In recent years, it was generally clear by now which teams were going to be rebuilding in a given season ahead. Many were in the midst of multi-year programs, while others were very obviously about to rip things up.
This year, I think we know some clubs that are still in the middle of rebuilding – the Marlins, the Royals, the Blue Jays, the Tigers, and the Orioles – but I don’t think we have a sense of which other clubs might enter into a rebuilding phase (or continue long-time, ongoing rebuilds). Moreover, there are clubs like the White Sox, Reds, and Padres, who might actually spend significantly this offseason rather than continue rebuild.
One team that might start a new rebuild, though? The Mariners, who have perpetually seemed to be kinda decent but not quite good enough:
Now, blowing things up in Seattle is subject to return. Jean Segura’s no-trade would need to be worked around. Return for Mitch Hanover, James Paxton and Edwin Diaz would need to be massive. But Mariners are in that awful no-man’s land where they’re good but not good enough.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 6, 2018
Although this would not impact the Cubs in a direct, competitive way on the field, a flood of newly-available trade talent could impact the Cubs’ own efforts to move a player or two this offseason, and/or could give the Cubs some options to target.
But, before you immediately start dreaming about Mitch Haniger or Edwin Diaz:
Sounds now like Mariners intend to hold onto Haniger, Diaz and Gonzalez. Word is: “Everyone else is up for grabs.”
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 6, 2018
Even after those guys, there are plenty of Mariners who could hold some interest to the Cubs, depending on how the rest of the offseason plays out: Jean Segura could serve in the middle infield, Mike Zunino could be a glove-first, bat-upside addition to the catching mix, Dee Gordon could be a bounce-back candidate and (more importantly) a financial vehicle if the Cubs wanted to do some creative accounting, and relievers like Alex Colome, Shawn Armstrong, Roenis Elias, or James Pazos could be solid additions.
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto loves him some trading, so I would expect moves on this front soon.