What a weird day for Seattle. First, they traded their shutdown closer, Kendall Graveman, to the Astros … who are competing against them in the same division. Then, the players got really mad about it (and justifiably so). Then, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto cryptically told everyone it would make sense later, with no further context. Then they traded for Pirates starter Tyler Anderson … who had reportedly already been traded to the Phillies earlier in the day.
It’s late, but I’m pretty sure this is actually pretty wild:
In the aftermath of the Kendall Graveman trade to Houston that had players criticizing the deal to @RyanDivish, Mariners went and added Anderson. GM Jerry DiPoto talked about an “ongoing story” to be told. This would seem to be the first move in that story.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 28, 2021
No, a deal being squashed on account of medicals isn’t the most insane thing in the world. It happens. But did Dipoto actually know about this specific trade when he made his comments earlier today? Or is this deal just his way of calming a locker room full of angry players? His comments sure seemed to indicate some deal being down the line, but the timing and outcome are both suspect.
And based on this report for Morosi, I’m not sure (1) the Mariners are actually done dealing or that (2) this is the deal to which Dipoto was referring earlier (unless, I suppose, the return from Graveman is ultimately used in part to acquire Anderson … but that feels unlikely?).
Update: The #Mariners are working on multiple additional trades at this hour, source says; those trade proposals are not limited to replacing the relievers sent to the #Astros in this trade. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 27, 2021
But what about those medicals? Won’t the Mariners find the same problems the Phillies did? Or were the Phillies perhaps overzealous in their attempts to reduce the return for Anderson by pointing to medical issues that were, perhaps, not quite so significant. (UPDATE: Nope. See bottom of the post.)
In any case, you can now expect the Phillies to turn their attention back to the starting pitching market, where everyone knows they have serious interested in adding another arm. Brett discussed the overlap with the Cubs available starter, Zach Davies, earlier today, and I think it’s as relevant as ever to include:
As a player comp for Zach Davies, there is some trickiness here, but also a lot of overlap. Davies, a 28-year-old righty, and Anderson, a 31-year-old lefty, each rely on a contact-heavy approach for about five innings per start, six tops. Davies has a longer track record of consistent usefulness, but the results this year are very similar. Anderson is generally going a bit deeper in starts, though both are on decent runs of giving useable starts lately (not great outings, but useable). Anderson is making just $2.5 million this year, whereas Davis is making $8.6 million. The Cubs could eat some salary to eradicate that difference, but it’s a difference for sure. Anderson’s FIP is definitely better this year, so if you’re betting on Davies ceasing to be able to keep managing his way out of sticky situations, you’d rather have Anderson. Of course, Anderson has had injury issues in the past, whereas Davies has not.
So, then, if this trade sets the market for Davies, you’re talking about maybe getting a couple interesting lottery tickets. That sounds roughly correct, though I wonder if Davies’ huge 2020 season and better career track record (and clean injury history and youth) give him a slight bump, assuming the Cubs eat a good bit of salary.
Even if Davies were to net a little bit more, it’s not going to be a massive return. We already knew that, but I suppose take this just as confirmation that no team is going to pay out the nose for a starting pitcher, even in a terribly thin market, just to add an arm to the back of the rotation.
Given that Zach Davies is scheduled to start tomorrow night … I’d pay very close attention throughout the day tomorrow. This feels like one of those pivots that can happen quickly.
UPDATE: Okay, so, no, it wasn’t ANDERSON’s medicals that sparked the squashed deal, it was one of the Phillies prospects heading to Pittsburgh. The plot thickens.
Source confirms: Mariners acquiring left-hander Tyler Anderson from Pirates. Phillies’ proposed deal for Anderson fell through after an issue surfaced with one of the two players that Pittsburgh would have acquired. First reported: @JeffPassan.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2021