Photo Credit: Getty Images – The Ringer
The Seattle Mariners didn’t make a move for another starter at the deadline; after being fairly active in the weeks leading up to it. Instead general manager Jerry Dipoto made a series of measured moves to add depth, with the most serious loss being Tyler O’Neil.
With the Houston Astros having the American League West virtually locked up, and the Mariners playing .500 ball, there was no reason for Dipoto to make a move towards a complete tear down and rebuild; or (even worse) mortgage out the farm for a shot at a one game playoff. It’s also pretty clear, that there wasn’t the type of impact pitcher the M’s needed, on the market within their means, that would have vastly improved their starting staff…without being a rental — hell, even Darvish netted Texas a top 100 prospect along with three others…and that’s him being a rental for LA. There was no way, Seattle could afford starting pitching at the deadline.
Yet, the fact that all Seattle got at the deadline is a 8th inning arm, a quasi starter, and a triple-A lefty is infuriating.
All of the moves the nice that were made make sense, individually and within the context of the overall health of the franchise. But these trades also felt like they further limited this team’s ceiling down the stretch. These moves may have have raised the floor, especially if Ramirez pans out as a fifth starter, but they don’t have the (obvious) potential to increase this roster’s ceiling; which is going to make a serious run at the last Wildcard spot harder.
The good news is that none of these acquistions were supposed to line the Mariners up for one shot at the Wildcsrd, these moves were also about giving the team more depth and talent heading into 2018 and ’19. For the two guys who are contributing at the big leagues already, Phelps contract runs through 2018; while Ramirez is under club control until 2019. As for Gonzales, he’s under control until 2023 and has plenty of time to rediscover himself as a starting pitcher in Tacoma…without the added pressure of attempting to end the longest playoff in MLB this year.
Despite the logic, and plan, behind these moves, I can’t help but feel disappointed that the Mariners weren’t able to snag another starter at the deadline. Adding another arm into the rotation would have had the potential to take more pressure of the bullpen, while pushing Sam Gaviglio — whom drastically outperformed expectations during his stint in Seattle, but was not a long term fit in the rotation for a team with playoff aspirations — further down the depth chart. Instead, Seattle is going to continue to run rookie Andrew Moore and the reacquired Ramirez to fill out the back of their rotation for the playoff push; with Yovani Gallardo waiting in the wings if needed.
We’ll see what happens going forward, but this deadline feels like a missed opport kit for the Mariners.