solid player.”

You can listen to the full segment with Passan in this podcast from Wednesday’s Brock and Salk show.

Have a question you want answered by Mariners insiders? Ask it here, and it may be included in a mailbag video with Shannon Drayer and James “Boy Howdy” Osborn.