Mariners need another starting pitcher, so what kind should they target via trade?
After Monday’s exciting and seemingly improbable comeback 11-8 win over the Houston Astros, the Mariners nine games over .500 and are just one game back in the American League Wild Card Race.
Seattle’s surge comes at a very interesting time as the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline is this Friday. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto made it clear prior to the start of this current homestand – which Seattle is 4-1 on – that he was open to adding pieces, but he’s prefer players under contract beyond 2021. Dipoto also made it clear that he was looking at second base, right-handed hitting and starting pitching.
That still appears to be the case, and the Mariners were reportedly in on Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier, who was traded to the San Diego Padres last week. In recent days, the Mariners have been linked to Kansas City Royals star Whit Merrifield and on Tuesday, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported that Seattle could be a team to watch when it comes to Washington Nationals All-Star shortstop Trea Turner, who also has experience playing second base and outfield.
The #Mariners are one potential suitor for Trea Turner. They have high-end prospects to interest the #Nats and are looking at infielders controllable beyond this season (e.g., Whit Merrifield). The Mariners have been happy with J.P. Crawford, and Turner can move around diamond.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 27, 2021
MLB.com’s Daniel Kramer also reported that when it comes to pitching, the Mariners are open to “rentals” who are on the last year of their contract.
The Mariners started the year with a lot of starting pitching depth, but injuries to James Paxton, Justus Sheffield, Justin Dunn, Nick Margevicius and Ljay Newsome have cut into that depth and now, the Mariners have just four healthy starters in Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Chris Flexen and rookie Logan Gilbert.
In Monday’s comeback win, Darren McCaughan made his first MLB start after making his debut last week in Colorado against the Rockies. In that first outing, McCaughan allowed one run in five innings. But on Monday, the Astros’ dangerous lineup exploded for six runs in the first inning and scored seven off McCaughan in four innings.
“As the trade deadline gets closer, it’s very clear after last night that they need another starting pitcher,” Paul Gallant of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant said on Tuesday. “If anything else, there are some rumors per Jon Morosi this morning that maybe Trea Turner from Washington – who is selling everyone it seems like – and it seems like he is somebody that might be on the minds of the Seattle Mariners, but starting pitcher is something I think they need to look at.”
Both O’Neil and Gallant are fans of Colorado Rockies All-Star starter German Márquez, and discussed him in late June as an option for the Mariners at the deadline, though the Rockies publicly have said that they plan on keeping Márquez, who’s 26 years old and under club control through 2024.
So who are some of the other names?
“Kyle Gibson from Texas, Braves lefty Drew Smyly … Michael Pineda from the Twins is apparently available, Max Scherzer – another Washington National – and Madison Bumgarner (of Arizona),” Gallant said. “Those are some of the names that I’ve at the very least seen linked to trade rumors.”
While the Mariners may reportedly be open to trading for a starting pitcher on an expiring deal, Danny O’Neil doesn’t think that’s the direction the team should go at the trade deadline.
“The guys that I’m not interested in are the rentals. The guys that I’m not interested in are Danny Duffy from the Royals, who’s going to be a free agent after this year. That’s not the route to go,” O’Neil said. “Kyle Gibson is a very interesting possibility, but I think he’s going to be fairly highly coveted. Márquez, I think, is the best out of all of them.”
And there’s one pitcher in particular that Gallant reference who O’Neil wants the Mariners to avoid, even if he’s under contract through 2024.
“Stay the heck away from a guy like Madison Bumgarner. He’s got so much money that’s owed to him down the road. You do not want to take on a declining pitcher to help in this run,” he said. “But (a guy like) Kyle Gibson would be very interesting.”
Gibson, 33, is under contract through the end of 2022 and made his first All-Star team this year. He is 6-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 113 innings for the Rangers this season.
Listen to the discussion at this link or in the player below.