After getting off to an almost impossibly slow start, the 2015 MLB trade deadline is finally going nuts. The Toronto Blue Jays traded for Troy Tulowitzki and David Price! The Kansas City Royals traded for Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist! The Texas Rangers got Cole Hamels, the Anaheim Angels added every platoon outfielder in the league, the Seattle Mariners did… nothing… and the New York Mets botched a trade for Carlos Gomez. Let’s talk about that for a second.
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Yesterday word got out of an all-but completed deal that would have sent Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez to the Mets in exchange for the injured-but-awesome-and-young starting pitcher Zack Wheeler and defense-first shortstop Wilmer Flores. The deal looked to be a good one for the Mets, who’ve been looking for outfield help for a while now. Gomez is a star hitter and a star defender, and they already have plenty of Zack Wheelers, somehow. What could go wrong?
Medicals, if you believe the initial and most-cited reports. Or maybe it was money, if you believe that the Mets are comically cheap, which they are. Either way, Gomez appears to be physically fine according to everyone except a few Mets talking heads. The Brewers are still going to trade him, which brings us back to the point of this post. Because you know who could use a Carlos Gomez? The Seattle Mariners, that’s who.
I’ve recently used this site as a platform to advocate a Mariners deadline strategy of doing nothing, if only due to a deep and well-earned distrust of the front office. These are the guys who think Mark Trumbo has the world’s best skillset, and have hung their reputations on obsessively acquiring as many low-OBP DH’s as they can. We don’t want them making decisions. Unless, of course, that decision is to trade for Carlos Gomez.
Gomez fits the needs of this roster both now and going forward. The Mariners need warm bodies in the outfield, and Gomez fits that description. The Mariners don’t have a lot of money to spend, and Gomez is playing on a below-market extension. And the Mariners are going to need a center fielder when Austin Jackson leaves in free agency this winter. Gomez is under contract at $9 million for the 2016 season.
And he’s awesome! Gomez is good at every aspect of baseball. He’s a terrific center fielder, the likes of which the M’s haven’t had since Franklin Gutierrez was in his prime. He’s got power and patience, and is currently running a .262/.328/.423 line. Which, of course, pales in comparison to the numbers he’s put up over the last two years, both of which were campaigns fully deserving of MVP votes.
We already know the cost of Gomez – Wheeler and Flores. The Mariners have high-level young pitching and controllable, glove-first middle infielders. Let the Mets take their pick. Chris Taylor and Taijuan Walker? Sure, it’s a deal. Maybe that’s not enough, so the Mariners throw in one of their many AAA infielders as well. This is doable. This is very doable.
Gomez would give team a center fielder to build around, but only if they were able to extend him. Maybe the M’s know that Gomez wouldn’t sign with them long-term, and so they’re not even going to explore the possibilty of an acquisition. That’s really just about the only reason not to aggressively pursue Gomez, and it seems unlikely that it’d be true.
The Mariners have been obsessed with one-dimensional players for so long that it stands to reason they probably have no interest in Gomez. Why would they – he’s a star who’s good at offense and defense! The Mariners hate nothing in this world more than good defense. So he’s probably not a guy they want, though there is the ever-present Jack Zduriencik/Brewers tie. Maybe he remembers Gomez’s talent from his successful days bringing players into Milwaukee. Maybe there’s still some pre-tunnel vision Jack left in there.
Probably not, though. Carlos Gomez should have been a top Mariners target a long time ago, and he still should be right now. The GM’s trying to avoid lame duck status, and so it stands to reason that he’s got some incentive to make his team better now. Gomez seems like the kind of guy the Mariners could add without destroying their long-term outlook. Which is precisely why nobody should expect them to even show interest.