The Mariners’ interest in division-rival third baseman (and noted trade candidate) Matt Chapman isn’t exactly a new revelation, but even as the Athletics prepare for what looks to be a significant sell-off/payroll reduction, they’re still aiming high in trade talks. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times cites multiple sources who believe the A’s would ask that the Mariners include top infield prospect Noelvi Marte as a headline piece in any deal involving Chapman, who is controlled another two years via arbitration.
Baseball America ranked Marte as the sport’s No. 18 prospect earlier this week, and it’s not hard to see why; Marte played the 2021 season as a 19-year-old against much older competition but nevertheless slashed a combined .273/.366/.460 with 17 home runs and 24 stolen bases between two Class-A levels. Drawing praise for his blend of raw power and speed, Marte has played exclusively at shortstop thus far in his pro career, though he’s been error-prone (6o in 1402 innings) and some scouting reports question whether he might eventually move to third base. The Athletics and other clubs would surely target him in a number of trade scenarios, but it seems unlikely Marte would actually change hands.
Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has already gone on record this offseason to indicate there’s “no scenario” where he’d move the very top names in his farm system. Marte trails uber-prospect Julio Rodriguez on most rankings, he certainly falls under the umbrella alluded to by Dipoto. The A’s could, of course, try to work out a deal centering on another headliner, but if Dipoto was being earnest in his reluctance to trade his system’s very best, an agreement could be hard to piece together.
Some more Mariners notes…
- In a second piece, Divish looks at three Mariners whose long-term positions with the team aren’t assured: outfielder Taylor Trammell, catcher Luis Torrens and outfielder Jake Fraley. Despite Trammell’s status as a former high draft pick and top prospect, last season’s poor big league debut has dimmed his stock in the eyes of rival scouts. Divish cites one “optimistic” scout from another club who believes Trammell can still be more than a fourth outfielder — but others are more bearish based on his approach at the plate and some poor defensive reads. Similarly, while the Mariners believe Torrens can be a passable or better defender behind the plate, other teams are more skeptical of his glovework. Any of the trio would still have some value on the trade market, but probably not as headline pieces for notable upgrades. Mariners fans, in particular, will want to check out both Divish columns for some scouting quotes and opinions of several of Seattle’s young players.
- In his latest mailbag column, The Athletic’s Corey Brock tackles a number of pertinent Mariners topics — including the team’s rotation. Brock suggests that Seattle, needing pitchers who can make an impact out of the gate, was never going to come close to matching the $10MM offer James Paxton received from the Red Sox. Still, the Mariners appear likely to target another arm to add to the rotation — ideally someone who’s more than just a fifth starter to round out the group. The free-agent market has, of course, been largely picked over by this point — with Seattle playing a key part in the pre-lockout signing rush (Robbie Ray). Carlos Rodon stands out as one potential difference-maker who remains in play, though he has not been prominently linked to the Mariners. The trade market figures to have plenty of options, with Cincinnati (Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle) and Oakland (Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt) standing as the two most obvious partners for any team seeking rotation help on the trade market.