ESPN’s Passan: Mariners could go big at deadline, Soto update, SP names to know

Jul 27, 2022, 6:44 PM
Mariners Tarik Skubal...
Tarik Skubal pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 11, 2021. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
(Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The 2022 MLB trade deadline is less than a week away and the Mariners figure to be in the thick of things as they march towards a playoff spot.

Who better to break down what the Mariners will likely do than ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan?

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Passan joined The Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM on Wednesday and broke down what he’s hearing about Seattle and some of the top names that may wind up as Mariners in the coming days.

Mariners to be aggressive

The Mariners, as you may have heard by now, have the longest active playoff drought in MLB and among all teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues.

With Seattle not having made the playoffs since 2001, Passan thinks the organization will be extra motivated to make deals ahead of next Tuesday’s deadline.

“I think that if the Mariners do not have a two decade-long playoff drought, they’re not going to be as aggressive as they actually will be this year,” he told Salk. “But I think getting to the playoffs this season really matters to the organization.”

Juan Soto from one Washington to another?

The biggest name on the trading block is Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto.

The 23-year-old superstar hitter is likely to move teams after he declined an extension, and the Mariners are seen a potential team with enough prospect capital to pull off the blockbuster trade.

So, could Soto move from Washington, D.C. to Washington state? Passan doesn’t see it happening.

“I just think that there are other teams out there who the Nationals have more interest in and who the Nationals feel like they match up better with,” he said. “I also think that there’s going to be a reticence (from the Mariners) to include (young starting pitchers) Logan Gilbert and/or George Kirby, and that right there probably is going to torpedo any potential deal. I mean, the Mariners have the guys, but I just wonder at what cost. Like at what cost not just to the future, but to the big league club as well?”

Starting pitchers who could be moved

The Mariners have made it clear they want controllable starting pitching this deadline, as president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has said over the last few weeks.

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So who should we keep an eye on?

“It starts with (Cincinnati’s) Luis Castillo and (Oakland’s) Frankie Montas. The Mariners, I’ve been told, are in on both of those guys,” Passan said. “But beyond that, Tyler Mahle from Cincinnati. Cleveland’s got a few guys who are available, whether it’s Zach Plesac or Aaron Civale, or if a team wants to go absolutely bonkers, Shane Bieber. The Houston Astros – and I don’t know if the Astros are going to trade in division – but the Astros are potentially moving a starter. Pablo Lopez from Miami is another one. He’s been fantastic for the last three years.”

The most intriguing SP for Seattle is?

Passan thinks that the most intriguing name to watch for Seattle at the deadline is Detroit left-hander Tarik Skubal.

Skubal, 25, played college ball at Seattle U and debuted for the Tigers in 2020. This year, he has a 3.88 ERA and 2.92 FIP for Detroit in 106 2/3 innings.

“I think that the Mariners are very familiar with him. He’s under club control for another four years beyond this season,” Passan said. “His stuff is excellent. He’s got ‘dog’ in him. He is exactly, if you’re the Seattle Mariners, who you’re looking to add to a rotation that has Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert and George Kirby.”

So what would it take to get Skubal back in Seattle?

“I think that the Tigers are rightly going to ask for Edwin Arroyo,” Passan said of a rising young star in Seattle’s farm system. “I think in the minds of a lot of evaluators, Arroyo has leapt over Noelvi Marte as the best prospect in the Mariners organization. So that’s a difficult pill to swallow if you’re the Mariners.”

Since Julio Rodríguez and Kirby graduated from prospect status, Marte has been the team’s top prospect on most lists, including MLB Pipeline. But Arroyo, No. 3 per MLB Pipeline and who like Marte plays shortstop, has shined in his first full season of pro ball for Single-A Modesto after being drafted in the second round last year. Marte has spent 2022 with High-A Everett, and he really gotten hot over the last month or so after a slow start to the season.

Listen to the full discussion between Salk and Passan at this link or in the player below.

Mariners Trade Deadline Targets: Relievers who could boost bullpen

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ESPN’s Passan: Mariners could go big at deadline, Soto update, SP names to know