BROCK AND SALK

Passan: Who Seattle Mariners could target at trade deadline

Jun 4, 2024, 3:02 PM

It’s no secret that the Seattle Mariners need to add to their offense for a serious push at reaching the playoffs and making a run in October.

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The Mariners (34-27) are a season-high seven games above .500 and in a rare position leading the American League West in June. That’s come largely because of their stellar pitching, particularly from a starting rotation that’s accounted for more innings and quality starts than any in baseball. The bats, however, have left something to be desired, leading to the firing of offensive coordinator and bench coach Brant Brown last week.

ESPN.com published an early preview of the 2024 MLB trade deadline Tuesday from MLB insider Jeff Passan. He believes the Mariners will be among the more aggressive teams looking to add. Passan broke down why the Mariners fall in that group, who they could go after and provided an overall look at the deadline Tuesday when he joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

Why Seattle Mariners are in position to buy

Outside of the fact that Seattle is currently leading its division, the organization’s overall wealth of hitting talent in the farm system has it positioned to make some noise, Passan said.

The Mariners have seven players ranked in Baseball America’s top-100 prospects, four in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 and four in ESPN’s top 50. The majority of those touted prospects are hitters.

“It’s the Orioles and I think the Rays probably belong up there because Junior Caminero and Carson Williams are both, maybe, top-five prospects,” Passan said of the top farm systems in baseball, “but just in terms of the number of hitters that an organization has, it’s the Mariners right there.”

Related: Hollander: ‘Big time’ for Mariners’ loaded farm system

It’s a combination of quality and quantity that puts the Mariners in good spot to be buyers.

“It’s pretty nice when you have Cal Raleigh and that can allow you to trade (catching prospect) Harry Ford, for example,” he said. “It’s nice when you have Cole Young and Colt Emerson and Felnin Celestin and Tai Pete, who are all playing the same position (shortstop) up the middle. It’s nice when you have outfield depth beyond Jonny Farmelo and Lazaro Montes and onto Jonatan Clase and Aidan Smith. It’s just a lot of guys and a lot of guys who are succeeding in playing really well. What you fear is trading a star, and there’s the possibility that they might do that. But is it worth it for what you’re doing it in service of at this point when you have this much depth and when you have this kind of pitching? I would say yes.”

Targets for the Mariners

Who could the Mariners go after at the deadline? Passan mentioned some of the names that have already been linked to the team like New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis Robert and Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette and first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

The Blue Jays fall into a particular group Passan labeled as the “hinge” teams, which could go either way the trade deadline. The other teams in that group are the Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays.

“This is the part of the column where I think it’s going to be interesting,” Passan said. “It’s the second category and they’re called hinge teams. The hinge teams are going to be the ones on whom this deadline and how interesting it is is going to hinge on.”

Passan provided some potential targets from that group of teams, many of which include the Mariners adding a bat and a piece to shore up their banged-up bullpen.

“The Rays are really interesting – (outfielder) Randy Arozarena and (relievers) Pete Fairbanks and Jason Adam and Garrett Clevenger,” Passan said. “If (injured Mariners reliever Gregory) Santos doesn’t come back and if they feel like they need something in the bullpen, the Tigers are very interesting. (Outfielder/first baseman) Mark Canha is not a sexy name. Mark Canha is going to get on base 35% of the time and play good defense, and he’s going to get you a big knock every now and again, and it’s not going to cost all that much. But Canha plus (relievers) Jason Foley or Alex Lange or Will Vest or Alex Faedo – somebody in the bullpen – there’s possibility there. And then, if Tyler O’Neill is healthy, Tyler O’Neill would be an awfully nice fit with the Mariners, and if you can add a reliever, maybe Kenley Jansen, maybe Chris Martin, maybe go and get Nick Pivetta to be a swing guy.

“These tweener teams are going to be everything, and frankly it’s too early to see which one of them are going to be selling when it’s time, but at least one of them are going to, and when they do, the Mariners are going to need to be in there.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk every Tuesday for the national perspective on the Mariners with ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan.

Mariners coverage from Seattle Sports

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