It’s no secret that the Mariners are in dire need of offense. It’s also no secret that they have great pitching and that the AL West is very winnable this year.
So naturally, the Mariners have been brought up in conjunction with the Padres regarding an Adrian Gonzalez trade.
I’ve already analyzed the Padres’ needs and looked at trades with the Red Sox, Braves, and Dodgers in previous articles.
Let’s see how well the Mariners could fill the needs I outlined.
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1.) There isn’t too much in the way of starter prospects in the upper minors, let alone ace prospects, but one name sticks out: Michael Pineda. The 21-year-old Double-A righty has a 40/9 K/BB ratio and 2.23 ERA. He’s a gigantic righty with two plus pitches in his fastball and changeup, and he also has a good cutter. His upside is a bit on the low side of “true ace,” but I’ll take him.
2.) Hmm. Maikel Cleto brings a 100-mph fastball at times, but he wasn’t even a top 30 prospect entering the year according to Baseball America. Beyond him, there isn’t much in the way of projectable young starters here. I would either ask for both Cleto and Double-A starter Mauricio Robles, or leave it at Cleto and ask for more later.
3.) Yikes. The Mariners’ young catching talent is almost completely collected in one player—Adam Moore—who is already the big league starter. Moore is a similar player to Nick Hundley and Dusty Ryan, so it doesn’t make sense for them all to be around at the same time. The Mariners’ best catching prospect in the minors is now Steve Baron, who is currently hitting (drumroll please)….169/.205/.229 in Low-A! Then again, Baron is a 19-year-old considered a plus-plus defender for his age, so…I guess he’ll do.
4.) With Cleto and Baron, and even Pineda, being somewhere below the stated goals (“experienced potential ace,” “inexperienced potential ace,” and “potential above-average starting catcher”), we would have to ask for a better prospect as a throw-in than we would otherwise. Even there, though, there isn’t a clear guy. Dustin Ackley hasn’t hit in pro ball, and Michael Saunders is already in the majors. I suppose Saunders would make a certain amount of sense, given that he could then play left field immediately, but I don’t know.
Ultimately, I think the Mariners would have to put together a package bigger than four players to make this work. If you add Robles in with Pineda and Cleto on the pitching side, I could live with Baron and another hitter (one of three Double-A guys: SS/2B Carlos Triunfel, 3B Alex Liddi, or OF Carlos Peguero) on the position player side, I suppose.
The Mariners don’t fit the Padres’ needs as well as the other teams I’ve looked at. That doesn’t make a deal impossible, but it means they’re probably going to have to give up extra quantity to make up for the slight loss of quality.