The price of free agents and trade market commodities in Major League Baseball seem to be going up almost exponentially. The Seattle Mariners were busy at the winter meetings in Washington D.C. and wrapped up their roster tinkering by adding Chris Heston from the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday in a low risk transaction for a player to be named later.
A couple Rule 5 transactions towards the end of the Winter Meetings shuffled the Mariners minor league system around little – adding pitcher Paul Paez and outfielder Chuck Taylor while losing reliever Kevin Gadea to the Tampa Bay Rays. Getting into the ins and outs of the Rule 5 Draft sounds like a column to be named later, but let’s focus on not only adding Heston on the final day of the Winter Meetings, but how the Mariners didn’t screw up like other teams did.
TEAMS THAT SCREWED UP THE WINTER MEETINGS
What are the Nationals doing? I coin the Adam Eaton trade as arguably the biggest overpay in the history of baseball. Eaton was fairly reliable and consistent in 2015 and 2016 – posting almost identical numbers in at bats (610/619), hits (175/176), home runs (14/14), RBI (56/59) and batting average (.287/.284) respectively according to baseballreference.com. Point being – he is consistently average-ish and the Nationals gave up their No. 1 prospect in Lucas Giolito for him. Eaton plays good defense, but seriously…how desperate were they to add outfield help?
Segway into my second team that screwed up.
Why did the Pirates NOT trade Andrew McCutchen for this gigantic haul of prospects the Nationals were dangling? One would hope ‘Cutch would be more expensive than Eaton. Unless there’s something I am missing – like maybe Giolito has a goofy delivery that is difficult to repeat or he throws so hard the organizations envision him into a long-term reliever. Maybe his secondary pitches aren’t polished or his control is horrible. I have no idea – just spit-balling (no pun intended since we are talking about pitchers). Just seems super weird the Pirates passed and he got moved for Adam Eaton.
MARINERS MAKE THEIR MOVES
The big transaction for the Mariners was when they acquired Jean Segura for Taijuan Walker (with other players being involved), but they made several smaller moves as well. It is no secret I liked Ketel Marte at short for the M’s and thought Walker was a great pitcher, so I wasn’t a huge fan of the trade. It is what it is and I can move on from it – monitoring the stats of both players this year closely.
With Walker clearly out of the rotation, the Mariners have some pitching voids to fill. They added Heston – as far as I am aware no relation to the deceased actor Charlton Heston, but maybe? He’s had an unusual career with a no hitter for the Giants in 2015 and a really crappy year last season before spending time in AAA and landing on the 60-day disabled list with an oblique injury. I feel I don’t use my oblique as much as major league pitchers, but if I did, it wouldn’t be a fun injury to recover from.
Can Heston, a 28-year old starter or reliever in his third year of major league service, crack the M’s rotation, return to his 2015 form and help them win games? Obviously, that is yet to be determined, but unlike the Nationals, the Mariners didn’t decimate their farm system.
OTHER DEALS PENDING?
Apparently, the Mariners are interested in adding Mark Trumbo – former Seattle first baseman who was recently with Baltimore. Oh, by the way he led the American League in home runs last year with 47. I created a fun nickname for him – ‘The Baltimore Trumbone’ that I will have to re-brand if he signs with the Mariners or anyone else, which is annoying. It had a nice ring to it, but speaking of rings, can you imagine that infield?
The Seattle Trumbone, Robinson Cano, Segura and Kyle Seager? That’s pretty deadly. Stay tuned to see what other deals the Mariners may make.
Clearly, general manager Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners are forming a roster to win this year. They added Segura early in the trading season and got their feet wet with adding Heston during the Winter Meetings, but they still want to be active until pitchers and catchers report in the spring.
The Anaheim Angels won’t be contenders next year…the Texas Rangers haven’t done anything yet to improve their team from last year and Oakland continually plans on not winning and is totally okay with it. Houston has made some moves and expects to contend in the competitive division as well. Seattle just missed the playoffs in 2016 but they are adding pieces to cross that post-season threshold in 2017.
The baseball offseason is almost as much fun as the regular season. There’s still much to come as other deals will be made. Stay tuned!
Go Seahawks, Go M’s and good luck Washington against Alabama!