Jerry Dipoto
Here’s the official plan to rebuild the Seattle Mariners (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

You are either in or out. There’s no in between. The worst thing you can be in sports is a mid-tier team. If you stink then you can collect young talent at the top of the draft. If you’re good, well then you can compete for a championship which is the only thing that really matters. That’s why the Seattle Mariners are now the focus of the offseason. They have the longest playoff drought of any team in the four major sports. They won 89 games last year. Seattle is a good team but not a great team.

That’s why they have begun their rebuild. There’s nothing Seattle can do in the short term to catch the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, or Indians. General manager Jerry Dipoto was honest with himself and knew it was time to start over. Mike Zunino was the first to go and actually found a way to steal Mallex Smith from Tampa Bay for him. Now that James Paxton has been traded to the Yankees (Seattle acquired Justus Sheffield in return), there is no turning back. Let’s blow up the Seattle Mariners!

Trade Edwin Diaz

Who? Yes, Edwin Diaz. In case you haven’t heard, Edwin Diaz is the best closer that you never heard of. Scratch that, he is the best closer in the majors. Diaz, 24, recorded an ERA of 1.96 in 2018. Add in a 0.791 WHIP, 15.2 strikeouts per 9, 57 saves, and .241 slugging percentage against is flat out ridiculous. Here’s the reality though, closers on bad teams are worthless. If you don’t have the lead very often then what good is Diaz rotting away on a rebuilding team. Diaz isn’t a free agent until 2023 and will make a tad over $570 thousand in 2019. Could you imagine what you can coup for the best closer in baseball with 4 years of control that makes pennies?!?

You’re talking major league ready players and top-tier minor league talent. One trade like this if you hit it right could set up the franchise for a decade. Both small and large markets can be in on Diaz too. I’m not going to try to guess a trade package but I would imagine that it would be a f*ck ton.

Trade Mitch Haniger

Notice a trend here? Cost – controllable pieces… send them out of town. Haniger, 27, comes with 4 years of control and made $560 thousand in 2018. Seattle won’t be any good for another 3 years anyway if they do this rebuild the right way. A 30-year old Haniger loses major value by the time that rolls around. A 6.1 WAR player who hit .285 and 26 big flys who makes pennies has big-time value. Dear, Jerry. Send Haniger out of town. Here’s what you do. Call the Braves and say that you want Touki Toussaint, Christian Pache, and two throw in guys. The second you trade Paxton, there’s no going back. It would be foolish not to shop Haniger.

Plans for Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez, Kyle Seager, Dee Gordon, Jean Segura

Look, I get that all of these guys come with high salaries. That’s why they aren’t easy to shop but I have a solution. Attack other teams bad contracts. Philadelphia would do just about anything to rid themselves of Carlos Santana because they need to move Rhys Hoskins to first base. The Phillies are shopping the hell out of Santana because Hoskins had the worst defensive runs saved in the majors in 2018 at left field. The Phillies are also dying to spend money because they think they can compete now. This is where a team like the Mariners needs to attack.

Kyle Seager for Carlos Santana and Maikel Franco?

Kill two birds with one stone. Take on Santana and trade away Kyle Seager. Santana hit .229 with 24 homers in 2018. Compare that to Seager who hit .221 and 22 home runs. Both players coming off a down year but this fixes two of the Phillies problems. Alleviate a first base spot and replace Maikel Franco at third base (who the organization clearly doesn’t like) with Seager. I don’t see why you then can’t expand the deal in some way where Franco goes back to Seattle for helping the Phillies out. This is the sort of thing you have to try to do if you’re Seattle. Franco hit .270 in 2018 during his age 26 season. There’s no reason why he can’t possibly improve and become a real asset. Santana is owed $34.5 million through 2020. Seager is owed $56 million through 2021 so you’re clearing a year of bad money in 2021 as well.

Jean Segura for David Wright, Jared Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Ahmed Rosario, and Anthony Kay

Do you want to talk crazy? Take on the David Wright contract. Yeah, the guy is retired. So what? Not only are we going to take a retired player’s contract, but we’re also going to send the Mets, Jean Segura. Wright, it owed $27 million over the next two years. Now because Wright is retired, there is a loophole that insurance will cover a portion of it by just keeping Wright on the 40 man roster. If you’re a contending team, do you really want to take up a roster spot for a guy that can’t play? I doubt it.

Add in Jean Segura. The Mariners shortstop hit .304 with an OBP of .341. That’s an All-Star shortstop. Segura is in the third year of a $70 million extension where he will earn $14.25 million for the next four years. Segura, 29, is no longer valuable in a few years when the Mariners are ready to win. He’s also perfect for a Mets team that needs to win now with their current starting rotation for a team that can’t score runs. It’s a perfect trade partner. How about the Mets last three first round picks (Kelenic, Dunn, Kay) plus Rosario who struggled after his call-up in 2018. Maybe you have to add in a reliever or two to get the Mets to bite. We are also talking about a first-year GM who just came from the agent realm.

The Official Offseason Blueprint For The Boston Red Sox To Repeat In 2019

Dee Gordon for Jacoby Ellsbury, Domingo German, Chance Adams, and Michael King

Could you imagine what the Yankees would do to get rid of the Jacoby Ellsbury money? Ellsbury is owed more than $21 million the next two years including a $5 buyout the year after. Gordon, by comparison, is owed a more than reasonable $13 million for the next three years. Dee Gordon is also a good player. He is one year removed from hitting over .300. Gordon also comes with ridiculous speed and the ability to play 2nd base or centerfield. Give Brian Cashman a call and say hey, give us these three arms and we will take the Ellsbury deal. I’m not sure if any three will become top tier starters but they are MLB ready right now. King is a sleeper of mine. I got to see him while working in minor league baseball. How does a .179 career ERA in the minors sound?

This is just the start to fixing the Mariners. Give me a call if you’re ever in need of an assistant, Jerry Dipoto…