Mariners Trade Target: A versatile infielder from the Rockies

Jun 21, 2024, 2:44 PM

Seattle Mariners trade target Ryan McMahon...

Ryan McMahon of the Colorado Rockies hits an RBI double during a 2024 game. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

(Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

With just about every National League team still right in the thick of the playoff race, the number of trade suitors for the Seattle Mariners at the July 30 MLB trade deadline is rather unclear.

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

However, there are a couple teams in the NL that are already in a position that indicates they could be waving the white flag as sellers in the coming weeks. Seattle embarks on a three-game set with one of those teams this weekend against the Miami Marlins, but the other NL cellar-dweller – one the M’s have already played this season – was the focus of attention as a trade partner for Seattle in a recent article by The Athletic’s Jim Bowden.

Bowden has the Mariners acquiring third baseman Ryan McMahon from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for right-handed starter Emerson Hancock and shortstop prospect Michael Arroyo. Seattle Sports’ Brock Huard and guest host Mike Lefko discussed that trade possibility Friday on Brock and Salk.

“If you’re only giving up those two, two guys that aren’t even on the big-league roster, how do you not do something like that?” Lefko asked.

The player

McMahon, 29, debuted in 2017 and became a regular fixture in Colorado’s lineup when he slugged 24 homers with a .250/.328/.450 slash line in 2019. Excluding the COVID-shortened season in 2020, McMahon has tallied 20 homers or more in four straight seasons, and he has 13 through 73 games in 2024.

He sports a career .246/.326/.433 slash line and has taken a step forward in his hitting this season while slashing .274/.349/.477 – all of which would be career-best marks. The underlying numbers are there this season for McMahon, too. He’s 81st percentile or better in xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, average exit velocity, barrel rate, hard-hit percentage and launch-angle sweet spot, per Baseball Savant. However, he does have quite a bit of swing and miss in his game with a 28% strikeout rate and 29th percentile chase rate.

One thing to note about McMahon’s offensive production is he’s been a bit of a Coors Field merchant through his career with a batting average 45 points higher and a slugging percentage 116 points higher hitting in the mile high atmosphere at home. H’s actually posted slightly better numbers on the road in 2024, though, hitting .281/.354/.500 on the road compared to .267/.345/.450 at home.

McMahon also brings some defensive versatility to the table with the capability of playing second and first base, and he’s shown to be a plus defender throughout his career. He ranks inside the top 20 in the majors with 29 outs above average and top 25 with 23 runs prevented since 2021.

Additionally, McMahon is under club control through 2027 after signing a contract extension in 2022. He’s making $12 million this season and next, and $16 million in 2026 and 2027.

The price

Bowden’s trade proposal helps Seattle’s offense and avoids selling off one of the prized prospects in its farm system. Hancock, the No. 6 overall pick in 2020, is currently with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers and essentially the Mariners’ No. 6 starter. The 25 year old has graduated past prospect status after debuting in 2023 and spending time with the Mariners in 2024. Arroyo is Seattle’s No. 9 prospect but has four other potential shortstops in front of him in the organization, according to MLB Pipeline. Arroyo, 19, is currently in Single-A with the Modesto Nuts.

There is some danger in trading Hancock at this point, though. Starter Bryan Woo’s ongoing arm health concerns leave some uncertainty in the rotation, and dealing Hancock would mean Seattle has little insurance for the starting staff.

“This is a game that you play. In order to get something of value, you have to give up value,” Huard said.

As Lefko pointed out, adding a bat while taking a risk with the rotation could be the type of move that puts Seattle over the top in a playoff series.

“With the amount of rest that’s built in to a best-of-seven series, it is not like a normal, every-single-day (schedule),” Lefko said. “You’re playing the two games in one location, you get a day off, you go on the road, you play a couple more, you get another day off. You can line up three to four starters for an entire series, and if you take the first three, all of a sudden in a best-of-five you don’t even need to go past your top three starters.”

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 weekdays from 6-10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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
Where Mariners should be comfortable trading prospects from

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