When evaluating any trade, particularly close to the trade deadline, context matter. Here is a classic example: no one should be confused that the Houston Astros have been active in trying to acquire help for their bullpen. The Astros are in first place and want to shore up the area of their roster that basically EVERY contending team wants to shore up before their playoff run. As a result, making a play for one of the better relievers in the league this year makes all the sense in the world.
However, when that player comes from one of the teams trying to chase the Astros down in the Seattle Mariners...well, one wonders what the hell the Mariners are thinking.
The Houston Astros have acquired relievers Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero from the Seattle Mariners for third baseman Abraham Toro and reliever Joe Smith, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 27, 2021
An intra-division deal that lands Houston one of the best relievers in MLB this year in Graveman.
Again, the terms of the deal in themselves are not surprising as the Astros are in need of bullpen help and they did give up real assets to make the deal work. What is confusing is that the Mariners, who are six games back in the division and just one game back in the wild card race, would give up their best bullpen arm when all the evidence suggested that they were going to be buyers at the deadline. Even general manager Jerry DiPoto seems to know that thinks don’t make sense at face value.
Dipoto said the trade doesn’t make sense as a stand alone trade but that it will with the succession of moves they want to make.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 27, 2021
Well, with DiPoto giving Seattle fans essentially the GM version of a “don’t worry, I got this” meme, Seattle quickly positions themselves as one of the more fascinating teams to observe as the trade deadline approaches. This is particularly true given that it doesn’t sound like the Mariners’ clubhouse is very happy.
Sources said the news of Graveman being traded to the Astros did not go over well in the Mariners clubhouse.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 27, 2021
In 30 appearances for the Mariners this season, Graveman has posted 1.5 rWAR with a 0.82 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 33 innings.