Breaking down trade value of Mariners players with ESPN’s Jeff Passan
The MLB trade deadline is just over a week away, and yet the Seattle Mariners and their trade-loving general manager Jerry Dipoto have yet to swing any deals since the Edwin Encarnación deal to the New York Yankees over a month ago.
The trade market been slow going all throughout baseball, but that isn’t likely to continue because the July 31 deadline is a full-stop this year. While in previous seasons teams could still deal players that cleared waivers for an additional month after the deadline, this season all forms of trades in the majors end before August begins.
Another person who is waiting for the market to kick into gear is ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan, who joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk Tuesday to discuss the Mariners and the value of some of their trade pieces. Here’s a look at what he had to say about five M’s players who could be of interest to other teams in the next week.
Starting pitcher Mike Leake
Leake is coming off the best start of his MLB career, taking a perfect game into the ninth inning and finishing a Mariners win over the Angels last Friday with a one-hit shutout. Leake hasn’t been totally consistent this year, has a hefty contract (though some of his money is still coming from his previous team, the St. Louis Cardinals) and has a no-trade clause. Leake has been open about wanting to play for a contender, however. The only problem is finding one to take him.
“Let’s put it this way: Ryan Divish wrote it in The Seattle Times and it dovetails with what I’ve been hearing – they have been trying to trade Mike Leake for six weeks now without any luck,” Passan said. “Now, there is a scenario in which the Diamondbacks go and crush the Orioles and Marlins this week, the Indians keep winning, the Blue Jays don’t feel like their market for (Marcus) Stroman is good enough to deal him, something happens with (Rangers starter) Mike Minor in his start on Wednesday, the Giants win enough where they’re not going to deal (Madison) Bumgarner, where Mike Leake is like literally the last guy left to be out there. At that point I could see Mike Leake being traded, but he’s still not going to bring back much and the Mariners are still going to eat a ton of money (to trade) him.”
Second baseman Dee Gordon
The 31-year-old Gordon is experienced both at second base and shortstop, and he did OK when the Mariners tried him out in center field for a significant portion of the 2018 season. His ability to move around the field along with his elite speed makes him a top target, though he has some injury concerns – in fact, he left Monday night’s game with tightness in his quadriceps and landed him on the 10-day injured list Tuesday – and is another case where the Mariners would likely need to kick in some cash to get a good return.
“I think that Dee Gordon is probably the guy who has the most interest if the Mariners are going to pay down his contract,” Passan said. “He’s a very good clubhouse guy, he brings that speed element, he’s got some positional versatility, he can get you hits. I can see Dee Gordon being moved and I can see teams being interested, but most of the money’s going to need to be paid out for that to happen.”
Left-handed pitcher Roenis Elías
Elías has found a home in Seattle’s bullpen, but he has experience as a starter, which may be something that makes him attractive to other teams. Passan, meanwhile, isn’t all that high on what the 30-year-old southpaw offers.
“He’s left-handed which means he’s employable, but he’s also got like a 5 ERA,” Passan said.
For the record, Passan was rounding up – Elías has a 4.81 ERA this season.
Catcher Omar Narváez
Narváez has been a revelation at the plate in his first season with the Mariners, hitting .295 with a .366 on-base percentage, .853 OPS and career-high 16 home runs. The Mariners may not be interested in moving the 27-year-old backstop for younger pieces to aid their rebuild, however.
“I have not heard Omar Narváez’s name once (in trade rumors), which leads me to wonder whether the Mariners think holding on to him for the next couple years is the right thing to do,” Passan said.
Right fielder Domingo Santana
Unlike Narváez, “Domingo Santana’s name I have heard,” Passan said of another first-year Mariner.
Santana, 26, has been strong at the plate, hitting .274 with a .343 on-base percentage, .816 OPS and 19 home runs – though he leads the majors with 132 strikeouts. The real concern is his defense, which has been considerably better since he switched back to right field from left field, where he was clearly uncomfortable.
“The question with Domingo Santana always comes down to, can you stomach his defense? Now, I’ve talked to a couple scouts recently who said he has looked better – that’s grading on a curve, I understand,” Passan said. “(To look) better from worst defender in baseball is not a difficult step to take. If Domingo Santana can even be slightly below average defensively, though, he’s a guy who would have some value and I think the bat clearly plays.”
You can listen to the full Passan interview in the player embedded below or download in podcast form at this link.