It’s dinnertime on the West Coast and much of the league has ground to a standstill awaiting the results of the CBA negotiations, which means naturally it’s time for a trade from Jerry.
OF Alex Jackson
RHP Rob Whalen
RHP Max Povse
The name Alex Jackson may hurt to see departing, but at this point that should more be based on opportunity cost than tangible lost assets. Jackson is a under a month from his 21st birthday and will be entering his 4th year in the minor leagues in 2017 having yet to display an ability to make enough contact to unlock the massive power that made him the 6th overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft (ugh). In Single-A Clinton this year, he slashed a respectable .243/.332/.408, with a 120 wRC+ and 11 home runs in 381 plate appearances. He also posted a ghastly 103/34 K/BB and had lingering questions about his attitude dog him through his time in the system. Jackson is young enough to still develop into something, but could just as easily fade entirely in a year and lose any remaining value.
The return boosts the Mariners’ rotational depth in the short term, while providing a glint of promise for the future in the rotation as well. Rob Whalen made his MLB debut in 2016 and in five starts was exactly replacement level. The 22 year old righty has posted a K/9 just above 8 in the minors, and showed the ability to get strikeouts in the MLB in his brief 24.2 IP as well. Whalen mixes several pitches in, working a fastball that sits just below 90 mph with a sinker and slider, as well as a changeup and curveball. He was shut down early last year as a precautionary measure but should be healthy in plenty of time to compete for a rotation spot. If you put Zack Littell in a time machine and took him out a year or two later, you might likely have a player resembling Whalen, with a high floor and back-of-the-rotation ability.
Max Povse (Pohv-zee) is probably the biggest get for the M’s, and one of the largest swings in ease of pronunciation at a glance to difficulty in a deal in recent memory. Povse was a 3rd round pick in 2014 and is listed as 6’8(!), 185(!!), and has the size and ability to be a consistent MLB starter. He should immediately slot in as one of, if not THE top pitching prospect in the Mariners’ system. Atlanta was flush with pitching prospects and the M’s hopefully have found a strong future contributor in the righty nicknamed the “Tall Wall”. Povse works a fastball in the low to mid-90s, a strong changeup, and a curveball and remarkable ability to C the Z. In AA last year, Povse walked just 1.53 per nine innings. Here is a link to an excellent sequence and strikeout from the preposterously lanky 23 year old.
The PTBNL is a wild card. It seems reasonable that the Mariners might deal from their extensive collection of ~4th outfielders to complete the deal. Someone like Boog Powell, whose eligibility to play is contingent on avoiding future violations, could be included, or a player viewed as a mid-tier prospect at a position that is blocked at the MLB level for the foreseeable future. The quality of the PTBNL may swing whether this deal leaves a sweet or sour taste going through into next season.