Game 103, Astros at Mariners – M’s Acquire a Rent-a-Starter

marc w · July 28, 2021 at 10:36 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Yusei Kikuchi vs. Jake Odorizzi, 12:40pm

Yesterday was quite the day. The afternoon trade of Kendall Graveman from the home to the away dugout unleashed a torrent of (on background) emotion from M’s players, as Ryan Divish’s story lays out. Graveman was clearly a leader in the clubhouse, and players were sad and ultimately outraged about the move. Jerry Dipoto said repeatedly (though not to the players themselves, another sore spot) that this was only the first in a series of moves, and midway through the game, we heard about the next domino to fall: the M’s acquired SP Tyler Anderson from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for two minor prospects, headlined by AA C, Carter Bins.

Anderson’s a fastball/cutter left-hander, and typically sits around 90 mph with his fastballs (he’s also got a sinker). A former first round pick by the Rockies, Anderson came up in 2016 with Colorado and made an instant impact: he tossed 114 well above-average innings for the Rocks that year, with an ERA and FIP both right around 3.5. He was worth 2.4 fWAR in that partial season, and seemed to give the Rockies another piece to build around – they had Jon Gray coming, Kyle Freeland,, Anderson… but while Anderson didn’t really collapse, he’s never quite regained the form he showed in 2016. After an injury plagued 2019 in which he tossed about 20 awful innings, the Rockies waived him, and San Francisco scooped him up as part of their strategy to bring in a lot of former hyped players coming off awful stretches of play.

He wasn’t exactly Kevin Gausman for the Giants, but he worked out just fine. In about 60 IP, he was more or less league avereage-ish. A fly ball pitcher, especially at this stage of his career, San Francisco was a good spot for him, as is Seattle. Pittsburgh was…less so, as his HRs allowed have increased pretty dramatically this year. But as always seems to be the case, other aspects of his game have compensated. He’s walking fewer than he has in years, and his K rate, while still low, is up a tick.

As far as deadline deals go, this is not a sexy one. There’s no raw stuff just waiting to be unlocked, no clear “just get him away from Park X, and he’ll be fine.” As a pending free agent, this isn’t about improving him over the offseason or coaxing another mph from his heater. He’s here to eat some innings in a perfectly average, business-like way. And let’s be clear: the M’s need that. With so many starters on the shelf and with some starters perhaps tiring, the M’s can’t just turn things over to Darren McCaughan or someone else from the minors. They need a little bit more certainty from the rotation, and that’s what Anderson figures to give them. Is acquiring a rental player a questionable decision, particularly after Dipoto seemed to waive the white flag on 2021 with the other move yesterday? Eh, in this case, the price was right. It’s an easier way to demonstrate to the team that you’re not completely giving up while not losing their big, name-brand prospects.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Haniger, DH
3: Seager, 3B
4: France, 1B
5: Toro, 2B
6: Kelenic, CF
7: Murphy, C
8: Bauers, RF
9: Long, LF
SP: Kikuchi

Abraham Toro made a good impression last night with a pinch-hit HR, and now he’ll show off his positional versatility by playing 2B. Normally a 3B, he’s certainly more useful if he can also spell someone at 2B, but I’m still not sure how much having another Ty France-style utility infielder helps. In any event, what the M’s need from Toro – IF they keep him and don’t move him in a subsequent deal – is for his bat to develop really quickly. Where he plays is a secondary issue, and, as we talked about yesterday, 3B is about to open up with the impending departure of Kyle Seager.

Update: You know who’s only a game up in the Wild Card race and is now shoring up their team? The A’s. A day after acquiring LHRP Andrew Chafin from Chicago, the A’s just acquired rental OF and one of the better bats available, Starling Marte. In exchange, the Marlins get troubled SP/RP prospect, Jesus Luzardo. Luzardo seemed poised to give the A’s an excellent #2 starter for years after a scintillating debut in 2019, but scuffled a bit in 2020 (when he was my preseason pick as the AL ROY…oops). He wasn’t *bad*, but lacked consistency. This year…this year, he was actually bad, and after being demoted to AAA, was even worse. This could be a huge get for the Marlins, who’ve turned into a remarkably effective pitching development org. It could also help the A’s keep their grip on the Wild Card. They can turn to free agency for that next starter spot, or hope that Cole Irvin is able to develop a bit. I’d still say the A’s need someone with more upside than that, and I’m not sure I see it in their system (beyond the oft-injured AJ Puk).


2 Responses to “Game 103, Astros at Mariners – M’s Acquire a Rent-a-Starter”

  1. Stevemotivateir on July 28th, 2021 12:18 pm

    I really hope Toro proves to be everything Seattle hopes he will be. But right now I remain skeptical. I don’t think he’s an upgrade over Moore at 2B, and if acquiring him was more about replacing Seager next year, I’m even more skeptical.

    Meanwhile, the A’s legitimately got better for the moment.

  2. Sowulo on July 29th, 2021 3:00 am

    I am hoping the M’s go after and sign Marcus Semien in the off-season. He can replace Seager and Toro can stay at 2nd until Marte is ready for the show.

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