HomeMLB RumorsMariners "Rebuffed" Red Sox' Interest In Young Starters

Mariners “Rebuffed” Red Sox’ Interest In Young Starters

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The Red Sox’ offseason search for starting pitching hasn’t yet produced any results, although that’s in large part due to the holdup that Yoshinobu Yamamoto is placing on the market. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe breaks down the Sox’ interest in Yamamoto and the manner in which said interest has thus far prevented them from making offers elsewhere on the market (e.g. Aaron Nola, Sonny Gray, Eduardo Rodriguez). With Boston hoping to lure Yamamoto to Fenway Park, it’s at least understandable if the team doesn’t feel comfortable putting forth offers in the vicinity that those other pitchers signed — ranging from $75MM to $172MM — while simultaneously keeping enough powder dry to put forth the type of massive offer Yamamoto will command.

The Yamamoto interest hasn’t been as much of a detriment on a trade market that has largely remained idle, however. Speier reports that the Sox approached the Mariners about their cadre of controllable starting pitchers but were generally rebuffed. Whether that was due to the quality of their offer (or lack thereof), or simply due to the Mariners being unwilling to move someone from the George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, Bryce Miller, Bryan Woo quartet isn’t clear.

However, Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto suggested at last week’s Winter Meetings that a trade of one of their young big league starters doesn’t seem likely (link via Adam Jude of the Seattle Times). Dipoto acknowledged “constant” inquiries regarding his young rotation before casting doubt on whether he’d actually make a move involving anyone from the bunch.

“We’ll see what the market bears,” said Dipoto, who’s entering his ninth season as the leader of Mariners baseball operations. “We are going to lean into the thing we do well, and if opportunity presents itself, we have to listen. But by and large, we pitch it; we catch it. We’re very good at developing young players, and we’re going to continue to focus on those things.”

On the one hand, the Mariners and Red Sox seem like natural trade partners. The Mariners are deep controllable young pitchers who’ve had MLB experience. The Red Sox have several promising, controllable hitters who’ve made their big league debuts already (e.g. Triston Casas, Jarren Duran, Ceddanne Rafaela) and, in some cases, had a good bit of success.

The price to acquire controllable young pitching is always steep, however — particularly when talking about players who’ve already had as much success as Kirby and Gilbert or those with six full seasons of control, like Miller and Woo. The Mariners could well prefer more established hitters. Similarly, the Sox might be loath to part with much in the way of immediate MLB production in the lineup, as the free-agent market isn’t exactly deep in bats to replace any outgoing hitters.

To be clear, there’s no indication the two parties can’t or won’t revisit talks — just as there’s no indication the Mariners will staunchly turn away any and all inquiries on their excellent rotation. To the contrary, Dipoto acknowledged to Jude that for the “right player” with another club, the Mariners “will consider just about anything.”

It’s been a generally quiet offseason for both teams in terms of notable additions. Boston has picked up Tyler O’Neill in a trade with the Cardinals, but the offseasons of Boston and particularly Seattle thus far have drawn more headlines for their subtractions than their new acquisitions. The Sox traded Alex Verdugo to the archrival Yankees, while the M’s have traded away Eugenio Suarez, Jarred Kelenic and Marco Gonzales. In doing so, they’ve substantially reduced the team strikeout rate and freed up some resources to perhaps bring in some offense via the free-agent and/or trade market. Seattle has been connected to free agents Jorge Soler and J.D. Martinez over the past week, while rumored trade interest has included the likes of Randy Arozarena, Isaac Paredes, Josh Naylor and (before he was traded to Boston) O’Neill. The Red Sox, meanwhile, continue to search for ways to upgrade their starting staff.


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