Boy, does baseball bring out the best trade deadline moves year after year of what? No other sport sees as many big names moving around season after season, especially mid-season. Well, 2021 was no different! Fact, 158 total players were moved, beating the previous record by an astounding 30 players which happened a few years prior in 2018. The Chicago Cubs completely emptied the tank, the Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered an already insanely good lineup to look to repeat, and the Seattle Mariners’ picked up some key near-future talent. The facts were that the price tag was way too high for GM Jerry Dipoto to make any real push for big names, especially with his spending record. According to fangraphs.com, the Mariners’ have just a 1.8% chance to make the playoffs. Is a playoff berth possible? Of course, but not possible enough to break the bank on overpriced stars.
If Mariners’ fans were Yankee fans, the organization would likely have left town by now. The word patience gets thrown around a lot in sports; “have patience; our time will come.” Unless you’re the 2016 Cubs, that statement does not mean a whole lot. In a slightly disappointing 2021, all Mariners’ fans have left to feel is patience. A star like Kris Bryant would have been more than nice on the team going into 2022. It did not happen, but I have some faith; good came out of this deadline for the Seattle Mariners’, maybe.
Current Impact: C
Future Impact: A+
Most would call Diego Castillo the marquee signing for the Mariners’ in 2021. Castillo is an absolute beast on the mound and scares not only hitters with his pitches but baffles his catchers as well. It is not often in baseball where a pitcher pair the velocity Castillo has with the spin rate he gets. His whole demeanor as a pitcher is scary good, albeit his 6’-3”, 250 lb. stature. Castillo found a ton of success in 2020, where he posted a 1.66 ERA, 1.062 WHIP. He played a major role in their World Series run, notching 3 saves that postseason.
The grade must be for the deadline move and prior, even though many Mariner fans have a sore taste in their mouth from his recent blown save. Regardless, Castillo’s present expectations should not be blown out of the water. As a closer that shines in the spotlight, Castillo thrives in pressure situations, as he has proven in Tampa Bay. While there is a slight chance the Mariners could vie for a playoff spot, it’s likely their season will be shortened, removing Castillo from October baseball.
The Mariners’ trade deadline moves made it pretty clear they are looking to be contenders very soon, likely next year. Castillo is quite possibly one of the best major leaguers to have on your budding roster. Even at 27-years-old, Castillo is a proven leader and a true clubhouse guy. He can enter the game night after night and help secure a win. If the Mariners’ can secure additional offensive talent heading into 2022, Castillo can be a vital piece to build a team around. The Mariners’ have control over Castillo until 2024, giving them years to realize the success of this young, budding superstar closer.
Current Impact: B-
Future Impact: B+
Abraham Toro was a quality acquisition for the Mariners’ who can utilize a versatile, young, switch-hitting infielder. Toro has split time this season between the Astros and the Triple-A Sugar Land. In his 17 games in Triple-A, Toro was hitting .352 with a .485 on-base percentage. His numbers in the majors were significantly lower. At just 24-years old, Toro is younger than some rookies and still has years to prove himself to the Mariners.
In interviews after the trade with the Houston Astros, which saw the Mariners’ relievers Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero exit, GM Jerry Dipoto made it clear Abraham Toro would be a piece of this roster from some time to come. This was originally clear as Toro has not proven himself in the majors but seems primed to do so soon. As fun as it is to look to the future, the Mariners’ needed proven talent in the majors. Toro may perform well for the Mariners, but for a franchise desperate for a playoff run next year, maybe a more proven player would have helped.
Current Impact: D
Future Impact: B-
In terms of pitchers with a cool pitching technique, Joe Smith is right up there. His upside this season is minimal at best. In 27 games with Houston, he put up a 7.48 ERA with 4 walks and 17 strikeouts. For pitchers and even hitters, a change of scenery is all it takes to turn a season around. At 37-years-old, Smith has seen his fair share of baseball. He was instrumental in the Astros’ 2019 World Series run.
Even though Joe Smith will likely do very little for the Mariners this season, he could act as a veteran presence in the bullpen moving into next year, especially for the young Castillo. Albeit early, Smith has pitched 1.2 innings for the Mariners’ and not given up an earned run. Whatever role Smith finds himself in, this bullpen will be better because of it. The chemistry of World Series-winning teams is a mixture of veteran talent and budding superstars. This is not to say the team is world series ready, but the pieces are coming together.
Current Impact: A
Future Impact: ?
At 31-years-old, Anderson has only been in the majors for only 6 years. Anderson’s potential as a pitcher has never been realized after being taken in the 1st round by the Rockies in 2011. His only season with an ERA under 4 was his first in Colorado. Even though Anderson leaves a lot to be desired with his age and recent form, he is a guy that will give you a quality start every time he steps onto the field. A veteran guy like Anderson is one a clubhouse will always need.
Anderson’s future impact is in question due to his contract expiring and the uncertainty of the Mariners’ starting rotation in 2022. As of now, a starting pitcher like Anderson is much needed in their rotation. It seems as though the Mariners would sign him to a team favorable contract, given the need at starting pitching.
Concluding Trade Deadline Grade: B+
The Seattle Mariners delt a couple of pieces and brought in more talent. It is hard to always look to next year, but it feels like the time is coming for this franchise. Castillo has the ability to close big games, Toro is a quality player who has yet to realize his talent, Smith has a veteran presence and the starting pitching upgrade they need in Anderson. The Mariners were clearly not looking to go all-in this season, so they did not walk away with a superstar. Regardless, they were able to add vital pieces to help them win as soon as next year.