The big news around the baseball world on Friday afternoon was the pair of trades that the Seattle Mariners made. Seattle traded Robbie Ray to the San Francisco Giants for Mitch Haniger and Anthony DeSclafani and $6 million in cash. They also traded Jose Caballero to the Tampa Bay Rays for Luke Raley. It was an unexpected move by Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto, but he is a GM known for pulling off trades. The question becomes is there another move Seattle has in mind and do these trades helps accomplish that? I am thinking is there a certain free agent lefty that Seattle might now pursue because they were able to save themselves 31.5 million in the Robbie Ray trade? Lets look at that and whether this might also indicate where Texas stands concerning Jordan Montgomery.
Is Seattle now in the market for a free agent starting pitcher?
It has been a weird offseason for the Mariners. The GM in his 2023 exit presser made news by saying his goal is to win 54% of his games rather than go all out for a World Series. They began the offseason by trading Eugenio Suarez to the Arizona Diamondbacks. They then leaked their intentions to not pursue Shohei Ohtani. They traded former top prospect Jarred Kelenic, Marcos Gonzales, and Evan White to the Braves for one minor leaguer and a disappointing former Kansas City Royals starter. They then signed Mitch Garver to a two-year contract. Their moves have been all over the place. Now they bring back fan favorite Mitch Haniger from San Francisco and acquire Luke Raley from the Rays. There is a method to Dipoto's madness, but even Mariners' fans are having a hard time figuring this offseason out.
The only way this makes sense is if Seattle is trying to clear money off the payroll to pursue a significant free agent. There have been reports throughout the offseason linking them to left-hander Blake Snell. It is unknown who is the leader in the race to sign the reigning NL Cy Young award winner. The LA Angels, SF Giants, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and lately the New York Yankees have all expressed interest. Is Seattle lurking in the shadows for Blake Snell?
Snell make sense for the Mariners not only competitively, but also for business. Snell is a native of the Seattle area. He has expressed an interest in pitching for his hometown team. They also can pair him at the top of the rotation with George Kirby and Luis Castillo. They would have likely the best top-three starting rotation pitchers in all of baseball. Texas proved that dominant starting pitching can take a team deep into the postseason. Seattle has now cleared off some space and has added to their offense. If they can sign Snell to a long-term contract that will make them a more difficult team for Texas to compete against in the AL West.