Drayer: What role could depth of Mariners’ farm system play at MLB trade deadline?

Jul 29, 2021, 10:18 AM | Updated: 1:17 pm
Mariners Jerry Dipoto...
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has been active ahead of Friday's trade deadline. (Getty)

An all-out frenzy is expected as the 1 p.m. Friday MLB trade deadline approaches, and the Mariners are expected to be participants.

M’s Takeaways: Trade addition Abraham Toro’s strong first impression

General manager Jerry Dipoto has said to expect a “succession of moves that I think will result in the present team looking deeper and the future team looking deeper.” Mariners manager Scott Servais has indicated over the past few days that he expects to see movement with the big league roster.

While there are no guarantees that deals can get pushed across the finish line, at this point it would be a surprise if we didn’t see at least one more deal before the deadline. Early Thursday morning came news of an intriguing possibility.

First reaction to the tweet from MLB Network’s Jon Morosi is a shudder. But after reading the thought of trading one of the Mariners’ top pitching prospects for a not-quite rental in 27-year-old Twins starter José Berríos, who is under club control only through the 2022 season, the next thought after a deep breath is “good.” It doesn’t appear they are just waiting for George Kirby, who has pitched 38.2 innings this season, and Emerson Hancock (27 innings) to be their pitching answers moving forward. For those who have been thinking these players would arrive, or even be of impact, in ’22, please take a look at those numbers again. Their futures are bright, but a bridge to these young players is needed.

Could we see Dipoto use one of those players to build the bridge to the other? Would he trade Kirby or Hancock? When it comes to a rental player, he has been clear.

“What I don’t think makes a great deal of sense is forfeiting any real significant part of our future for short-term, rental-type gains,” he said to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on last week’s Jerry Dipoto Show.

Clearly, Dipoto wouldn’t part with a top prospect for a player with just two months remaining on his contract. What about a year and two months? With that talent level and remaining club control, it doesn’t feel much different, which is why outside of a true blockbuster deal, I would be surprised to see any of the Mariners’ top five or six prospects moved. After that, however, it could get interesting.

The Mariners have depth in their farm system, and in the next 24 hours we could see how attractive that depth is to others. The first ask will always be high: Kirby. Hancock. Julio Rodríguez. Noelvi Marte. Dipoto will want to move prospective trade partners off those players, and when it gets down to the wire, perhaps there are other names that could get the job done. Juan Then, Taylor Trammell and Andrés Muñoz are top 10 prospects that are hardly untouchable. Any player not named Hancock from the 2020 draft could be available, with the recently promoted Zach DeLoach’s name in particular jumping off the page.

If it’s pitching a team is looking for, could a team be talked down from a Kirby or Hancock to multiple arms out of the list of Juan Then, Brandon Williamson, Levi Stoudt, Connor Phillips and Adam Macko? While it may be tough for those who follow the prospects to part with some of these names, they are not core pieces. The Mariners have built up the system to a point where they have ‘1b’ and ‘2a’ type tiers of prospects that could be of interest to clubs in bigger packages.

I have little doubt the Mariners find themselves in the strange position of having too good prospects. It very well could be “It’s Julio or Kirby or no deal” with some clubs. There are no hiding of the cards in the game of baseball trades, but there are teams that see the value in volume of prospects in trade, and on that front the Mariners can certainly compete.

It’s worth remembering that trade is Dipoto’s preferred route to player acquisition and roster building. Deadline deals differ from offseason deals as there is a clock with time running out, but opportunities exist. Friday should be very interesting.

Follow Shannon Drayer on Twitter.

O’Neil: Despite timing, Graveman trade kind of move M’s should be making

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
High 64° | Low 55°
Mariners are on the road.
Mariners at Angels today at 6:07pm

Fri, Sep 24 @ 6:38 pm
Starting Pitcher:
Seattle’s Logan Gilbert

Chevrolet Silverado

Shannon Drayer

Shannon Drayer

Drayer: Making sense of Mariners’ playoff chances with just 9 games left

How could the Mariners make the playoffs in 2021 with just nine games remaining? Shannon Drayer breaks down what needs to happen.
2 days ago
Mariners Yusei Kikuchi...
Shannon Drayer

Drayer: With Yusei Kikuchi’s next start uncertain, could Mariners turn to Matt Brash?

The Mariners haven't made a decision on Yusei Kikuchi's next start, but Shannon Drayer explains how they could turn to prospect Matt Brash.
2 days ago
Mariners Jarred Kelenic Scott Servais...
Shannon Drayer

Drayer: Mariners, still alive in playoff race, setting up a lot to look forward to

The Mariners' playoff chase has delayed the usual look ahead that happens in September, but the future is clearly bright for baseball in Seattle.
5 days ago
Mariners J.P. Crawford Jose Marmolejos...
Shannon Drayer

Drayer: Breaking down what stands between Mariners and a wild card spot

Can the Mariners and their goldfish memories outmaneuver three of the four other teams fighting for the AL's two wild card spots?
17 days ago
Mariners Jerry Dipoto...
Shannon Drayer

Drayer: Mariners’ path forward is clear and with important continuity with extensions of Dipoto, Servais

The Mariners gave new deals to Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais. Shannon Drayer breaks down what it means and why it's big for the franchise.
24 days ago
Mariners José Marmolejos...
Shannon Drayer

Mariners hope José Marmolejos can bring ‘thump’ he showed with Tacoma

José Marmolejos is back with the Mariners after posting eye-popping stats in 72 games with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers this season.
27 days ago
Drayer: What role could depth of Mariners’ farm system play at MLB trade deadline?