It looks as though the Seattle Mariners will be trading certain veteran players. Do the San Diego Padres and the Mariners match up in a potential trade? And what would it take to acquire some of the Mariners’ talent?
On Tuesday, it was reported that the Seattle Mariners were open to listening to offers for most of their players.
The Padres and Mariners have done business in the past and are connected in many ways, as Vedder Cup rivals and spring training complex neighbors. The Mariners finished at 89-73, third place in the crowded AL West. With their main corps aging and a bare farm system, Seattle GM Jerry DiPoto is tempted to have a yard sale.
The cupboard is certainly not bare on the Mariners’ major league roster. There is a reason why they had almost 90 wins. Closer Edwin Diaz set a team record with a Major League-leading 57 saves and won the A.L. Mariano Rivera Reliever of the Year Award. Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura were both all-stars, and at least one of them seems to be on the market.
Let’s take a look at a few players and deals that would make sense between the Vedder Cup rivals:
James Paxton, LHP
The Padres need major league-level pitching and Paxton fits the bill. The Big Maple is more than just a viral video involving an eagle. His injury history is certainly a concern, as he just set a career high this season with 28 starts. He hadn’t made more than 24 before. However, the talent is absolutely there. He has ace-type stuff and he showed it at times during this season. He threw a no-hitter and ended up with two complete games, which only a handful of pitchers did last season.
The Friars would welcome his talent into their young and shallow starting rotation. He has made 102 major league starts, more than any current Padre starter not named Clayton Richard, and Paxton has ten times the stuff Richard does. Among starters with at least 160 innings, Paxton was fourth in strikeouts per nine innings with 11.68 with a 3.8 WAR, better than Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw.
Seattle desperately needs to replenish one of the worst farm systems in baseball and they would love to tap into the pool of talent the Padres have accumulated. Paxton is under contract by arbitration for two more seasons and will be a free agent after the 2020 season. For two years of control of Paxton, the Padres would likely need to part with a decent prospect or two.
Padres fans like to hoard prospects like old hermits, but they will need to part with a few to gain actual MLB talent like Paxton. A package like Austin Allen, since the Mariners have already parted with their catcher Mike Zunino, and a pitching prospect like Brad Wieck might get the deal done.
Jean Segura, SS
Padres fans may scoff at this, thinking Fernando Tatis Jr. will surely arrive in 2019. That is no guarantee, plus his long-term projection still may be at third base. Segura is under contract until the end of the 2023 season, after signing a 5-year, $70 million extension. At 28 years old, Segura is still in his prime and the Friars would be trading for five seasons of control. He is a two-time All-Star, including last season when he hit .304 with a 111 wRC+. Segura would come at a hefty price, higher than Paxton.
Segura led the entire National League in hits in 2016 with 203, along with 20 homers. He didn’t tap into that same power in Seattle, which is not a launching pad like his previous team in Arizona. He has three straight years of at least a 111 wRC+. For five years of control for a two-time All-Star shortstop, the Padres would likely need to fork over a package like Michel Baez, Hudson Potts, and Henry Henry.
Kyle Seager, 3B
This might be the one that makes the most sense for the Padres. Even though Seager is 31 and coming off of the worst season of his career and is still owed about $19 million for each of the next four seasons, the Mariners would likely have to eat some of his salary to make this happen. The Friars played musical chairs at third base this year, with Wil Myers, Christian Villanueva, Cory Spangenberg, and Chase Headley manning the hot corner at some point during the 2018 season.
Seager has a Gold Glove and All-Star bid under his belt. He has seven 20-homer seasons in a row and has played at least 155 games each season in that same span. He is probably up there among the players Jerry DiPoto wants to trade the most. Unfortunately, he had a bad year (.221 average, 84 wRC+) to command a high price. He is still a talented, everyday-type third baseman that the Padres currently lack. A trade of an outfielder to the Mariners in exchange for his services would make sense since Myers would need a spot if the Friars are filling third base.
Look for a deal such as Franmil Reyes and a middle-tier prospect like Gerardo Reyes for Seager’s services. Reyes is not great in the field anyway and might enjoy filling the shoes of Nelson Cruz at DH for Seattle.