Morosi: Where Mariners stand with trade deadline nearing; potential fits
Jul 13, 2023, 11:18 AM
(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Seattle Mariners ended an overall lackluster first half of the 2023 season on a high note, winning seven of their final nine games and each of their final three series, all of which came agains winning teams.
The M’s return to action Friday night in Seattle at T-Mobile Park where they host a struggling Detroit Tigers team. Seattle, meanwhile, enters the second half at 45-44 and six games back in the American League West and four games back of the third AL Wild Card spot.
“I think that the way this month is set up, these next couple series – Tigers at home, Twins at home – those are two series that you should win,” MLB Network insider Jon Morosi said during his weekly chat with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Wednesday. “The Tigers … that is a series that you need to win to begin the second half. And I think that you built momentum. They closed the first half, I think, really playing very good baseball. You win a series from the Rays, then the Giants and the Astros back-to-back-to-back? That’s impressive.”
Morosi still thinks the Mariners are a contender “because your pitching is that good.”
That pitching could help the Mariners in a few different ways over the next few weeks and months, Morosi said.
“People in the industry look at this team when I talk to them and say, ‘That Seattle team is really well built. They have something – which is young, controllable pitching – that is the envy of the entire industry,'” he said. “The entire industry would love to have what Seattle has right now. So remember the power of that. And I’ve said before on this show and I will say it again until Aug. 1, probably the most obvious team to talk to is the Cardinals.”
Morosi has brought up the idea of the Mariners and Cardinals trading with each other before while talking to Wyman and Bob, and he recently reported that the two teams have chatted about trades over the last year.
Recently, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said during a recent radio interview that “we’re going to trade people,” and are essentially looking ahead to 2024.
“That perks up the ears of everybody and says OK, they’re ready to sell,” Morosi said of the Cardinals. “They’ve got some young, controllable bats. I think the ones, if I was a Seattle fan, that I’d watch most carefully are Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan. And then see OK, would you give up Bryce Miller for one of them? Would you give up Bryan Woo for one of them?”
“But the point is, the Mariners have that that Rosetta Stone, that keycode, to get into any room they want to get into for the entire industry,” Morosi later added. “Because even a buyer, seller, it doesn’t matter. Everybody would want to get a young pitcher. So even the teams that are nominally contending, call them up. And if they have a logjam and you can peel away a player that can play second base for you or be a versatile bat in the outfield, then do it.”
Morosi also thinks that Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto could both buy and sell at this year’s deadline.
“Jerry has some options here,” he said. “And believe me when I tell you, I’ve talked to people around the industry, a lot of GMs would love to have the hand that Jerry Dipoto is sitting with right now at the poker table. They would love it because he has got exactly what everybody wants.”
Any White Sox who could fit the Seattle Mariners?
Another team that appears likely to sell at the trade deadline is the Chicago White Sox, who are 16 games under .500 and have the third-worst record in the American League.
The White Sox are most likely to sell on the pitching side of things, with Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito appearing destined for other clubs. But are there any hitters they could move who the Mariners may be interested in?
“There is, and he’s having a really down year and you’d have to really sort of bet on the bounce back a little bit, but Tim Anderson,” Morosi said.
Anderson, a shortstop who boasts a career .282 batting average and is a former batting champion, is indeed having a down year.
He hit .301 in less than 80 games last season, and the year before he hit .309 with an OPS over .800. This year, Anderson is slashing just .223/.259/.263 with 10 extra-base hits and no home runs in 67 games played.
Morosi still thinks the 30-year infielder is ultimately a good player and that he could benefit from a change of scenery to a contending team.
“Tim Anderson three months ago was good enough to play second base for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic,” Morosi said. “He’s had an up-and-down year with injuries and consistency, but he has not forgotten how to hit. He’s still a good baseball player and he’s coming to the end of his contract. He’s a change of scenery guy I would look at.”
Anderson’s contract is set to expire after this season, and he has a club option worth $14 million for 2024, per Spotrac.
“When you look at it, he didn’t forget how to hit. You’re rarely going to get the superstar player who’s in peak form. You sometimes have to take that gamble and a little bit of a leap of faith. Tim Anderson can play,” Morosi said. “… Sometimes when you’re playing on a bad team that has been underperforming – and let’s be honest, that’s what the White Sox are – it can be hard. And trust me, if you walk into T-Mobile (Park) and you’ve got 45,000 people that are watching you play the Astros and you’ve got Julio (Rodríguez) there in the hole and Luis Castillo on the mound, your focus is gonna be a little bit sharper.”
Listen to Morosi’s full conversation with Wyman and Bob at this link or in the player near the top of this story.