The Seattle Mariners are in a free fall. The club has lost five straight games at home and are 4-6 in their last 10. They sit at an underwhelming 24-29 record and are 9 games out of first in the AL West. The start to the season is definitely not what they had in mind after a busy offseason. Today the front office decided to do something about it by striking a blockbuster deal to acquire first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo and left-handed pitcher Vidal Nuño from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for veteran catcher Wellington Castillo, right-handed reliever Dominic Leone, minor league infielder Jack Reinheimer and outfield prospect Gabby Guerrero as reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
The Mariners’ offense has been scuffling for a while. Despite the addition of right-handed slugger Nelson Cruz to the lineup to give the club some desperately-needed right-handed power, it hasn’t been enough to make the offense consistent. Cruz himself has been spectacular as he has slashed a scorching .330/.387/.640 batting line and hammered 18 home runs along with 39 RBIs so far in the season. Unfortunately the rest of the offense has struggled badly, giving light to the Mariners’ need for another impact bat.
That’s where Trumbo comes into play. He was originally acquired by the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal back in 2013. He was brought aboard to offer protection behind all-star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Unfortunately his season was cut short last year due to injuries. This year he has managed to stay healthy and has been getting consistent playing time with the D-Backs, but he has become expendable to the club due to the addition of Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomás, whom they signed last offseason.
Tomas was getting most of his time at third base, although originally signed as an outfielder. Trumbo was playing right field with the D-Backs due to there being no DH in the National League. The D-Backs have decided to ship Trumbo off and give Tomas the starting gig in the outfield which will allow Jake Lamb to slide back into an everyday role at the hot corner once he comes of the DL. Trumbo was rumored to be available in trades but D-Backs GM Dave Stewart had made it clear he needed to be blown away by an offer to consider parting with the right-handed slugger. The Mariners have done that as they have pried away what is hopefully an impact bat and will add some immediate pop into the Mariner offense.
On the year Trumbo has hit .259/.299/.506 to go with 9 home runs and 23 RBIs. He will hopefully form a lethal core four of Robinson Cano, Cruz, Kyle Seager and himself. His career at Safeco Field hasn’t been impressive as he has only managed a .243 batting average with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs, however this being reflected in a small sample size of 29 games. Being slotted behind hitters such as Cano, Cruz and Seager will hopefully allow him to see better pitches and utilize his lethal right-handed pop to help resurrect an unimpressive Mariners offense so far. It is likely that Trumbo will bounce around between right field, designated hitter and first base. The player to be displaced by this move will probably be Logan Morrison.
The Mariners are also taking on the lefty Nuño. He was originally acquired by the D-Backs last summer in a deal for veteran righty Brandon McCarthy. He had been pitching out of the bullpen for the D-Backs so far and had compiled a 1.88 ERA across only 14.1 innings of relief but had racked up an impressive 11.9 SO/9 ratio. He had been primarily used as a starting pitcher before that tallying a 4.13 ERA across 196 innings of work with the New York Yankees and D-Backs while holding a 38.1% ground ball ratio. He will join the Mariners’ rotation immediately and will fill in for fellow lefty James Paxton whom is currently on the disabled list.
In exchange for Nuño and Trumbo, the D-Backs are receiving quite a haul. The veteran catcher Castillo was acquired by the Mariners a few weeks ago from the Chicago Cubs to give them more offensive production behind the dish. However it is clear that the Mariners have changed their minds on that. The D-Backs need some help behind the dish as current catcher Tuffy Gosewisch is out for the year due to a torn ACL. Castillo offers some much-needed help behind the plate. He will see a healthy bulk of playing time with the D-Backs which is one of the main reasons he was traded in to the Mariners in the first place. So far he has managed a mere .162/.213/.493 slash line in only 30 games with both the D-Backs and Mariners. He will hopefully be a little more consistent offensively as he will see much more playing time in Arizona.
The D-Backs are also receiving some relief help in the form of Leone. The young righty had an excellent rookie season last year with the Mariners but has failed to repeat that success this year. He has piled up a 6.35 ERA and his control has been shaky as he issued nine walks and only seven punchouts in 11.1 innings of relief so far this year. The D-Backs are hoping he can turn it around and return to the dominant form he was last year which saw him hold a 2.17 ERA and a 54.7% ground ball rate in 66.1 innings of relief in 2014. If he can return to his dominant self, he will become one of the best relievers out of the Arizona bullpen this year.
The D-Backs are also receiving an intriguing infield prospect in the form of Reinheimer. The minor league infielder has hit .277/.323/.351 on the year so far in AA affiliate but has been able to swipe 12 bags so far and knock in 16 RBIs. He provides some infield depth in the Arizona system. The main piece of this deal appears to be minor league outfielder Gabby Guerrero. He came into the year regarded as the #7 prospect in the Seattle organization by Baseball America. He also happens to be the nephew of famed right-handed slugger Vlad Guerrero. He has also been playing at AA ball so far this year but has managed only a .215/.262/.305 line on the year as he has been overly aggressive at the plate. He represents a high-risk, high reward type of prospect for the D-Backs and if he is able to put it together he will become one of the top outfield prospects in the Arizona system
Written by: Daniel Sherriff