WYMAN AND BOB

Which prospect is Mariners’ best trade chip? MLB insider explains

Jul 7, 2024, 9:18 AM

Seattle Mariners Harry Ford Futures Game 2023...

Seattle Mariners catching prospect Harry Ford during the 2023 All-Star Futures Game at T-Mobile Park. (Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

(Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

When it comes to this summer’s MLB trade deadline, it feels more of a “when and who” than an “if” the Seattle Mariners will strike a deal in an effort to help push themselves over the top in the American League West.

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With a number of teams still in playoff contention in both leagues, who the Mariners could realistically target in a trade remains rather unclear despite the deadline being less than four weeks away. But what about who they are willing to trade away as the headliner of a package that would bring an impactful player or players to Seattle?

MLB Network insider Jon Morosi spoke about which prospect the Mariners should be shopping at the trade deadline when he joined co-hosts Mike Lefko and Charlie Furbush on Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Friday. Morosi suggested Seattle should be looking to use catcher Harry Ford as a headlining trade chip of a package for an impact bat.

“With so many teams around the periphery of the playoff picture … you may need to give up players who are either young major leaguers or those that are close to the big leagues,” Morosi said. “And I mentioned this a bit in the context of Harry Ford and the Mariners, because we can see the big picture here. Cal Raleigh is, should be, belongs as the catcher of the future for the Seattle Mariners. Very few teams around the industry feel similarly sure about who their catcher is going to be for a long period of time, and so if that’s the case, Harry Ford to me becomes a really intriguing trade candidate.”

Ford, 21, is the Mariners’ No. 2 prospect and No. 23 in all of baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. The site lists his estimated arrival to the big leagues as 2025. Only two catching prospects – San Diego’s Ethan Salas and Milwaukee’s  Jeferson Quero – are ranked ahead of Ford by MLB Pipeline.

In 75 games in his first season at the Double-A level with the Arkansas Travelers, Ford is slashing .255/.377/.385 with 17 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 29 RBIs. He was third across all levels of the minor leagues in walks last year.

Ford also possesses speed and athleticism that most catchers do not, which helped lead to him making his debut in left field with Arkansas on Saturday.

“If you believe a percentage of his value is wrapped up in him being an everyday catcher, and if he’s not going to be your everyday catcher in Seattle anytime soon, then I look at it and say he becomes one of your better trade candidates,” Morosi said. “I would say he’s a better trade option at the moment than moving someone like (starting pitcher Emerson) Hancock, because you need Hancock right now, and Bryan Woo’s value is probably fluctuating because of his health challenges.”

With that being said, Morosi believes it would need to be a player that could help the Mariners for multiple years to part ways with Ford.

“Now, I would not give up Harry Ford for a rental like (first baseman) Christian Walker (from the Arizona Diamondbacks),” Morosi said. “I would not, but I would give very serious consideration if it was someone that I would control for multiple years and help me address what I think is a fairly clear need for offense in the middle of the Seattle lineup.”

Listen to the full conversation with MLB Network insider Jon Morosi at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Wyman and Bob weekdays from 2-6 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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