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Analysis: With trade deadline here, Marco Gonzales among a trio of Seattle Mariners with the most value

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 31, 2020

Expect MLB teams to inquire about Seattle Mariners and former Gonzaga starting pitcher Marco Gonzales.  (Gregory Bull/Associated Press)
Expect MLB teams to inquire about Seattle Mariners and former Gonzaga starting pitcher Marco Gonzales. (Gregory Bull/Associated Press)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

In these unprecedented times, the Major League Baseball trade deadline feels a little different. It’s a month later than usual, and the hype surrounding it has certainly lessened, despite roughly 22 of the 30 teams having a shot at making the expanded postseason.

Following last week’s trades of Daniel Vogelbach and Taijuan Walker to the Toronto Blue Jays in separate and very different deals, and with Monday’s trade deadline upon us, it’s the perfect time to delve into the remaining trade value/possibilities for the Seattle Mariners.

There isn’t much remaining to trade for general manager Jerry Dipoto, which has really never stopped him before. Need proof? The next trade Dipoto makes will be the 107th of his five-year tenure.

So let’s take a closer look at the remaining trade possibilities.

Marco Gonzales, LHP

Why would they want to trade the leader of the pitching staff? They don’t want to trade him, but teams will still inquire about the former Gonzaga standout, even with a four-year, $30 million contract extension that starts next season.

The left-hander has been consistently effective and durable over the last three seasons, making 69 starts and posting 32-24 record with a 3.96 earned-run average.

His contract extension is relatively cheap, compared to what teams might pay for in the free-agent market.

Trading Gonzales isn’t likely to happen this season or this offseason, but if the Mariners’ rebuild hasn’t shown significant progress by this time next season, it could be a consideration in the offseason after 2021.

Kyle Seager, 3B

It’s been written about often, but here’s a reminder that the “poison pill” clause in Seager’s contract makes trading him a hindrance. It’s simple: if the Mariners were to trade Seager to another team, the club option for the 2022 season, which could be somewhere between $15-$20 million based on his 2021 performance, automatically becomes a player option.

And there isn’t a fathomable reason why Seager would not exercise a player option for that much money.

So any team that trades for Seager gets him for the rest of this season for about $3.5 million, next season at $18 million and the 2022 season for at least $15 million.

Yet based on his performance late last season and the overpriced market for third basemen, there were teams interested in acquiring Seager this past offseason.

His strong start in this shortened season has verified the physical changes, swing work and results from last season. It certainly changes his projections for the next few seasons. Since the All-Star break last season, Seager has played in 102 games, batting .270 with 22 homers and 71 RBI.

That sort of production would make the salary worth it.

And if the Mariners were to kick in perhaps $10 million to improve the prospect in return, a deal would be that much easier to -make.

Dee Gordon, 2B/Utility

It’s mutual: The Mariners want to trade Gordon, and Gordon wants to be traded. It’s been that way since the start of last season, when the Mariners decided to do the step-back rebuild, and intensified going into this season, when they decided that Shed Long Jr. was going to be their everyday second baseman.

The problem is that Gordon hasn’t played well enough or remained healthy enough to merit much of a trade market, particularly given what he was owed on his contract – $2.65 million for the final month of the season and a $1 million buyout of his 2021 option. A potential deal with the Cubs at the trade deadline last season was scrapped when the Mariners put him on the injured list with a mild hamstring strain.

Gordon’s playing time has been limited this season, and his production has been suboptimal. A .148/.207/.167 slash line with a double and a stolen base in 19 games isn’t going to generate much interest.

But his ability to play second base, shortstop and an adequate left field, as well as his speed, might intrigue some teams who are looking for a finishing piece for their roster.

If the Mariners want to trade Gordon, they will essentially have to give him away.

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