How Mariners’ trade deadline compares to rest of AL West
Aug 1, 2023, 4:18 PM | Updated: 4:20 pm
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The 2023 MLB trade deadline is over, and the Seattle Mariners, well, didn’t do a whole lot.
That’s especially the case when compared to the rest of the American League West, which including the Mariners has four teams over .500 that are either holding a playoff spot or within 3 1/2 games of one entering Tuesday’s games.
Here’s what the four contending AL West teams, including Seattle (55-51 record), did ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
The Seattle Mariners’ lone major move was trading Sewald to Arizona for Bliss, Rojas and Canzone, with the latter two joining the Mariners’ MLB roster ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox.
Thornton also joined the Mariners’ 26-man roster on Tuesday after having been acquired last week from Toronto.
To make room for that trio, Wong was designated for assignment while reliever Juan Then and outfielder Taylor Trammell were optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.
Outside of the Sewald trade, it was a very quiet deadline for the Mariners, who held on to their young starting pitching, which was rumored to be available for a high cost. Additionally, right fielder Teoscar Hernández, first baseman Ty France and catcher Tom Murphy all will remain with the club through the end of 2023. Hernández and Murphy are pending free agents while France was reported to be on the trading block.
Entering Tuesday, the Mariners sit 3 1/2 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays for the third and final American League wild card spot, and five games back of the Texas Rangers – who were very busy at the deadline – in the AL West.
This week is a big one for the Mariners’ playoff hopes as they have two more games against the Red Sox and four against the Los Angeles Angels. Both teams are ahead of the Mariners and between them and the Blue Jays in the wild card race. The New York Yankees, like the M’s, are 3 1/2 back of Toronto.
• Additions: Right-handed starting pitcher Justin Verlander, right-handed reliever Kendall Graveman
• Departures: Outfielders Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford, catcher Korey Lee
The reigning World Series champs had an interesting deadline as it’s one that made them much better, and also one that saw them reunite with two former players.
Houston got Graveman, a former Mariners reliever who spent the second half of 2021 with the Astros, back from the Chicago White Sox.
On Tuesday, they reunited with Verlander, a three-time Cy Young Award winner who left the Astros this offseason for the New York Mets.
The Astros have been hit hard by injuries this year, especially in the starting rotation. Verlander is a proven arm they know well who immediately slots in at the top of Houston’s rotation alongside Framber Valdez.
Entering Tuesday, the Astros are a half-game back of Texas in the AL West race and hold the No. 2 AL wild card spot.
• Additions: Starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery, relievers Aroldis Chapman and Chris Stratton, catchers Kevin Plawecki and Austin Hedges
• Departures: Infielders Luisangel Acuña and Thomas Saggese, left-handed pitchers Cole Ragans and John King, right-handed pitcher Tekoah Roby, outfielder Roni Cabrera
No team was busier buying at the trade deadline than the AL West-leading Texas Rangers.
The Rangers’ rotation, like the Astros, has taken a beating this year. They added to it with Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner, and Montgomery, a veteran southpaw. Texas also bolstered its bullpen with Chapman and Stratton, while adding behind the dish in Plawecki and Hedges.
Adding at catcher is notable as Jonah Heim, the AL’s starting catcher in the All-Star Game, is sidelined with a wrist injury and it’s unclear when – or if – he’ll return this season.
The Rangers have been one of baseball’s biggest spenders and most aggressive teams since the 2021-22 offseason, and that certainly continued at the deadline. As noted, Texas holds a half-game lead over Houston in the AL West entering Tuesday.
Los Angeles Angels
• Additions: Right-handed starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, right-handed relievers Reynaldo Lopez and Dominic Leone, first baseman C.J. Cron, outfielder Randal Grichuk
• Departures: Catcher Edgar Quero, left-handed pitchers Ky Bush and Mason Albright, right-handed pitcher Jake Madden
Months of “will the Angels really trade Shohei Ohtani” speculation ended pretty emphatically over the last few days as they made it clear they were not only keeping Ohtani, but were going to add to the MLB roster in a big way.
Giolito, a former All-Star, goes to Anaheim alongside his White Sox teammate Lopez. The Angels then boosted a beat-up lineup with Cron – who returns to his original team – and Grichuk, who the Angels drafted in the first round in 2009 but traded before he appeared on their MLB roster.
The Angels also had a bit of a buzzer-beater move with Leone, a veteran reliever and former Mariner who comes from the Mets.
The Angels are 4 1/2 games back of Texas and three back of Toronto entering Tuesday. As noted earlier, the M’s and Angels play each other four times starting on Thursday.
The Sewald trade makes a lot of sense, even though it hurts to lose a great reliever – and better person.
But to see the Mariners, who were tied for baseball’s best record in July, stand pat while just five games out of the division and 3 1/2 of the wild card was both surprising and disappointing.
I’ve said before that I didn’t want to see the Mariners trade one of their young pitchers, and I’m glad they didn’t. Holding onto Hernández and France amid trade rumors is fine.
This team has played well enough of late, however, that they deserved some more ammunition for this playoff race that they are firmly in right now. Be it an acquisition for two-plus months or someone with longer club control, the M’s probably should have done more. Heck, even one notable reliever to help alleviate the loss of Sewald would have been a nice touch.
The Mariners have work to do in the standings, and three teams ahead of them that they know very well and still have to play against all clearly upgraded their rosters. It remains to be seen if that’s the case for Seattle with the Sewald trade.