Rost: Six bats that are potential trade fits for Mariners’ lineup

Jul 10, 2024, 10:31 AM | Updated: 10:34 am

Chicago White Sox Luis Robert Seattle Mariners 2024...

Chicago's Luis Robert Jr. celebrates a home run against the Seattle Mariners on June 13. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

We know the Seattle Mariners need to improve their offense at the trade deadline, but what kind of bats are we talking about adding? Scott Braun, host of Foul Territory, joined us Monday on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy to list a few he’s watching. I’ve added a couple details about those potential candidates, matchmaker style.

Salk: Mariners have two types of hitters to target at trade deadline

“I think ownership will give Jerry (Dipoto) the room to make moves like this,” Braun said, highlighting the strength of Seattle’s farm system. “I actually have a lot of faith that Jerry’s going to – I think he’s going to go nuts. I think he’s going to acquire at least two or three bats that you’re going to see in the lineup on a somewhat everyday, regular basis. … I do think he’s going to do something drastic, because this (offense) is so bad.”

Let’s talk about the right fits.

You: Willing to deal top prospects if it’s for a talented bat with club control

Your potential candidate: Luis Robert Jr.

Despite their dumpster fire of a season, the White Sox are sure to demand a major asking price for their young outfielder. Never mind that he’s got a concerning injury history and is having a down year – he’s got tons of talent and club control (through 2027!), and neither of those things come cheap. Worth wondering is whether his struggles at the plate and missed time this season due to a hip flexor strain could tempt a lower asking price (one Chicago certainly wouldn’t be happy settling with) or make other clubs cool off in their pursuit. It’s not a perfect fit for Seattle – they’re not moving Julio Rodríguez from center field – but for an offense this bad and a front office who prizes club control, it’s at least worth tracking.

You: OK, fine, give me a hotter bat with a little less cub control

Your potential candidate: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

The Blue Jays are a team at a crossroads, and because of that, they will be facing plenty of pressure at the deadline. Do they hang on to their best bats for at least another season, or take advantage of a seller’s market by dealing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette? Guerrero has already answered questions about a potential trade to the Yankees (though he’s also said he’d prefer to stay in Toronto) and there are plenty of rumors swirling about possible deals, so it’s worth mentioning here. He’s under club control through 2025 and has been on a tear since mid-May, slashing .388/.415/.755 over his last 15 games.

You: Give me an impactful addition that won’t be quite as costly

Your potential trade candidate: Cody Bellinger

Note that “not quite as costly” doesn’t mean cheap. These are all fairly aggressive deals or big swings for a club that’s typically been more conservative at the deadline, with the exception of a trade for Luis Castillo, but Bellinger won’t command the haul the White Sox will be seeking for Robert. Like every other National League team in the wild card race, we’ll have no idea any time soon whether or not the Cubs will actually be sellers. But they could be. Don’t take my word for it; USA Today’s Bob Nightengale wrote that Chicago’s front office “remains undecided… but (is) preparing for a potential sale.” If they do sell, Bellinger will be an immediate and obvious target for contenders. The 28-year-old outfielder is slashing .266/.326/.411. That slugging is down from his career average, but he’d still be one of Seattle’s better bats and brings positional versatility.

You: Willing to entertain a trade for a rental bat, but fear the Mets won’t part ways with Pete Alonso

Your potential candidate: Christian Walker

Let me start by saying the National League wild card race is a sticky situation. If the Mets aren’t dealing Pete Alonso as a rental to a contender, the Diamondbacks might be doing it with Christian Walker, but it’ll require them also falling out of the race and that hasn’t happened quite yet. If they do, though, they could deal the 33-year-old first baseman who is third in the National League in home runs (22), has had an especially hot two weeks (.305/.369/.627), and will be a free agent after this season. He’ll still bring strikeouts – he’s second only to Eugenio Suárez in Arizona and is striking out at his highest rate since 2019 – but even then, that 24.7% strikeout percentage still trails Seattle’s Cal Raleigh, Jorge Polanco and Julio Rodríguez. And it’s very much worth noting that it’s also coupled with slugging and a .265 average.

You: I’ll roll the dice on a veteran bat and hope he will provide a boost

Your potential candidate: Lane Thomas

Congratulations, you have a new team to root against! In this case it’s the Washington Nationals, who could very well become sellers at the deadline. Thomas saw career highs in 2023 (those numbers cooled in the second half) but hasn’t replicated that production in 2024. He’s not the big, impact bat that’ll change the face of a lineup, but he’s one to watch for a team that might be dealing. And let’s be honest, the Mariners aren’t going to trade, once again, for Jesse Winker.

You: An affordable and reliable outfielder

Your potential candidate: Michael Conforto

Conforto isn’t who he was (that was hitting 33 home runs in 2019) but he’s been solid for the Giants this year, who are two games below .500 and in danger of slipping out of the wild card race. The Redmond High School product is second for San Francisco in slugging and brings pop even if he doesn’t have an astronomical home run total (10). He’s not going to give you great base running and his strikeout rate isn’t amazing – but, like any other candidate here, it’s still lower than a big portion of M’s (24.2%). Dom Canzone is dealing with a groin injury so this would give you a bit of extra depth from the left side of the plate for your corner outfield spots.

Seattle Mariners and the trade deadline

• Insider: Deep, young farm system gives Mariners ammo for deadline
• Reading between lines of two Mariners prospect moves
• Seattle Mariners Trade Target: A hot-hitting infielder from Reds
• Which prospect is Seattle Mariners’ best trade chip? MLB insider explains
• Could Seattle Mariners lure a star away from Blue Jays in trade?

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