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2017 MLB Trade Deadline Preview: Seattle Mariners

The team already has a good offense, but do they have the chips to address their pitching woes?

MLB: Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

As we approach July 31, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.

Seattle Mariners: 39-41, 4th in the American League West

The Mariners, by many accounts, have a very solid offense: their OPS+ is 103 with a batting average and OBP both above league average, and their slugging isn’t too far off. They have the shocking AL batting leader in Ben Gamel, helped along by solid to great seasons from Robinson Cano, Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz, along with the recent emergence of Mike Zunino.

However, the pitching is just not good. The staff has allowed 4.95 runs per game (compared to a league average of 4.66), and they’ve allowed more home runs than anyone in the league besides the Reds. Only two of the starters from their projected opening day rotation are actually in the rotation right now, with Drew Smyly and Hisashi Iwakuma injured, and Yovani Gallardo banished to the bullpen. Closer Edwin Diaz has been below replacement level, with a shockingly high 5.39 FIP, and he’s arguably been their second-best reliever this year.

This is a team that would need at least two legitimate starting pitchers and two legitimate bullpen arms to really make a run, but do they have the pieces to get themselves those pitchers?

What moves have they made so far?

A lot! It’s been a lot of roster shuffling thanks to all of the injuries, so nothing really significant, but Jerry Dipoto sure does love turning over his roster as often as he can. Already this season, the M’s have used 12(!) different starting pitchers along with 19 other pitchers. Additionally, 18 position players have made an appearance with the big club already.

The most pleasantly-surprising call-up the team has made this season is that of right-hander Sam Gaviglio, in the majors for the first time in his age-27 season. Gaviglio has made eight starts and a relief appearance, pitching to a 3.38 ERA—albeit with a 5.83 FIP, though he does have a ground ball percentage of 52.2% despite having given up 10 HR.

Are they buyers or sellers?

Probably sellers. As unpredictable as Jerry Dipoto is, even he knows that his organization simply doesn’t have the prospects to pull off a trade for win-now pitching. And with no players as a part of the team’s core leaving the team after this season, the Mariners have a nice window to contention that’s opening, not closing. Look for Seattle to trade some complementary pieces without jeopardizing the future of the ballclub.

Who could they trade?

Tying in with my last point, I wouldn’t expect the Mariners to make any huge trades. In fact, the only player I could really see them trading who’s under contract for after this season is Leonys Martin, currently off the 40-man roster but OPSing .843 in Triple-A with his usual sterling defense.

The team does have a few intriguing players who will hit the open market in the fall, although none would draw a big return. Jarrod Dyson would be a useful bench bat (and fielder and runner, more importantly) for any contender, and Danny Valencia could provide thump against left-handers. Steve Cishek and Carlos Ruiz haven’t done well, but teams are always on the lookout for relievers and catchers on the cheap.

As for Yovani Gallardo, well... he’s staying put.

Predictions:

The Mariners fall deeper into the AL West hole that they were never going to get out of anyway while also moving further behind in the wild card race. This leads them to trade Dyson, Cishek and Valencia, with Ruiz staying put. Teams will come calling about some of the bigger-ticket items on the team hoping to get Dipoto to overreact and pull the trigger, but they’ll ultimately keep their best pieces.