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Trade Chatter: Seager, Mariners, Gray, Indians, Rays

As the Mariners continue to explore further ways to get younger and shed payroll, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the team won’t be attaching Kyle Seager’s contract to Mitch Haniger in an effort to escape the remaining three years and $56MM on Seager’s seven-year deal (subscription required). First and foremost, the Seattle organization considers Haniger to be among the five best corner outfielders in baseball, Rosenthal notes. Beyond that, however, Seager’s contract contains a clause converting a $15MM club option for the 2022 season into a player option, should he be traded. Because that clause makes the remainder of the contract so unappealing to trade partners, he may very well need to rebuild some value in 2019 before he can be flipped. Rosenthal’s column also sheds some light on the Mariners’ other discussions on Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, in addition to highlighting the organization’s affinity for newly acquired prospect Jarred Kelenic.

Some more trade rumblings from around the league…

  • The Padres and Brewers are among the teams still in contact with the Yankees about a potential Sonny Gray swap, per Jon Morosi of (Twitter links). Both organizations have been tied to various starting pitching options, though the Padres are a particularly curious fit, given their focus on the 2020 season and Gray’s status as a one-year rental. However, as Morosi’s colleague, AJ Cassavell, explains in greater detail, San Diego’s interest has some logic to it. Gray’s stock is down, and a resurgence in San Diego (like many arms before him) could allow him to either be traded for a greater price next July or position him to receive a qualifying offer next offseason. Even if the acquisition doesn’t pan out, he wouldn’t put a huge dent into a deep San Diego farm system. As for the Brewers, they’ve already got a deep collection of right-handed starters, but perhaps they view Gray as a premium rebound candidate and/or feel that acquiring him could allow them to deal from the back end of their current collection of rotation candidates.
  • ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that the market for Indians starters Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer could come more into focus now that Patrick Corbin is off the board. Notably, Olney suggests that Cleveland “might” ask that a trade partner take Jason Kipnis and the remaining money on his contract ($17MM), though obviously doing so would rather notably diminish the return that the Indians would receive for any of their top three starters. Still, that scenario would certainly hold appeal to deeper-pocketed suitors of the Indians’ starters — particularly those with a good deal of long-term payroll flexibility (e.g. the Phillies).
  • The Rays were among the teams with interest in Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link), although Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen strongly downplayed the possibility of trading Syndergaard earlier today. That said, Tampa’s interest in “Thor” is nonetheless notable, as it points to an interest in adding a controllable arm if one can be found at a reasonable financial price point. Then again, as a high-end starter with a projected salary under $6MM and three years of team control remaining, Syndergaard is (or was) something of a rarity on the trade market. Speculatively speaking, perhaps either Michael Fulmer or Jon Gray could be viewed in that same light, but both right-handers are coming off poor seasons, making it tough for their respective organizations to sell low.

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