MLB Network’s Morosi: Mariners trade fits for the bat they need

Jun 3, 2023, 12:20 PM

Seattle Mariners trade deadline Jonathan India...

Jonathan India of the Reds celebrates after scoring against the Red Sox on May 30, 2023. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

On the most recent Jerry Dipoto Show on Seattle Sports, the Seattle Mariners president of baseball operations said one thing that stood out as it pertains to the 2023 MLB trade deadline.

Related: Dipoto previews Seattle Mariners’ trade deadline path

During his weekly Thursday visit with Brock and Salk, Dipoto said the M’s have “a fair bit of conversation with clubs about players that you might not think are as available” when dealing in trade talks.

And that’s not all. Dipoto added that those types of talks are where the M’s usually focus the majority of their efforts.

“Those are the trades that we generally spend more of our time on,” he said. “Sometimes they come to fruition and sometimes they don’t, but we tend to spend a little bit more of our time focusing on what this does for the Mariners in 2023 and moving forward, because what we are attempting to build, and I think the foundation we’ve laid is suggestive of, is that we want this to be the long game. We want to win year in and year out, and we feel like we’re on the right path to do that.”

So what does that mean for this season as the Mariners look for a much-needed bat or two to help out their struggling lineup? Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob sent that question the way of MLB Network insider and longtime baseball reporter Jon Morosi when he joined for his own weekly Thursday conversation on the station, and a couple of ideas came to mind for him.

Option 1: The Arizona Diamondbacks

“I think one team that’s really interesting that I would pay some close attention to is Arizona, because they have an abundance of outfielders,” Morosi replied.

The young Diamondbacks have been a surprise team early on this season, jockeying with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West despite finishing the 2022 campaign 74-88 record. It’s clear they have a surplus the M’s could take a hard look into.

“They’ve sent (23-year-old outfielder) Alek Thomas down to the minor leagues. They’ve got (25-year-old outfielder) Dominic Fletcher, who’s (Los Angeles Angels infielder) David Fletcher’s brother,” Morosi said. “They’ve got Corbin Carroll, they’ve got Lourdes Gurriel, they already traded Daulton Varsho over to Toronto, so they’re a team that that has young depth and has already shown last offseason that they’re willing to trade from that young depth. And that, to me, is a really interesting possibility.”

Don’t get excited about every name Morosi listed, though, as he was emphasizing just how much depth Arizona has in the outfield (which also includes Jake McCarthy, who had a strong rookie year in 2022 but has struggled this season). The player that is likely off limits for the D-backs is unfortunately Carroll, a 22-year-old Seattle native and Lakeside School product. Not only is he a strong candidate to play in the All-Star Game in his hometown next month as a rookie, but he signed an eight-year, $111 million extension in March to be a cornerstone of the Diamondbacks franchise.

Option 2: Cincinnati’s Jonathan India

Where there’s some real possibility for smoke is with a frequent trade partner for Dipoto and Seattle Mariners general manager Justin Hollander: the Cincinnati Reds.

Seattle has made two blockbuster deals since 2022 with the Reds, first sending a package centered around pitcher Brandon Williamson to Cincy for Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez during spring training last year, then building another package headlined by shortstop prospects Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo to get All-Star pitcher Luis Castillo days before the 2022 trade deadline.

The Castillo trade may help the Mariners if they go after the player who Morosi pointed to: second baseman Jonathan India, the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year.

“I’m kind of kind of putting two and two together here without having exactly defined what Jerry is looking at, but I think one name to keep in mind is Jonathan India with Cincinnati because they’ve got a couple of young infielders who are making an impact right now,” Morosi said. “… That’s the kind of a move that would fit that description.”

India took a step back in his second MLB season in 2022, finishing with a 92 OPS+ (MLB average is always 100), but the 26 year old is so far enjoying a resurgent 2023 campaign. In 57 games this year, he owns a slash line of .278/.368/.431 for a .798 OPS and 112 OPS+, with six home runs, 15 doubles, nine stolen bases on 11 attempts, and 26 walks to 46 strikeouts.

India’s .368 on-base percentage is what jumps out the most as something the Mariners could stand to have in their lineup, as strikeouts and a lack of offensive rallies have been consistent issues for them through the first two months of the season.

“As I’m putting two and two together here, OK, (India is) a guy that you wouldn’t expect to be available, (plays) a position of need for the Mariners, (is) a good bat-to-ball guy. I think Jonathan India, in the right deal, would make a ton of sense,” Morosi said. “… I’m gonna have to do some checking on that Jonathan India idea because I think that fits the description of what could make a lot of sense for the Mariners right now.”

The big question for the Seattle Mariners

The M’s clearly have a decision to make about how aggressive they’re going to be on the trade market in order to stay competitive in an American League playoff race that appears much tougher than it was a year ago. Morosi has little doubt about Dipoto’s willingness in that regard.

“This is where the Mariners have to figure out how motivated they are to get that that additional bat,” he said. “How much pitching are you probably going to be willing to give up to do it? And are you comfortable giving up someone off your major league roster? Probably not. But you can bet that when the phone rings, the name Bryce Miller is going to be mentioned by a lot of people.”

Miller, a 24-year-old rookie for the Mariners, has been a sensation in his six starts in the big leagues to date, owning a 3.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and a ratio of 10.33 strikeouts per every walk issued.

“Based on what we’ve seen, you would expect the Mariners to say, ‘No way, no how’ (to trade offers for Miller), but listen, Jerry Dipoto has never been afraid to make a big trade. He’s made a lot of them in his career,” Morosi said. “And I do think that if you’re a Mariner fan hoping for there to be an impactful move at the deadline, you’ve got the right guy (leading the front office) because he’s not been a guy that’s ever when the when the phone call comes in… (is) going to put them on the decline button. You know, that’s not gonna happen very often for Jerry.”

Morosi joins Wyman and Bob for a conversation each week on Seattle Sports, typically at 5 p.m. Thursday unless the show is preempted by Mariners coverage. Listen to this week’s edition in the podcast below.

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MLB Network’s Morosi: Mariners trade fits for the bat they need