Morosi: ‘Need for need’ trade idea to make Mariners more ‘well-rounded’

Jun 21, 2023, 10:44 AM | Updated: 11:00 am

Seattle Mariners trade Brendan Donovan...

The Cardinals' Brendan Donovan throws to first on April 14, 2023. (Scott Kane/Getty Images)

(Scott Kane/Getty Images)

With the Seattle Mariners continuing to hover right around .500, it’s unclear how exactly they will approach the 2023 MLB trade deadline.

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Last year, the Mariners were one of the more aggressive teams in the game on the trade market, shipping two top-100 shortstop prospects and two pitchers to Cincinnati for ace Luis Castillo. But the M’s were seven games over .500 and holding an American League Wild Card spot when that trade occurred.

After a 3-1 loss in New York on Tuesday, Seattle is a game under .500 at 35-36 and are four games out of the third AL Wild Card spot.

During his weekly chat with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob, MLB Network insider Jon Morosi said that he thinks teams generally have a plan for the deadline in place by the All-Star break, which is fast approaching in less than three weeks.

“To me, when you look at the big picture here as a front office, you’ve got to prepare the draft and then you’ve got to prepare different scenarios as you evaluate other players and other organizations, whether buy, sell or a little bit of both,” he said.

So where does that leave the Mariners?

“I think Seattle is in a spot – and this to me is one of the more interesting clubs to talk about right now – because they’re a little bit stuck relative to how well other teams are playing in their division,” Morosi said. “And if I’m Seattle … I would look at this deadline as the next big opportunity to reshape your team into an eventual World Series winner – if not (for) the 2023 World Series, then the 2024 World Series.”

Who could the Seattle Mariners trade for?

Morosi thinks the Mariners and an underperforming National League club match up very well on the trade front, and he threw out a scenario that he believes makes sense for both parties.

“It’s a potential need-for-need, major league-type of deal with a club like the St. Louis Cardinals,” Morosi said, referring to a 31-43 club that is in last place in the NL Central. “Now look at the Cardinals. They’ve got an abundance of young bats and they don’t all fit right now. The Mariners have an abundance of young pitching. And so that’s where take someone like Brendan Donovan, who is going to be potentially an All-Star player this year, left-handed batter, he can move around the diamond, he’s somewhat blocked positionally because they’ve got (Nolan) Arenado at third and they’ve got (Paul) Goldschmidt at first.”

Donovan, 26, finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2022 and is slashing .274/.361/.396 (.757 OPS) with seven home runs, 21 RBIs and 26 walks to 39 strikeouts. Donovan has played all four infield spots as well as left and right field for the Cardinals this year, and he won a Gold Glove as a utility man last season.

A young, versatile and controllable bat like Donovan (he won’t be a free agent until after 2028) would certainly help the Mariners, but it’d also cost a bit to get him.

“If the Cardinals call up the Mariners and say, ‘We’ll listen on Donovan … but we’ve got to talk (Logan) Gilbert or we’ve got to talk (Bryce) Miller,’ what’s that conversation like?” Morosi said. “And that, to me, is where by any normal viewing of things, the Mariners would say, ‘Well, Gilbert is on our team, he’s probably off limits. Miller’s on our team, he’s off limits.’ But if the team calling you is offering you a player who is 26, who’s not arbitration-eligible still for multiple years, not a free agent until after 2028, that’s the kind of thing that you talk about. And I think with the Mariners, this is not some, like, five-alarm fire that has to be fixed because the roster is a disaster. It’s not that. But I think they need to do some renovations here.

“I think that’s the kind of a deal that if I’m (Mariners president of baseball operations) Jerry Dipoto, I am looking at my young pitching and sort of pricing it around the industry. ‘Just how much do you like Logan Gilbert? How much do you like Bryce Miller? How much do you like George Kirby?’ I would have a hard time moving Kirby, but that’s the kind of thing that when you’re a good but not great team in this situation that I believe you should at least consider.”

The Mariners’ stock of young pitching, Morosi said, is “the envy of the industry.”

“And not all of them are going to get the ball on opening day. In fact, only one of them can,” he said. “So I think this is where you consider how to make your club a more well-rounded version of itself for the future.”

Listen to Wyman and Bob’s full conversation with Morosi in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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