Tonight, while you were baking pies or boozing it up with high school friends and remembering why you never really liked them, Jerry Dipoto was active, always active, putting together a trade with the new Diamondbacks GM, Mike Hazen. Here’s what happened:
RHP Taijuan Walker
SS/INF Ketel Marte
2B/SS Jean Segura
OF Mitch Haniger
LHP Zac Curtis
To break down the trade for you, we have the managing editor of Seattle’s SBN site, Lookout Landing, Kate Preusser, along with Writer/Senior Editor of AZ Snakepit, Charlie Gebow.
KATE: Charlie. What the hell, Charlie. I am three beers deep and thinking about frosting these cookies and idly check Instagram to see Ketel Marte is calling himself a Diamondback. Well, technically a “diacmoback” but maybe Ketel is also in his cups.
CHARLIE: I’m shocked as well. I am three deep in Rum and Cokes and watching old MST3K episodes when that tweet came up and I was like “Dammit, I wanted to sleep soon.” I think everyone involved may be drunk considering how gamechanging the trade is for both teams.
KATE: Did they just hope we wouldn’t notice??? Do you guys not celebrate Thanksgiving down there or something?
CHARLIE: Unlike other holidays in the past, Thanksgiving is well-liked in Arizona. Maybe Jerry and Mike just have a flair for the dramatic newsdump.
KATE: We’ve seen a trend towards this in Seattle; Jerry’s last major move, in which he dumped off promising minor-league pitcher Zack Littell in exchange for the LHP Jeff Pazos, also happened on a Friday. It’s like he thinks we won’t notice if he tells us our favorite players are going to live on a farm upstate.
CHARLIE: Oh yeah. Jerry’s time as interim GM down here had him make two moves that basically changed the franchise long-term, but also sent Dan Haren to Anaheim, which seems cruel. (I might be pandering)
KATE: Okay, let’s talk about the pieces in flux here. Let’s deal with the big names first. Seattle fans are probably shocked at the team sending away Taijuan Walker, who is young and full of promise and has put together a few dominant outings. However, word on the playground was the team is not happy with his conditioning nor his work ethic, so I did have a suspicion he’d be moved this off-season.
CHARLIE: He makes sense from the Diamondbacks perspective. The past two seasons have been marred by subpar pitching, and acquiring depth there makes sense. He was rumored to be one of the pieces coming to Arizona in the reportedly vetoed Justin Upton trade in the 2012-2013 offseason.
KATE: In Tai, the D-backs are getting a player who is young, dynamic, and volatile. He will strike out a ton of guys (almost an 8/K9), but he will also struggle with command at times (2.5 BB/9) and has been known to have a dinger problem (1.8 HR/9). One of the main knocks on Tai is he leans very heavily on his fastball, which is excellent, but his secondary offerings aren’t quite there and if the fastball command is off, it can be a rough day at the ballpark. Fans in Seattle have been waiting for Tai to turn a corner forever; maybe that finally happens in Arizona.
CHARLIE: The main piece for the Mariners is Jean Segura. Segura was acquired to much derision last offseason for Aaron Hill, Chase Anderson, and prospect Isan Diaz. It was odd, to say the least, considering Segura had a few months of good baseball then fell off the face of the earth. He dunked on all the haters by putting up the best season of his career with a .319/.368.499 slash line with 20 dingers. Some of that was chalked up to change of scenery and some of that was chalked up to working on his swing in the offseason last year (coincidentally, one of the people he worked with was his new Middle Infield mate Robinson Cano) Of course, he had a BABIP of .353, which never seems sustainable, even though he did sustain it last year. From the Diamondbacks perspective this definitely feels like selling high on a guy who could come down to Earth next season.
KATE: Mariners fans might also be uneasy about that 5.6% BB rate, which looks enormous next to 2.2% (!!!!!) for 2015. Why in the world would a team that’s obsessed with C-ing the Z bring him on?
CHARLIE: Yeah, he’s never had a particularly good walk rate. He’s one of those guys whose offensive value is very batting average driven, which is weird in 2016. He does, however, give you decent defense in the Middle Infield.
KATE: So, have the Mariners acquired someone who can be an everyday SS?
CHARLIE: I would say yes.
KATE: Okay, so let’s move on to examining the Ketel Marte part of the trade. Marte was an unheralded prospect who arose to become one of the most fun parts of the Mariners’ dismal 2015. Although his K/BB% was always troubling, he brings plus defense and had a down year this year because of a series of injuries and also contracting mono, which--on a guy who runs 6’0”/175--was especially devastating. He can definitely step into the everyday SS role for the D-Backs.
CHARLIE: I would be tickled if that is the case. The Diamondbacks have an interesting Middle Infield situation. Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed, and maybe Brandon Drury, and a few guys in the minors, are all promising in various ways, but a good defensive shortstop who can hit a little is definitely a plus (provided he’s feeling better, of course.)
KATE: Go follow him on Instagram; he posts his workouts. He’s definitely a grinder. Okay, so what else do the Mariners get in this trade?
CHARLIE: The next piece in terms of probably impact is Mitch Haniger. Mitch was originally acquired by the Diamondbacks in the trade that sent Gerardo Parra to Milwaukee. He had a monster season in Triple-A, even by Reno standards, and got a callup to the majors at the end of the season. He’s 25 so still fairly young, but his majors stint wasn’t anything too special, but there were flashes. He can play all three outfield positions with some competency, and had he stayed on the Diamondbacks, he probably would have been the fourth outfielder on the depth chart.
KATE: What the HELL, Jerry, how many fourth outfielders do you need. I’m going to do a special Hoarders episode with Jerry and fringy outfielders. Throw him on the pile with Gamel, Heredia, and Boog, I guess. What’s the deal with this other dude?
CHARLIE: Zac Curtis is basically a throw-in. He’s a left-handed reliever who started the 2016 season in High-A, went straight to the Majors at one point when the bullpen was taxed, then sort of vacillated between the Majors and Double-A the rest of the year. Also, look up a picture of him. I’ll wait
KATE: Well, between him and Thyago Vieria, we are definitely going to be the glasses posse. The Nerd Herd? The Fearsome Four-Eyed? I’m actually pretty impressed with this write-up I read on Curtis; it seems like he’s got more than a typical two-pitch reliever arsenal, AND he’s left-handed. He might be my lowkey favorite part of this trade.
CHARLIE: On my end, I’m not sure how he would have fit in with the 2017 Diamondbacks, but one fewer piece of bullpen depth can be concerning, but considering the other parts of this trade, that’s probably a decent trade-off. A trade-off to a trade. Probably need more cocktails.
KATE: You know that’s right. Cheers, Charlie. Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s hope our respective GMs leave us in peace tomorrow.
CHARLIE: I’m gonna be at my mom’s house in rural Arizona tomorrow, so I hope not. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!
Follow Charlie on Twitter @CLEFOAINTACRIME and the more smartass stuff on @AZSnakepit (you definitely should); follow Kate @1nceagain2zelda or half the time @LookoutLanding (you probably shouldn’t)