Passan: How good is Seattle Mariners’ trade return for Sewald?

Aug 2, 2023, 12:52 PM

Seattle Mariners Dominic Canzone...

Dominic Canzone reacts after hitting a home run on July 20, 2023. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners didn’t do much at the MLB trade deadline this year, but they did make one notable trade Monday by shipping veteran reliever Paul Sewald to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three position players.

Drayer: Why Seattle Mariners hung on to veteran bats, didn’t trade more

The M’s received outfielder/first baseman Dominic Canzone and infielder Josh Rojas – both of whom were added to Seattle’s 26-man roster and started Tuesday’s game against Boston – as well as middle infield prospect Ryan Bliss, while sending Sewald alone to Arizona.

Who better to help break down the Mariners’ return from the Diamondbacks than ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan?

He joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Tuesday and shared his thoughts on the Mariners’ three newest players.

“Yeah, I like the trade,” Passan said. “I think it’s going to be one of those that we’ll know if it was good sooner than most because a lot of times when you’re a team that selling, you’re doing so for prospects. In this case, Dominic Canzone is a big leaguer, Josh Rojas, we have a pretty decent sense of what Josh Rojas is already, actually. Ryan Bliss is super interesting because he’s a guy who physically, he’s 5 foot 6 and is 175 pounds. He’s not going to intimidate anyone. But he also hit .368 at Double-A this year, so there’s some performance there that’s really tantalizing.”

Canzone is expected to play essentially every day for the Mariners while Rojas will likely share time at second base with Jose Caballero and Dylan Moore.

Bliss, however, is listed on the roster of the Tacoma Rainers – Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate – on

Passan told Brock and Salk that he spoke to some MLB evaluators, asking them how they felt the Mariners did in this trade.

For those evaluators, it centers largely around Canzone.

“They thought Canzone is the best player in the deal, (and) that Bliss has some upside but there are some questions from guys whether he’s going to hit,” Passan said. “Rojas, I’m not going to say he’s like (former Mariners infielder) Abraham Toro because that didn’t work out very well, but there are real questions about (Rojas’) bat and you see that this year. He’s a guy who’s had 200-plus plate appearances and still hasn’t hit a home run yet. But he can play all over the diamond, and having a good utility guy on the roster is imperative. He’s just not going to be the carrying piece here. I think this trade hinges on Canzone and Bliss.”

How good could Canzone be?

“Well, he’s a little bit older (for a rookie) – he’s 25 – but he was hitting (.354) and slugging over .600 in Triple-A this year,” Passan said.

Why would the Diamondbacks want to give up a hitter like that then?

“(He) just never was able to get at-bats in Arizona because they have a pretty good outfield and a lot of depth there,” Passan said.

This trade made sense for Arizona because the Diamondbacks badly needed a reliever like Sewald and had a surplus of young talent in both the outfield and infield, according to Passan.

“They saw Canzone as superfluous because they have Alek Thomas and Corbin Caroll and Jake McCarthy, and they’d like to bring Lourdes Gurriel Jr. back (next season),” Passan said of Arizona’s MLB outfielders. “And Bliss, they have Ketel Marte at second base, they have Jordan Lawlar as their shortstop for the future and (current shortstop) Geraldo Perdomo was an All-Star this year, so he’s pretty good, too.

“So it was them trading in on their depth to get a guy in Paul Sewald who is reliable, who will take the ball every time you ask him to, and who’s a great guy in the clubhouse, too. And most of all, who has another year of control, which is vital to the Diamondbacks, whose bullpen has been absolutely wretched in the last 30 days and who have aspirations to compete not just this year but next year, too.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with ESPN’s Jeff Passan in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More Seattle Mariners trade deadline coverage

• Salk: Mariners being in between is why deadline was frustrating
Mariners Trade Breakdown: GM Justin Hollander on deal with D-backs
• How Mariners’ trade deadline compares to rest of AL West
• Mariners trade prospect to Orioles for reliever Eduard Bazardo
• Mariners trade AJ Pollock, Mark Mathias to Giants

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