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Mariner Innings as Mariner Trades

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pour one out for my homie Jay Bruce

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be honest: part of the fun of baseball is making a huge deal out of something that’s nothing. This is “fun” when it’s done tongue-in-cheek: obviously we know that the Mariners won’t win at a 13-3 clip for the entire season [sob], nor will Jay Bruce run a negative BABIP (how is that even possible?), but it’s funny to talk and deal in the absurdity of these things. After a game, Tim Beckham was going to be a 34 WAR player! Amazing!

But I tell you, that’s not granular enough. We need to break it down more. GET MORE GRANULAR. DEEPER. ALWAYS DEEPER. So I present to you: Mariner Innings as Mariner Trades, June 3, 2019 edition

1st inning: Chris Taylor for Zach Lee

This one is pretty bad. Pretty, pretty, pretty bad. It leaves me thinking “what the hell” a lot, even as from a baseball process it was at least defensible. You know what else this inning reminds me of? When you wake up and before you can do literally anything a kid tells you he threw up in his bed. Yes, I, a grown man, have Cory Gearrin, another grown man, metaphorically knocking on my bedroom door and waking me up with news of vomit and/or a Josh Reddick triple. I HAVEN’T EVEN HAD COFFEE AND OR BEER YET LEAVE ME ALONE.

And lest you think this is just about Chris Taylor’s breakout, Zach Lee was billed as a high-floor guy. Much like Mitch Haniger and Dan Vogelbach walking in the same inning. Neither one worked out at all.

2nd inning: Joey Cora for David Bell

This is neat! It is. A quick inning in the top, and Shed Long doing Shed Long things in the bottom. That’s great. Here’s the problem: does it mean anything? David Bell was a neat acquisition and yet put up essentially no value on Mariners teams that could really use him, then put up bananapants numbers on a team that was so good it honestly didn’t matter. Again: What monkey’s paw was rubbed in 2001 to do things like make David Bell an elite defensive third baseman? Probably the same one Mallex Smith rubs in the dugout bathroom before his home runs. Hey, why doesn’t he do that more?

3rd inning: Alex Colome for Omar Narvaez

That, readers, is how you transition. Getting an Edwin Encarnacion home run is nice. Getting a Mallex Smith home run in the same inning? BONUS. Much like I feel like we got extra pieces in this trade, because while it was 1 for 1, the “1” for us was one of the best catchers in the AL, and the “1” for them was a reliever. A good one. But a reliever.

4th inning: Greg Colbrunn for Quinton McCracken

One person in this trade, and one person in this inning, would do something interesting and/or useful for the Mariners in the context of this inning and/or trade. Neither one would matter, because the Mariners missed the playoffs and the Mariners stranded Shed Long.

5th inning: Brad Miller, Logan Morrison, and Danny Farquhar for Boog Powell, CJ Riefenhauser, and Nathan Karns

The great thing about baseball trades is, like innings, they come in literally all shapes and sizes. You can come up with whatever kind of inning and I guarandamntee you you can find a trade that matches. And like innings, most trades end up being a lot more boring than you think they might be. What do we have here? Power hitters for the Mariners coming to the plate, and the Astros, well, they’re the Astros. Fireworks galore, surely! Let’s get a Ken Griffey trade or a Randy Johnson trade. Nope. This is a trade that looked so neat and interesting. And yet? The best piece in here is, uh, I don’t know, a bit player first baseman? Remind me never to fall in love with a young Mariner again oh hey Jarred I didn’t see you over there.

6th inning: Vicente Campos and Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi

Here’s the thing about this inning: like that ridiculous and abysmal trade, it mostly just upsets me to think about it. But like this trade, while it was not, uh, good, it didn’t end up being *all* that bad. Was that because of luck, partially or mostly? Yes. Do I care? No. Jesus Montero was very bad. But Michael Pineda blew out his arm was actually pretty good until he did that and much like this inning, in my head it didn’t seem that bad and in reality it was the nail in the coffin for this cursed franchise/anemic offense that can’t help do anything good

7th inning: Danny Tartabull and Rick Luecken for Scott Bankhead, Steve Shields, and Mike Kinger

There are a lot of angles to take on this trade. It was once covered on this site, for reasons that are unclear but entertaining.* Here’s the thing, with the benefit of hindsight. This trade did not make one bit of cow shit’s worth of difference to the Seattle Mariners. It would be 9 years before they would make the playoffs. Tartabull’s good years would be in years where the Mariners would not contend. The return on this trade was not useful, in terms of seeing actual on-field success. On balance, like the 7th inning, it was a slightly negative and meaningless experience. Hello and welcome to Lookout Landing.

*note to self: make “unclear but entertaining” personal brand in 2020

8th inning: Luis Rengifo and Anthony Misiewicz for Ryan Garton and Mike Marjama

At this point, ennui starts to settle in at a truly spiritual level. Rather than excitedly evaluate a trade you start to look ahead to fall: apple cider, thanksgiving, college football’s postseason. Like that 2017 season, it’s at this point in a 7pm start that I start to let my mind wander to the pillow. There’s just one problem: Mike Marjama retired to pursue a laudable career and Luis Rengifo is lobbing bombs all over the AL. Another sleepless night for me.

9th inning: Dustin Ackley for Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez

Honestly, who cares? All of these players are bad and useless. Dustin Ackley is worse than every single current Mariner and was once drafted second overall. Three different franchises gave him four different opportunities and couldn’t fix him, and one of those franchises was maybe the most storied sports enterprise of all time. He’s bad, and remains bad, and the return was bad, and remains bad. On balance, this trade was the epitome of a quiet 9th inning in a meaningless game in a lost year, all played on draft night where we can dream on future Dustin Ackleys, or Jarred Kelenics, or Jake Fraleys, or DJ Petersons. The Mariners lost this game 4-2, and the real game was played in Seacaucus, New Jersey.