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Best case/worst case scenarios for each of the players acquired in the Paul Sewald trade

What to hope for, and what to accept, from the trio of players coming in return from Arizona

Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks
ahhhh what is this and how did it get stuck to my hand???
Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Predicting player trajectories is difficult stuff and of course, there’s always the possibility these players exceed our wildest expectations, or fall through the subfloor into the basement. But we’re working within the likeliest band of expectations here and sampling from the high and low versions of that based on past performance and future projection.

INF Josh Rojas

Arizona Diamondbacks v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Floor: 2023 Sam Haggerty

Ceiling: Trent Grisham with an infielder’s glove

Why the Mariners like him:

The Mariners value versatility, and while Rojas is an average defender, he can play all over the diamond. The Mariners also value getting on base, and Rojas has been able to do that at a pretty solid clip as a pro, putting up very pesky at-bats that often end in walks and rarely in strikeouts. He’s a lefty bat but can hit to all fields with a slight preference to pull for power, which should play well at T-Mobile Park. He doesn’t make loud contact, but he does make consistent line drive contact, another thing that should play well, even at T-Mobile.

Why Mariners fans will like him:

Despite being traded away from his hometown team, Rojas will bring the good vibes. He was the D’Backs Roberto Clemente nominee in 2022. He gives tender hugs. He’s clearly got rhythm and will fit right in with the infield celebration dance.

Also, he can laugh at himself, which is incredibly important if you’re going to be a Seattle Mariner.

OF/1B Dominic Canzone

St. Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Floor: Ben Gamel

Ceiling: Ben Gamel with power, which is... left-side Anthony Santander?

Why the Mariners like him:

Canzone fits the style of players the Mariners have drafted and acquired in recent years, and very likely was on the Mariners’ draft radar in 2019, when they took Brandon Williamson in the second round. Canzone entered that draft with the “Cape Cod bump” the Mariners like in their prospects; he was an All-Star that summer on the Cape after being a proven college performer at Ohio State, and has also spent time in the Arizona Fall League. Canzone made a swing change in 2021 to try to cut down on the enormous leg kick he had in college while still elevating the ball, which is so far paying dividends without costing him his above-average plate discipline; he is an analytics darling, which we recognize is a triggering phrase for many of you who remember the same appellation being given to one Abraham Toro. Reno is a launching pad, but Canzone was still registering triple-digit exit velos, and that ability to hit the ball hard seemed to come along to Chase Field with him, as he can barrel up the ball. He also makes a ton of contact, but can swing too often, creating less-than-ideal contact. Canzone also fits the Mariners’ pattern of acquiring blocked prospects, as there wasn’t much opportunity for Canzone in Arizona’s stacked outfield.

Why Mariner fans will like him:

Canzone doesn’t have much of a social media presence, which he calls “very toxic, in general”—so if you like a smart ballplayer, that’s your guy—so you’ll have to be content with what he produces on the field. If you love to see a hitter punish the high fastball, Canzone can do that with ease:

INF Ryan Bliss

Springfield Cardinals v Amarillo Sod Poodles Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

Floor: Never a big leaguer due to contact & defensive limitations

Ceiling: Compact Whit Merrifield

Why the Mariners like him:

It’s a little bit of a chicken/egg scenario: do the Mariners love former high draft choices, or do they hunt the athleticism and skill set that tends to come with a high draft choice? Either way, there’s a pattern: the most obvious is J.P. Crawford, Philly’s 16th overall pick in 2013, but they’ve also tried out other wayward former first-rounders like Tim Beckham (first overall pick in 2008), Justin Dunn (19th overall in 2016), Logan Warmoth (22nd overall in 2017), Patrick Wisdom (first round, 2012), as well as not-first-round-but-still-high draft picks like Jake Fraley (Competitive Balance B, 2016).

Bliss was a second-rounder in 2021 (albeit an under-slot one to help the D-Backs afford sixth overall pick Jordan Lawlar’s price tag) with speed and athleticism pointing to a future in the middle infield, although many scouts now see that future at second base rather than shortstop (although the knock on him has been arm strength, and we’ve seen how Perry Hill can help players not well-regarded in that department, like Eugenio Suárez). Bliss is less of a finished product then the other two players in this deal but comes with some irrefutable tools, like his plus speed (30+ stolen bases each of his full pro seasons) and ability to control the zone; that plus his defensive abilities give the Mariners plenty to work with. Despite a power surge that’s led him to hitting some massive bombs in the minors, there are some potential questions about how Bliss can adjust to big-league pitching; with a short-armed swing and quick wrists, he’s able to adjust to pitches all over the zone, and is especially good at getting to the low pitch, but some scouts see a lot of moving parts in his swing and wonder if he’ll be able to catch up to big-league velocity.

The Seattle Mariners might try to temper Bliss’s swing some, but a lot depends on whether they develop him as a Tony Kemp-style slap hitter or try to let the power play in searching for the elusive Altuve.

We liked Bliss way back in 2021, as a potential draft target for the Mariners, and guess what, he’s here now.

Why Mariner fans will like him:

There’s lots of other reasons but we like this one: