Morosi: The familiar Mariners trade partner to keep an eye on

Jun 21, 2024, 10:09 AM

Seattle Mariners trade target...

Yandy Diaz of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts after scoring during a 2024 game. (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

(Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

When it comes to trade targets for the Seattle Mariners this summer, there’s been plenty of names thrown into conversation.

Where Mariners should be comfortable trading prospects from

Luis Robert, Pete Alonso, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – to name a few. But maybe the best candidate isn’t a particular player. Maybe the focus should be on one team, as MLB Network insider Jon Morosi pointed out.

Morosi joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Thursday for his weekly conversation about the Mariners, and he spoke strongly about the possible rekindling of a relationship with a frequent trade partner of Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto: the Tampa Bay Rays.

“The Rays are the potential seller that I’m watching most carefully as a possible fit for the Mariners,” Morosi said.

The three players Morosi highlighted were first baseman Yandy Díaz, third baseman Isaac Paredes and left fielder Randy Arozarena.

Of those three, one stands out the most due to a skill set that the M’s roster needs.

“Especially Yandy Díaz – a pure bat-to-ball guy who I think could be available, if the Rays stay in that in that fourth-place position or fifth-place position (in the American League East),” Morosi said.

Why the Rays make sense

Aside from having a lengthy trade history with Dipoto and Mariners general manager Justin Hollander, the Rays possess pieces that could help Seattle improve making contact at the plate. That appears to be the biggest need for a Mariners team that sports a dominant starting pitching staff but is last in MLB with a 27.7% strikeout rate on offense.

“I bring this team up often, but I think it’s a fitting example. The Arizona Diamondbacks … won the National League with 84 wins (in 2023(, and they got there in the playoffs with really good starting pitching and good contact hitting – contact being the operative word there,” Morosi said.

Díaz and Paredes particularly fit the contact-hitter mold that could help the Mariners strikeout less. Díaz holds a 13.2% strikeout rate that ranks in the 93rd percentile of MLB hitters, per Baseball Savant. He’s also 99th percentile in whiff rate. Paredes ranks in the 80th percentile with a 16.2% strikeout rate and has a 90th percentile whiff rate. Those are first and second on the Rays, respectively, among qualified hitters.

“They may make it (to the playoffs) with basically this same offense,” Morosi said of the Mariners. “They may get there, but I don’t think they will advance very far at all, if this is the recipe for their offense.”

More on the targets

As mentioned above, Díaz and Paredes fit the mold of high-contact hitters that Seattle needs. Arozarena has more swing-and-miss in his game with a 25.4% strikeout rate (27th percentile) and seventh-percentile whiff rate. However, he makes up for it a bit with a keen eye for the strike zone, ranking 77th percentile in chase rate and 86th percentile (11.7%) in walk rate.

Paredes and Arozarena each provide some pop, as well. Paredes slugged a career-high 31 home runs and posted an .840 OPS last year in his second full major-league season. He’s currently hitting .287/.369/.473 for (.842 OPS) with 15 doubles, 11 home runs and 39 RBIs. Arozarena has three straight seasons of 20-plus home runs under his belt, and his power has been there with 10 home runs this season, but he’s slumping otherwise with a .186./.301/.348 slash line in 78 games.

Díaz is more of a true contact hitter and has an impressive .804 OPS over 2,800 career plate appearances. He hit a career-high 22 home runs while slashing .330/.410/.522 during a monster 2023 season, but had just nine homers the year before and five through 74 game this season. He’s slashing .264/.327/.368 with 14 doubles and 33 RBIs in 2024.

Listen to full conversation at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. MLB insider Jon Morosi joins Seattle Sports Wyman and Bob on Thursdays for a national perspective on the Mariners.

More on the Seattle Mariners

• ESPN’s Passan: Could Mariners win World Series with current roster?
• Mariners Insider: An unexpected move that may pay off for all involved
The Seattle Mariners’ less-talked-about trade deadline need
• ESPN insider breaks down projected Mariners first-round pick
• Has catching helped Mariners’ Mitch Garver hit? Pierzynski’s take

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