Trade Talks – Can The Seattle Mariners “Harpoon A Pirate”?

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If Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto hasn’t hired a full-time secretary whose sole responsibility is managing the team’s transactions yet, someone in the front office has to be over-worked and starting to go insane.

The number of transactions the team is making back-and-forth with Triple-A Tacoma to replace injured and/or slumping players is starting to get ridiculous. Prior to Tuesday’s 10-0 loss to Washington, the Mariners have made 79 transactions involving their 40-man roster so far since Opening Day.

Sporting a four-game losing streak in which the M’s scored only one run in each of them while giving up two, 16, eight and 10, respectively, the team is looking for answers to solve issues on both sides of the diamond.

Here’s a creative thought.

MARINERS TRADE FOR GERRIT COLE

Fact: The Mariners are STILL down four starting pitchers from the end of spring training.

Fact: The Pirates are playing their way out of contention (20-25 heading into Tuesday) in the NL Central, unsure of their next step.

Just like every other team in baseball, the Mariners could use an affordable, front-line starter to bolster playoff hopes and help stabilize a struggling rotation. Cole is putting together a nice season on a team struggling to score runs – going 2-5 with eight quality starts (out of 10) and a 3.36 ERA. The record isn’t good, which is why I included his quality starts. Also, Cole is only 26-years old and has already been named to an all-star team.

He would fit in right away and be able to replace King Felix sooner than later as the team’s No. 1 guy. File in James Paxton (once healthy), Drew Smyly (see previous note on Paxton) and Hisashi Iwakuma (sorry Yovanni Gallardo) behind them and that’s a post-season rotation! That doesn’t include Ariel Miranda who would be a great sixth guy.

Anyways, enough day-dreaming. Obviously, the M’s would need to give up some studs to make this trade work. Let’s give it a shot.

WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO LAND COLE

The first thing the Pirates would expect the Mariners to do is dip into their top 30 prospects pretty heavily. I don’t like saying some of these names, but for the sake of acquiring Cole, I am going to have to expect them.

Sorry Andrew Moore, welcome to the steel city. It’s okay though because the Mariners will be sending either Tacoma teammate Tyler O’Neil or No. 1 organizational prospect Kyle Lewis. Both are outfielders who are ranked 31st and 24th, respectively by Baseball America on their top 100 prospects list. For the sake of this argument and the Pirates wanting to get younger, I will include Lewis as the OF prospect.

The Pirates will also need to add some big-league ready bats. Mike Zunino (just recalled back to Seattle) needs a change of scenery and as much as I like him, the Pirates love utility players who they can move around a lot, so they will also get Taylor Motter.

To make this super fun – as if this hasn’t been really enjoyable already – I will add a low-level prospect from the Pirates coming over with Cole. Organizationally listed as their 12th best prospect, Double-A right-handed pitcher Yeudy Garcia will be thrown in. The 24-year old is 2-3 with a 4.86 ERA for the Altoona Curve this season.

Mariners get: Gerrit Cole RHP, Yeudy Garcia RHP (AA)
Pirates get: Mike Zunino C, Taylor Motter IF/OF, Andrew Moore RHP (AAA), Kyle Lewis OF (High-A)

WHY THIS TRADE DOESN’T EVEN REMOTELY MAKE SENSE

Let’s be honest, it was fun to dream of adding Cole, but when it comes down to it, the Mariners can’t really help the Pirates at all and I don’t expect them to be trade partners for these very simple reasons.

  • The Pirates don’t need to add outfielders. Their top prospect Austin Meadows is essentially just waiting for Andrew McCutcheon to get traded and adding Lewis or O’Neil to the organization might get things even more complicated.
  • Trading Zunino and Motter leave the Mariners with two sizable holes in their offense and defense. It would have been easier to include Mat Gamel or Guilermo Heredia in the trade and call it good – but again – the pirates don’t need outfielders.
  • Kyle Lewis has been out all year while recovering from offseason knee surgery. I don’t know of many upper echelon trades involving prospects who are still recovering from serious surgery.

WHY I CAN PRETEND THIS DEAL MAKES SENSE

Well, for the Mariners, they get Cole, who is under contract for four years at a very reasonably discounted rate as part of his initial rookie contract. There is fancy lingo for it, like, “????? – 4”. I just wasted 30 minutes of my life trying to find it on Google, but I’m sorry, you will get question marks for now. (I learned more about Super-Two status though, but I already know what that is.).

The Pirates add two big-league ready players who are fairly cheap. Zunino would likely go to Triple-AAA though as the Pirates are fine with Francisco Cervelli behind the plate for this year. They also get the prospect pieces they want with Andrew Moore possibly making the big leagues next year as a member of their rotation. As a control-first pitcher, Moore would slide in nicely among the other young, but hard-throwing pitchers they currently have in their system.

FINAL WORD

The Mariners need to do something about this revolving door or really uncomfortable game of musical chairs. Whatever you want to call it, seeing some consistency with their big-league club would be great. The rotation is in shambles, the offense is either the best in the league, or they can’t hit.

It’s a good thing Tacoma is so close to Seattle – not all teams have the luxury of a AAA squad in their back yard. You certainly can’t blame Dipoto and the M’s for making what seems to be at least one transaction a day – if not two. It has all been done out of need.

I would like to see them make a move for a front-line starter sooner than later, whether it’s Gerrit Cole, Jose Quintana, Chris Archer or someone I am missing. Let’s get the trade winds blowing!

Just don’t trade Mitch Haniger. Or Jean Segura. Or the Big Maple (Paxton).

Thanks for reading and enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend. BBQ safely and be polite to the squirrels.

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About Author

Hello friends of the Pacific Northwest! I am still learning the ways of the west coast sports, but I have quickly grown fond of many of your sports team and I really enjoy writing about them all! I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania – not Philadelphia. 95% of the people I meet in Oregon assume I’m from Philadelphia. I went to college in Miami, Fla., moved to Denver, Colo. Before moving to Jamestown, N.Y. (south of Buffalo) where I was a sportswriter for the local newspaper for three years. I got involved with the YMCA and was a youth sports director for six years at several different branches. Working with kids is fun…and I enjoy it, but writing sports stories is usually more fun – unless I don’t have a topic to write about in mind. Then playing basketball with third graders is way more fun. I have evolved into a Blazers fan, and am a HUGE fan of Terry Stotts. I like the Seahawks and the Ducks. The Mariners are cool too. Baseball is my favorite sport and my favorite teams are the Miami Marlins, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Heat and the Indianapolis Colts. (When you grow up with a bunch of Steeler fans, you have to be a rebel and I really liked Marshall Faulk) I look forward to learning and writing about the sports scene here in Washington and Oregon. Go Blazers, Go Ducks, Go Mariners, Go Hawks! And I guess those Beavers, Timbers and Hops are floating around somewhere too.

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