Will Mariners trade a SP? Reports of interest from suitors picking up

Dec 14, 2023, 12:52 PM | Updated: 1:02 pm

Seattle Mariners Bryce Miller Logan Gilbert Bryan Woo...

Bryce Miller in the Seattle Mariners dugout along with Bryan Woo and Logan Gilbert in June 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

One of the big questions of the Seattle Mariners’ offseason is whether they will trade one of their quartet of talented, young starting pitchers with multiple years of team control in order to boost a lineup that needs reinforcements.

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According to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe, the Red Sox asked that big question themselves to the Mariners.

Wrote Speier in an article published Thursday:

The Red Sox approached the Mariners about their impressive young hurlers (George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, and others) but were rebuffed.

Obviously, that doesn’t make a trade between the M’s and Sox sound likely. But it does paint a picture that Seattle’s starters are in demand, and if a team in the market to add to its rotation ends up still in need later in the offseason after more available pitchers come off the board, it could put the Mariners in a very advantageous spot.

Speier’s article was centered more around the effect that 25-year-old Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is currently posted as available to MLB teams by Nippon Pro Baseball’s Orix Buffaloes, is having on free agency. The Red Sox are in need of pitching help, having finished 22nd in starter ERA and 27th in innings pitched by starters in 2023, but the market for arms appears to be at a bit of a standstill while Yamamoto ponders his options.

The Mariners should no doubt be keeping a close eye on what happens with Yamamoto and other key starters in free agency, including reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, a native of the Seattle area who coincidentally has made no secret about wanting to pitch in the Mariners’ blue and Northwest green. If this offseason is a game of musical chairs when it comes to starting pitching, the M’s may be able to cash in by adding an extra chair to the mix just when it seems the game is running out of seats.

The two names from the Mariners that Speier mentioned, Logan Gilbert and 2023 All-Star George Kirby, would likely be the hardest for a trade partner to pry from Seattle due to their track records of success in the big leagues, with both having enjoyed multiple strong MLB seasons. But Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo, who impressed as rookies this year, are names you might see come up in rumors with more regularity as the offseason wears on.

Following that thread, according to a social media post Thursday by MLB Network insider Jon Morosi, Miller in particular is “drawing steady trade interest, as Seattle looks to add offense despite payroll limits.”

All this being said, Seattle Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto indicated last week at the MLB winter meetings that after adding money to the offseason budget with a few recent deals, using starting pitchers in a trade to add offensive help wasn’t the team’s priority. And as Morosi wrote in his post, the M’s may need to add another pitcher themselves to have enough rotation depth to feel comfortable trading Miller or another of their young arms.

“I’d say it’s less likely now than it was 24 hours ago,” Dipoto said on Dec. 4 about trading one of the Mariners’ young starting pitchers, per Adam Jude of The Seattle Times, a day after making a five-player swap with the Braves that was characterized by some reporters as the M’s dumping salary.

“Less likely” isn’t the same as “no chance,” and if you want to get the most value out of a potential trade, what Dipoto said makes sense as a public stance at this point in the offseason.

More on Seattle Mariners trades and offseason

Kelenic eager to change narrative after trade from Seattle Mariners to Braves
ESPN’s Jeff Passan: What are Mariners’ realistic offseason options?
Drayer: Seattle Mariners trade and signing options in post-Ohtani offseason

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Will Mariners trade a SP? Reports of interest from suitors picking up