Jerry Dipoto has made a lot of trades since being hired as the general manager of the club prior to the 2016 season. Some have been very good. Some have been awful. Some of the good trades have been even swaps. There are a handful of deals we’ll have to wait a little longer to determine its ultimate results.
We’ve yet to see the kind of trades Dipoto will have to make to get the team from trending up to playoff contender, but we’ve seen everything else.
Here are the worst, best, and some in between. But these are not ranked. I’ll let you do that.
Lee, a former top prospect, never pitched for the Mariners and has been toiling around in the minors with mixed results in the Rays, Mets, and Diamondbacks organizations since his eight innings with the Padres in 2017.
Taylor, who hits free agency this offseason, has been worth 14.8 fWAR, including a 4.8 fWAR season in 2017, his first full season with the Dodgers.
This trade serves as the worst of Dipoto’s Mariners career, at least so far. There are some contenders, however.
RHP Freddy Peralta, RHP Daniel Missaki, IF Carlos Herrera to Milwaukee for 1B Adam Lind: December 9, 2015
Peralta spent 2014 in rookieball . Lind had one year of control left. The Brewers developed Peralta into the majors in 2018 where he’s been serviceable as a reliever and spot starter, and in 2021 he’s been terrific in 19 starts. He’s on his way to a 4-win season and the Brewers control his contract for two more seasons.
LHP Ryan Yarbrough, SS Carlos Vargas to Tamp Bay for Drew LHP Smyly: January 11, 2017
While this one is totally fine in process, it just didn’t work out since Smyly never was healthy for Seattle. Yarbrough has been a useful arm for Tampa Bay since 2018, tallying 5.7 fWAR, including 2.7 in 141.2 innings in 2019 and 1.2 in 114 innings this season. The Rays control his contract for two more seasons.
Smyly was coming off Tommy John but ended up missing a second full season in 2018 and hit free agency that winter.
This one is the top contender to the Lee-Taylor trade, especially with Phelps pitching just 10 games for the Mariners and then requiring surgery that would force him out of 2018 entirely.
Hernandez and Schiraldi are out of affiliated baseball, and while the 25-year-old Lopez was below league average over his first two big-league seasons he has been particularly good this season for the Marlins, with two more seasons of club control remaining.
Healy struggled to hit for average for one-plus seasons and was DFA’d after an injury-riddled 2019. He did hit 31 homers in 180 games for Seattle, and Campos is still in Low-A ball at 21, but Pagan has been a madly inexpensive and useful middle reliever — better than that at times — for the A’s and Padres.
Rumbelow is now out of baseball and struggled to throw strikes in 16 games for Seattle in 2018-19. Sears, now 25, is in Double-A for the Yankees pitching well, but no path to consistent big-league opportunities.
Then, who was 17 at the time of the trade, was good in 11 starts for the Yankees rookie club in 2018 before being reacquired by the Mariners a year later.
While this trade certainly goes down as a loss, it was a very worthy wager to make at the time, since the reason Dipoto made it was to acquire as much slot money as possible in attempt to land Shohei Ohtani.
Torres is out of affiliated ball, Dugger struggled in the big leagues for the Fish and is now back with the Mariners, and Neidert has been knocked around in 10 games in the majors.
While I understood this trade at the time, I didn’t like it because I didn’t see the upside in Powell or Riefenhauser.
Miller gave Tampa 2.3 fWAR and a 30-homer season, Morrison posted 3.7 fWAR for the Rays led by a 3.2-win 2017 season. Farquhar struggled in Tampa but Powell, Karns, nor Riefenhauser gave Seattle anything, the latter never throwing a pitch in the organization.
Did this trade hurt the club’s future? No, and it actually saveda bit of salary. But it didn’t help the present, either.
While Dipoto was simply looking for hidden value and it was worth the risk of the upside of the players going out, getting no long-term pieces in return makes this one a clear loss.
Ah yes, this is the deal when Dipoto took AJ Preller to the woodshed and gave him a whoopin’. Apparently one he asked for, too.
France is already a 120 wRC+ bat with more on the way and four years of club control after 2021, and Luis Torrens has refined his game after early-season struggles. Trammell has flashed but struggled overall in the majors, but is just 23 and has added more power potential to his profile. Munoz may make his Mariners debut in September and has HLR potential.
The Padres side of this? Well, early it’s been rough. Nola hit just .217/.314/.383 in 18 games after the trade last season, and has played in just 24 games this season, batting .222/.354/.317.
Altavilla has made just two appearances this season for having Tommy John surgery in June. He was solid in 8.2 innings last September.
Adams has been just OK in 47 games in 2021, posting 0.4 fWAR. He didn’t pitch for Seattle last season prior to the trade and managed just four innings after the deal.
The Padres need Nola to give them value over the next four years, but even if he does it’s not likely San Diego justifies the trade package in isolation.
Williams, who is now on the 60-day IL with a knee injury, made one appearance last season for the Padres, then five more this season before he got hurt. But even we assume he was an average middle reliever, Brash’s development this season as a potential mid-rotation starter makes this an easy and significant win for the Mariners.
Yep, that’s right, this is a coup for the Mariners.
I expect Graveman to be good for the Astros for two months and perhaps into October, and I hope and believe they have a good chance to get more out of Rafael Montero — Brent Strom is as good a pitching coach as there is, and Montero has had success in the majors.
But, Graveman hits free agency after the season — at which time if they feel like it Seattle can get involved, just like they could if they hadn’t traded him — and Toro looks the part of an everyday bat that can handle second base, a position the Mariners lack internal options. Toro also comes with control through 2025, with team-friendly salaries all the way there, which allows the club to spend money and trade assets on another bat or two, and impact starting pitching.
Smith is a rental throw-in, but he’s off to a good start and might be able to hold onto his roster spot the rest of the year.
This is a no-brainer win for the Mariners regardless of what Graveman does or when he does it.
The Mariners righted a wrong when they traded Then for Rumbelow two years prior, and Then is developing in High-A this summer, showing mid-90s heat and an above-average slider. He may be a reliever long-term, but he’s added strength to his frame and may hold in a starting role.
Encarnacion was pretty good for the Yankees — .249/.325/.531 with 13 homers in 44 games — but Seattle gets a very good arm with a chance to help for several years, and even if it’s entirely out of the bullpen this is a victory deal for Dipoto.
LHP Nick Wells, cash to Washington for RHP Austin Adams: May 4, 2019
This one speaks for itself. Adams helped the club get the France-led package from the Padres the following August and Wells, now 25, is pitching in relief in Triple-A for the Nationals.
RHP Jesus Ozoria to San Francisco for C Tom Murphy: March 29, 2019
Ozoria, 23, is out of affiliated baseball. Murphy posted 3.2 fWAR in 2019, missed all of 2020 with a knee injury and has been worth a win in 2021 despite a terribly slow start at the plate. He’s under club control for two more seasons, and if he finishes strong at the plate may be a valuable trade piece for the Mariners this winter.
This deal, part of a three-teamer with Tampa, is an extension of the deal that follows in this list, turned into Juan Then, so …
In addition to the Segura-Crawford portion of this transaction, it led to the deal that led to the deal that landed Juan Then.
Segura has been fine for the Phillies, posting 5.5 fWAR through August 2. He has two years of control remaining, including a team option for 2023.
Crawford has compiled 4.0 fWAR through August 2, and the Mariners control his contract for three more seasons and far more team-friendly costs than Segura.
Pazos and Nicasio gave the Phillies next-to-nothing. Nicasio was worth 0.5 fWAR in 2019 and is now on MLB’s restricted list for what’s listed as ‘personal reasons’ after seeing time with the Rangers in 2020.
Pazos never pitched for the Phillies.
Moore struggled in Tampa, came back to Seattle and struggled there and the last time he was seen in pro ball was in one appearance for Class-A Lakeland in the Tigers organization.
Romero, now 24, made his way to Triple-A earlier this season, but has so far stalled there in two subpar starts. Still a chance he helps the Rays in some capacity.
Span hit .272/.329/.435 for the Mariners for four-plus months and worth a win over replacement.
Colome was worth nearly a half a win out of the bullpen and then was trade for Omar Narvaez, who posted 1.8 fWAR for the Mariners in 2019 and was then traded for Adam Hilland Connor Phillips. Phillips is my No. 11 prospect.
It was an unfair fight, but Brodie Van Wagenen picked it. The Mets covered about half of Cano’s remaining money ($120 million total) and has received 2.6 fWAR from Diaz, and 2.0 fWAR from Cano for their troubles.
Even in all his struggles, Dunn has been worth 0.3 fWAR, and Kelenic is just getting started — so far it’s been a struggled, but he just turned 22 and we all know the direction this is headed, regardless of where the kid lands in terms of ceiling.
The Mariners released Gerson Bautista, and Swarzak struggled before he was traded to the Braves for Jessie Biddle.
The Mets can’t win this deal no matter what Diaz does for them, because essentially, they paid big freight in talent and took on huge money of a risky player in age and availability to do it.
For the record, Cano still is owed $48 million over the next two seasons, and $40.5 of that is owed by the Mets. The Mariners, in taking back Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak, paid most of their portion of Cano’s money up front.
Colome had one year left and was set to make more than $7 million, a figure that made no sense for Seattle to carry in 2019, Year 1 of the big rebuild.
Ascanio is in Triple-A for the Cardinals, batting .197/.266/.346 and age 25. He’s a fringe minor leaguer at this point.
Leake was worth 1.2 fWAR in five starts in September, 2017, and 2.3 fWAR in 2018. He struggled in 2019, but was still worth 1.3 fWAR in 22 starts before being traded to Arizona to be close to family.
While Leake was far from an impact acquisition, the Mariners received $15 million cash from St. Louis to help cover the remainder of his salary. Zero risk, medium reward. Win.
Cash to San Diego for RHP Nick Vincent: March 30, 2016
Vincent was acquired for essentially nothing and posted 2.7 fWAR at league minimum salaries for three seasons in Seattle. There were times he was their best reliever.
There are also several deals that appear to be fairly even for now , including the trade that sent James Paxton to the Yankees. Justus Sheffield has yet to get on track, though he still has time. Erik Swanson is now a full-time reliever. Paxton gave the Yankees 3.8 fWAR in two seasons — 3.5 of that in Year 1.
Sheffield and Swanson each have four more seasons to provide value, but so far, considering salary — the Yankees paid Paxton $21 million — this is basically a wash so far, with a chance to turn in Seattle’s favor.
The deal that swapped two seasons of C Mike Zunino, OF Guillero Heredia and LHP Michael Plassmeyer for OFs Mallex Smith and Jake Fraley might appear a steal for the Rays, but in those two years Zunino hit 13 homers in 118 games and batted .161/.233/.323 and 0.3 fWAR. Zunino’s 2021 season was purchased via free agency.
Heredia was worth 0.3 fWAR in 89 games. Plassmeyer never pitched for the Rays, but was traded this season for RHP Matt Wisler, who has been great, posting 0.8 fWAR in 20 games. Wisler has one more year of club control, and is the Rays last hope to gain value of the original trade.
Smith didn’t help Seattle at all (-0.6 fWAR) over two years, but after intermittent stints worth nearly -1.0 fWAR, Fraley is rolling up value and is now a net 0.2 and counting. Fraley’s club control runs through 2026.
The November 2016 trade that sent RHP Taijuan Walker and SS Ketel Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for SS Jean Segura, OF Mitch Haniger, and RHP Zac Curtus is edge Seattle at this point, but not a wide margin. That could change, however, in either direction.
Marte has one more season of organic control remaining has given Arizona 12.0 fWAR thus far. Walker got hurt and ended his Snakes career with 32 starts and 2.6 fWAR. To date, Walker and Marte have cost the D-Backs $26.9 million, including the entirety of Marte’s 2021 salary.
Seattle, however, did well, too, getting 6.6 fWAR from Segura in two seasons, paying Segura $15.8 million total, whole netting 10.3 fWAR for $7.1 million. That’s 16.9 fWAR at $22.9 million versus Arizona’s 14.6 fWAR at $26.9 million.
But wait. Seattle traded Segura to the Philadelphia Phillies in a deal that returned JP. Crawford. Crawford’s 4.0 fWAR through August 2 at $3.2 million, we’re already at $26.1 million and 20.0 fWAR for the Mariners.
Marte’s two remaining seasons in Arizona have to be awfully good to catch the Mariners in this trade, and because Haniger has a year left and Crawford has three, it’s difficult seeing this ending up remotely close.
But it’s far from a blowout, and injuries (Walker’s TJ, Haniger’s core issues and Marte’s injuries this season) have impacted the results.
O’Neill has had a great year in 2021, posting 2.2 fWAR, getting him up to 4.0 fWAR in parts of four season in the Cardinals organization. O’Neill is under control for three more seasons after 2021.
Gonzales, however, has a large head start. He’s posted 9.5 fWAR for the Mariners since the trade, and has two more organic control seasons remaining after 2021.
We’ll see on this one, but O’Neill is going to have to be awfully good to make this a race. I don’t see it.
Jason A. Churchill
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