This is not what I hope will happen, this is mostly the pessimist in me assuming this is the offseason Jerry Dipoto descends into self-parody.
With no serious baseball fans in the family, no cable, and slow internet growing up, I first learned about pro baseball from the card game MLB Showdown, and if I have retained nothing else from that game, it's that Jerry Dipoto has problems with control.
There are many theories on here about why Jerry Dipoto makes trades at a breakneck pace, often seemingly for their own sake. Some call it an addiction or a compulsion, but this offseason prediction is based off of an alternative theory: Dipoto just really likes chatting with other MLB GMs and ends up making a bunch of low-impact trades in the process. Based on what I've seen so far, we've seen the extent of what Jerry does in trades, and with the current talent on the roster, a change in direction is unlikely.
Nothing Compares to Yu
As we all know, Jerry is an avid reader of Lookout Landing and attempts to go for the key to the offseason plan. Unfortunately, the Cubs make Yu Darvish an outlandish offer with an AAV exceeding $30 million. Theo Epstein prepares a similarly personalized presentation like he gave Jon Lester two years ago in which the announcer calls Darvish's world series clinching start, making many references to reedeming his performance in October. Still, Jerry considers outbidding them, when two Angels appear on his shoulders. Those Angels are C.J. Wilson and Josh Hamilton and he thinks better of it. Jerry calls Theo Epstein to congratulate him. Theo is playing Pearl Jam covers on his guitar when he picks up. Jerry says that Mark Trumbo has ruined Pearl Jam for him. They do not discuss trades.
Waiting for the other Shohei to drop
Do you know where Otani is going? It's probably not Seattle, but maybe it is! But not in this timeline. He goes to the Yankees because the world is an unfair place. The international slot money goes to one of the Braves' prospects, but not Kevin Maitan because the world is an unfair place. Yunior Severino has a fun name and the Mariners need some high-upside prospects in the middle infield. Jerry calls Brian Cashman to congratulate him, but is forced to leave an uncomfortable voicemail which Cashman does not return.
Trading for another Marco Gonzales
While talking to Dave Dombrowski about coffee roasting techniques, Jerry realizes he can add some rotation depth with his favorite kind of player. A flyballing old rookie left handed former first round pick with a low ceiling and a high floor with significant risk of Tommy John surgery. If you were to combine all of Dipoto's acquisitions into a single player, the result would be Brian Johnson. The Red Sox are discussing moving Brian Johnson to the bullpen, despite his lack of putaway pitches and stuff that probably won't play up. Rzepcynski is a much better reliever with a proven track record, while Johnson has looked better in the majors than Marco Gonzales and lacks the dingeritis of Ariel Miranda, but has no place in Boston's rotation. Dombrowski asks for more and Dan Vogelbach is thrown in so the Red Sox can hedge their bets in the free agent market and not rely on Sam Travis. Johnson wears #51 for his love of Ichiro.
A low-impact, six-player deal with the Rays
This happens every few months, so it'll probably happen this offseason. The Rays are sure to have some more Ryan Gartons and C.J. Reifenhausers lying around, play our cards right and they might even include another Richie Shaffer! Rays GM Erik Neander and Jerry discus roof racks for their Crossover SUVs. Erik says he is hoping to acquire a five Thule player for next summer but the pun does not translate over the phone.
Mike Tauchman is a 26 year old outfielder who hit .331/.386/.555 for the Rockies AAA team in 2017. The Rockies like Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, and Raimel Tapia more, and with the abundance of mediocre first basemen who could hit 35 homers in Coors available this offseason, they move Ian Desmond to the outfield. Tauchman struggled in 2016 and was unranked as a prospect last offseason, but played mostly played centerfield last year while being relatively unimpressive in his limited cup of coffee last year. The Rockies want cost-controlled relief pitching with three of their top relievers hitting free agency, and receive Nick Vincent and Art Warren in return. Rockies GM Jeff Bridich discusses his cannabutter cooking technique. Jerry says whenever he eats edibles he thinks about the difficulty of pitching at Coors Field and ends up trading away Mark Trumbo.
The Mariners still have money to burn! Raise The Floor!
With their bullpen depth depleted from trading high leverage bullpen arms to fill holes in the lineup, Dipoto signs Anthony Swarzak to add to the collection of devastating sliders on a 2 year, $15 million deal with the second year as a vesting option with a lot of gimmicky bonuses.
Trading for another Mike Leake/ Wade Miley
There is a pitcher who has made 30 starts every year this decade, yet his team is unhappy with his contract and is willing to eat some of the salary to offload their 5-year contract singed after the 2015 season. The Mariners always need reliable innings. Such a player is available this offseason, and Jerry remembers him fondly from his days on the Diamondbacks during his interim tenure there. Unfortunately, that pitcher is Ian Kennedy. Dayton Moore absorbs $18 million of Ian Kennedy's contract in exchange for an unpromising prospect like, uh, Joe Decarlo? He vows to never make a mistake like that in free agency again, and proceeds to sign Eric Hosmer to a nine-figure contract while counting on Nate Karns and Sam Gaviglio to fill out the rotation. The Angels on Jerry's shoulder weep for both transactions.
Business is other people's money
Drew Smyly is non-tendered and but accepts a 2-year, $7 million deal.
Unwilling to sacrifice a draft pick even under the new rules, and unwilling to commit to the previously unreliable Alex Cobb, the Mariners sign both Jaime Garcia to a 2-year, $22 million contract with a vesting option for a third year that definitely won't happen.
Looking to add more depth a better platoon partner for Ben Gamel and the new Ben Gamel than Guillermo Heredia, Carlos Gomez is signed to a 2-year, $18 million dollar contract with several performance bonuses.
Trading a better player for an optionable player
The Garcia signing pushes Erasmo Ramirez out of the rotation. As he is out of options but has far higher upside than many free agents available once Spring Training begins, he is traded to a team who is unexpectedly devastated by starting pitching injuries. It's hard to predict who that team would be, but I'm going to do my best to make an educated guess (it's the Mets). Jerry receives a call from Mets GM Sandy Alderson while at a Goodwill in Surprise, AZ. The Mets have significant high minors middle infield depth and send light hitting middle infielder Matt Reynolds to the Mariners to compete with Motter and Romine for a bench spot. Jerry was going to acquire a Micah Owings bobblehead for a one-year $5.99 contract but was too distracted by the phone call.
Jerry returns to the Goodwill the following week but is unable to find it. The bobblehead would have been valuable rotation depth.
How does the team looks after all that?
|Name||Projected Usage||Projected fWAR||2018 Salary (millions)|
|SS Jean Segura||616 PA||2.0||9.5|
|RF Mitch Haniger||574 PA||1.7||0.5|
|2B Robinson Cano||616 PA||3.1||24|
|DH Nelson Cruz||630 PA||2.8||14|
|3B Kyle Seager||616 PA||3.6||18.5|
|1B Ryon Healy||574 PA||0.3||0.5|
|C Mike Zunino||480 PA||2.6||4|
|CF Carlos Gomez||400 PA||1.1||9|
|LF Ben Gamel||350 PA||0.4||0.5|
|C Mike Marjama||150 PA||0.3||0.5|
|OF Mike Tauchman||300 PA||-0.1||0.5|
|OF Guillermo Heredia||150 PA||0.2||0.5|
|UTIL Andrew Romine||150 PA||0||2|
|LHP James Paxton||176 IP||3.6||5|
|RHP Felix Hernandez||162 IP||2||26.9|
|RHP Mike Leake||186 IP||1.9||12|
|LHP Jaime Garcia||168 IP||2.2||11|
|RHP Ian Kennedy||167 IP||0.7||10|
|CL Edwin Diaz||65 IP||1.5||0.5|
|SU Anthony Swarzak||65 IP||0.6||7|
|SU David Phelps||55 IP||0.5||6|
|RHP Shae Simmons||45 IP||0.1||0.5|
|LHP James Pazos||55 IP||0.5||0.5|
|RHP/Bear Fighter Tony Zych||40 IP||0.2||0.5|
|LHP Aerial Miranda||60 IP||0.2||0.5|
|Additional 40-man roster||Proj. fWAR||Salary|
|LHP Brian Johnson||50||0||0.5|
|RHP Andrew Moore||50||0.1||0.5|
|LHP Marco Gonzales||45||0.4||0.5|
|LHP Andrew Albers||45||0.3||0.5|
|RHP Dan Altavilla||20||0.1||0.5|
|RHP Nick Rumbelow||20||0||0.5|
|RHP Cody Martin||15||0||0.5|
|RHP Max Povse||15||0||0.5|
|LHP Drew Smyly||20||0.1||3|
|INF Matt Reynolds||100||-0.1||0.5|
|INF Zack Vincej||80||0||0.5|
|OF Ian Miller||60||0.1||0.5|
|OF Andrew Aplin||50||0.1||0.5|
|C David Frietas||40||0||0.5|
Players on the 40-man roster who get DFA'd at some point:
The team will still be frustratingly close to being good and we will still watch, frustrated as ever. Happy hot stove season.
Edit: I have been informed that I have confused Austin Romine and Andrew Romine. I should learn which is which now that Andrew is Rom-ours.