Let’s look at what the Mariners received in return for the ace of the staff in their latest trade with the Yankees (please don’t be Jesus Montero number two!), and why this move could help propel them out of their recent doldrums.
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The major piece and one Seattle had to get was Justus Sheffield. He was rated as the 31st best prospect in all of baseball, and the top prospect in the Yankees minor league system. The Mariners were able to acquire a young left-handed pitcher with an electric arm who’s on the cusp of being Major League ready. Without the Tennessee native as part of the package, DiPoto wouldn’t have made the deal.
Sheffield brings with him a plus fastball, slider, and change-up, and is eight years younger than Paxton at 22-years-old. He may not help the Mariners this season (though that isn’t out of the question) however, he could quite possibly be the anchor of the staff for the next decade once ready.
The Mariners also received Erik Swanson, a pitcher that has shown a powerful fastball (topping out at 98 mph) and an ability to win in the minors. He projects out to be a middle of the rotation pitcher. The M’s may have gotten two staples of their future starting staff for one.
The final piece is Dom Thompson-Williams, a promising outfielder that shows the ability to hit for average and power early in his career. On the surface, this trade appears to be one that both teams will benefit from. As with all trades, only time will tell if Dipoto’s moves continue to work in the Mariners favor. There should be cautious optimism from Seattle Mariners fans during this offseason based on the front office’s recent success.
Dipoto and the Mariners front office still has a full cupboard with which to work. It’s doubtful that their “re-imagining” of the current roster is close to complete. It’s going to be a bumpy ride as I mentioned following the Zunino trade.
The Mariners still have a bevy of expensive talent, and it’s likely that this offseason addresses expensive aging players in an attempt to build not just a competitive team, but create a sustainable long-term contender.
The Baseball Gods have to know there is no more deserving fanbase in Major League Baseball than long-suffering M’s fans.