Right before Thanksgiving the Mariners and D-backs completed the first blockbuster trade of the offseason. A transaction that included the 2016 NL hits leader, Jean Segura. For the D-backs who are in desperate need of pitching depth, received Taijuan Walker. In addition to the former top right-handed pitching prospect, the D-backs obtained shortstop Ketel Marte. While the M’s finally have a legitimate shortstop, they also acquired more power. Former top D-backs outfield prospect, Mitch Haniger, is now also a Mariner. Lastly, Seattle received reliever Zac Curtis to help out a struggling Mariners’ bullpen. But, will this trade work out for both teams on the field; both had disappointing 2016 seasons.
Firstly, the Mariners finally have a shortstop they can depend on. Seattle thought that Ketel Marte was that guy, until he had a disappointing 2016 campaign. Jean Segura has recovered his bat that he had in his rookie 2013 campaign. However, he did that playing 2nd base, but going to the AL should help him retain it now that he is returning to shortstop. Other than short, the Mariners have had trouble finding legitimate starting outfielders and productive relievers.
Mitch Haniger may not be fully ready to contribute on a starting level, but his slugging percentage of .500+ during his 2014 and 15′ minor league campaigns, makes him at least eligible to be a great platoon player. Zac Curtis produced an ERA 1.95 in over 100 minor league innings, while having a K/9 of 13.7. Despite him only logging 13.1 major league innings, he should be ready to go to make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. But, will the rotation miss Taijuan Walker?
Walker was projected to be a significant piece of the Mariners’ rotation now and in the future, but after two straight seasons of 25+ games started, the results have been disappointing. However, not disappointing enough that the D-backs wouldn’t welcome Taijuan into their rotation. National league opponents have a batting average of .194 against Walker over the course of the right hander’s young career. He will also be of help in the innings eating department, as the D-backs suffered several injuries to their rotation over the past couple years. Lastly, the former 1st round pick is locked up until 2021, as he is just now becoming eligible for arbitration. His trade counterpart is also under contract for quote some time.
Ketel Marte is not eligible for arbitration until 2019. Like Walker, Marte hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations, but hasn’t fully disappointed. After playing in 170+ major league games, Marte has accumulated a 2.6 WAR. His 162-game average contains a batting average of .267 with 76 runs and 32 doubles. Luckily the D-backs offense has been productive producing in the top 5 runs in the NL the last two seasons; so losing Segura is not catastrophic. The D-backs desperately need a left handed bat, and adding Marte will do that; Ketel is a switch-hitter. So, despite losing Segura, this trade is just as beneficial for Arizona.
In all, the Mariners got have their shortstop, an extra outfielder, and bullpen help, while the D-backs technically did not lose a shortstop, and also gained a key starting pitcher. The key for a D-backs playoff run is their rotation; they have now helped that. The key for a Mariners postseason run, or part of it, is filling up holes in the outfield and at short; this trade helps that cause. Overall, the blockbuster part of this trade is a blockbuster for both sides, at least on paper.