The Seattle Mariners have made it clear that they aren’t done adding parts to the puzzle when tehy gave up a significant amount of young talent for Mike Trumbo on Wednesday. But one addition (and a DH at that) doesn’t fix the problems the M’s are currently dealing with.
The biggest thing that can happen is the current players starting to play like they are capable of. Robinson Cano, Dustin Ackley, Austin Jackson (although he might have turned a corner in the Yankees series), Mike Zunino, Hisashi Iwakuma (before he got injured) and three-fourths of the bullpen have not been helping this team win games. However, there are things that the organization can do in the meantime, while we all wait for those guys to get it together.
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Personally, I like the idea of making another trade. The Mariners are full of spots that need to be upgraded, and the window for a pennant run won’t be open for much longer with Cano and Nelson Cruz well into their 30’s. Seattle has the minor-league pieces to bring in another quality player, and the organizational depth to absorb the loss of a few prospects.
My recommendation: Carlos Gomez.
Trumbo could technically play outfield, but he is a borderline liability defensively, and Nelson Cruz is not exactly a gold-glove caliber right fielder. Carlos Gomez, on the other hand, is only two years removed from being the National League gold glove winner (2013) in center field. Adding Carlos Gomez would instantly make the M’s one of the better defensive outfields in all of baseball with Gomez and Jackson making up two-thirds of it.
Gomez also was an MVP candidate that year, when he hit .284/.338/.506 with 24 home runs. He had a WAR of 8.5 which was second only to Mike Trout in all of baseball. His numbers at the plate are slightly down this year, and much like Cano, his current drop in production over the first two months of 2015 are probably due to a 45.4% swing rate at pitches outside the strike-zone. However, a slashline of .262/.304/.443 would still be one of the best on the Mariners’ roster. Plus, his relative struggles will lower the compensation required to trade for him.
A lineup with Carlos Gomez in it would look something like this.
Sep 1, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez hits a 2-run homer in the 4th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
- Austin Jackson CF
- Carlos Gomez LF
- Robinson Cano 2B
- Nelson Cruz RF
- Kyle Seager 3B
- Mark Trumbo DH
- Logan Morrison 1B
- Mike Zunino C
- Brad Miller SS
You’re either drooling right now, or you’re a liar. With Gomez, the M’s would have ridiculous depth in the outfield, and Seth Smith could still play four or five times a week to give Gomez, Jackson, Cruz or Trumbo a day off. Having one of those five guys available to pinch-hit off the bench is a rare luxury, especially in Seattle.
As mentioned earlier, Gomez is struggling relative to how he played in 2013 and 2014, which could be seen as a guy starting to regress as he nears 30. So it probably won’t take as much as it normally would when acquiring a guy only two years removed from an MVP/Gold Glove caliber season. Dustin Ackley, 1B/3B Patrick Kivlehan (Mariners No. 4 prospect), LHP Luiz Gohara (No. 6) and LHP Ryan Yarbrough (No. 9) would be a fair deal. And the Brewers should be looking to trade him now while he still has one-and-a-half years on his deal to avoid watching him walk in free agency or his trade value plummeting next season as a four-month rental. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal had this to say on the Brewers’ situation.
"“Trade [Gomez] now, get the most for him in theory,” Rosiak said. “Trade him in the offseason, still do well but probably not get as much for him. Trade him next season, the return is drastically reduced. No way he resigns with the Brewers as things currently stand.”"
I don’t see a spot for Kivlehan on the Mariners’ roster anytime in the near or far future. Kyle Seager is going to be occupying the hawt corner for the next 6+ seasons, while Logan Morrison and D.J. Peterson will be playing first base for the foreseeable future. Losing two of their top three pitching prospects would hurt, but Seattle still has Edwin Diaz as well as four young starters on the major league roster in James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Roenis Elias and Mike Montgomery, who all figure to be here for a long time. And when it comes to Ackley, it would suck to give up on the guy with the promise he showed at the end of 2014 and the first few weeks of 2015, but his constant hot-and-then-cold act is getting old.
At 18-36, the Brewers are the worst team in baseball and need to start offloading their veteran stars. The Mariners are in win-now mode, have an abundance of young pitching, and a need for a solid all-around outfielder. It’s worth it for the Seattle Mariners to go after Carlos Gomez and they have the ammunition to make it happen.