• Chris Lollis

St. Louis Cardinals: Trade Partner Seattle Mariners?

During the annual GM meetings, there is a lot of talk surrounding the Seattle Mariners interest of being sellers. Despite an 89-73 record last season (the 6th most wins in team history), they missed the playoffs for a 17th straight year and have the longest playoff drought in the major leagues.

Seattle has questions surrounding many of their players going forward. Felix Hernandez had his career worst season. Dee Gordon with an undefined position. Kyle Seager’s numbers declining. Robinson Cano’s contract.

The Mariners did have some bright spots with outfielders Nelson Cruz and Mitch Haniger, closer Edwin Diaz and shortstop Jean Segura being named AL All-Stars in 2018.

If GM Jerry Dipoto does indeed decide to tear it down, should John Mozeliak & Michael Girsch hit them up to be trade partners this off-season?

They have had a recent history of deals with the Cardinals trading Marco Gonzales to the M’s for Tyler O’Neill in 2017 and Mike Leake for Rayder Ascanio shortly after. This past season, St. Louis parted with Sam Tuivailala to Seattle for pitching prospect Seth Elledge.

The Cardinals have obvious needs looking for upgrades offensively and in the bullpen. Unsure of exactly what the Mariners are willing to part with and their asking price on players they do make available, let’s take a look at some possibilities that “could” work.

If you’re going to call on Seattle, why not ask for half of their All-Star representatives as a way of getting the conversation started? Go big or go home, right?

Edwin Diaz photo credit Rick Osentoski (USA TODAY Sports)

Edwin Diaz would be exactly what St. Louis needs in a young closer at a cost friendly price. He is currently under team control in 2019 with 3 arbitration eligible seasons through 2022. the 24 year old was lights out for Seattle in 2018 with 124 strikeouts in 73 innings pitched with an American League leading 57 saves. Diaz was also named AL Reliever of the year last season.

A player of his caliber and potential won’t come cheap, and especially if you package him with this next player.

Jean Segura photo credit Troy Taormina (USA TODAY Sports)

Jean Segura has familiarity in the NL Central with his time in Milwaukee. Last season the 28 year old Segura ended the season with a .304 avg. (his 3rd straight .300 season), and while the power numbers aren’t necessarily his strong point, the fact that he only struck out 69 times in 632 plate appearances is very impressive. He also had 20 stolen bases, making that 6 straight seasons of 20+ SB.

While Jean’s position is shortstop, it could be a fit with sliding Paul DeJong to 3B or trying his hand at the hot corner.

What would it take to pull this deal off?

Jose Martinez photo credit Sergio Estrada (USA TODAY Sports)

Nelson Cruz, who was Seattle’s DH in 2018 is a free agent unlikely to return. The Cardinals have a player in Jose Martinez who would benefit in a DH role for an American League team. So we’ll start there.

If Segura is part of this deal, the Mariners could move Dee Gordon to shortstop. Although Gordon played 53 games in the outfield, and 81 games at second due to Cano’s suspension, shortstop/second base are his natural positions. This would leave Seattle with an outfield of Haniger/Gamel/Smith (just acquired via trade with Tampa Bay), so that could be an area of interest for them.

Cardinals fans would likely prefer to see a Dexter Fowler dealt, but with the no-trade clause and contract, that maybe hard to pull off. Let’s assume St. Louis does what they did with Mike Leake and eat a good chunk of the contract in making him part of this deal. If that doesn’t work, make the outfield piece Adolis Garcia and see if that is more appeasing. With Seattle acquiring Mallex Smith from the Rays for Guillermo Heredia, outfield may no longer be at the forefront of concern.

If the trade involved Kyle Seager instead of Jean Segura, that may fill a more direct need. Not overly comparable with Jedd Gyorko, Seager is a left handed bat that has topped 20 HRs for a seventh straight season. However the 30 yr old is owed $19M the next two seasons and $18M in 2021. A risk that alone wouldn’t be a bad trade pursuit with likely not a plethora of prospects having to be dealt to get him. With Yairo Munoz the new St. Louis super utility, and Memphis infielder Tommy Edman on the rise, Jedd could be a moveable piece.

Does a Seager/Segura trade in this instance make more sense than going after a Josh Donaldson/Mike Moustakas in free agency?

The Mariners are going to want pitchers in this deal. The Cardinals have plenty to deal from. Seattle is not going to want just any arms and in the case of St. Louis valuing many of their young pitching core, it may be better to offer quantity. Luke Weaver, Mike Mayers, Daniel Poncedeleon, John Gant, John Brebbia, Dakota Hudson, Dominic Leone would field a selection, as Flaherty, Hicks, Reyes & Gomber are rightfully the most coveted.

Giovanny Gallegos, Ryan Helsley, Conner Greene, Genesis Cabrera, Jake Woodford or Landon Beck could be minor league arms to consider.

On a side note, the Mariners just traded catcher Mike Zinino to Tampa Bay so Cardinals catcher Carson Kelly could fit a need for them.

As a scenario, let’s say Mozeliak/Girsch offer:

Jose Martinez

Carson Kelly or Jedd Gyorko

Luke Weaver or Dakota Hudson

Mike Mayers

Ryan Helsley

for Edwin Diaz & Jean Segura or Kyle Seager

Is that enough? Is that too much? Are there other arms mentioned in the Cardinals young core that you would swap to make this work? Or, is a Diaz/Segura or Seager trade not something you’d like to see St. Louis pursue?

Feel free to leave feedback or suggestions (criticism is always welcomed as well), and as always... Thanks for reading.

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