Saturday, June 29, 2024

Building A Blockbuster Trade Between The White Sox And Mariners


Luis Robert Jr. is one of the most polarizing names on the market this trade deadline because of his talent and contract. Virtually any team could use him, but some contenders have a better chance of acquiring him than others. The Philadelphia Phillies are a team with the prospect capital to pull off a deal, but they will have significant competition for the star center fielder should the White Sox start a bidding war. The Seattle Mariners are another team with the prospects and motivation to pull off a trade for an outfielder of Robert Jr’s caliber.

Mariners 2024 Season And Deep Prospect Pool

Led primarily by their pitching staff, the Mariners sit with a 47-37 record, good enough for first place in the AL West by five games over the Houston Astros. Unlike the Phillies, however, the Mariners can only be considered World Series contenders if they add a difference-maker to their lineup. Their outfielders have combined for just a .642 OPS this season, and their interest in Robert Jr. is not a new development. A recent report stated that the White Sox top scouts have been focusing on the Mariners farm system, adding further credence that a trade makes sense for both sides. 

The Mariners are arguably an even better fit for a Robert Jr. trade than the Phillies because of their sheer amount of position player prospects. Seattle’s top 11 prospects per are all position players, and bats are likely what the White Sox will prioritize in return for Robert Jr.

Cole Young

Cole Young is the #25 prospect in baseball, per and has exceptional bat-to-ball skills and on-base abilities. The Mariners’ first-round pick in 2022, the 20-year-old left-handed hitting Young is drawing walks at nearly a 12% clip and already has 13 doubles and seven home runs in just 66 AA games. He is over four years younger than the average AA player, but he still has held his own and then some. Young should be able to stay at shortstop long-term and is a logical centerpiece in a Robert Jr. to the Mariners trade.

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Harry Ford

Harry Ford slots in right behind Young at #26 on MLB’s Top 100 list. A 21-year-old catcher, Ford is an athletic catcher with a plus arm and speed and can get on base at a high clip. The White Sox already have Korey Lee and Edgar Quero as catcher options for the future, but Ford could be a possible part of a trade package if Chicago wants to continue accumulating young catching talent into the organization.

Colt Emerson

Colt Emerson is the next Mariners top prospect, slotting in at #48 on the list. A left-handed hitting infielder, Emerson is only 18 years old but already performing well in the minor leagues. He has walked more than he has struck out in Low-A and has shown some power this season. Like Young, Emerson should be able to stick at shortstop and is another high-upside player at a premium position that the White Sox could target.

Lazaro Montes

Lazaro Montes is the #81 prospect in MLB and is already 6’3 and 210 pounds despite being only 19 years old. He has 65-grade power per and has 15 doubles, 13 home runs, and a .937 OPS this season in 69 games between Low-A and High-A. His defensive position in the long term is debatable, but his massive power is not. The White Sox have lacked left-handed power bats for a long time. Montes fits that description to a tee and would immediately become one of the best hitters in the White Sox organization.

Other Intriguing Mariners Prospects

Young, Ford, Emerson, and Montes are Seattle’s four official top 100 prospects. However, they also have other intriguing position player prospects, including infielders Felnin Celesten, Tai Peete, and Michael Arroyo, as well as outfielders Johnny Farmelo and Jonatan Clase. With so many position player prospects, they are a perfect trade partner for a White Sox team desperately needing to infuse hitting into their organization.

Jerry Dipoto’s Incentive To WIn

Seattle’s front office is also a significant factor in the equation. Like Dave Dombrowski of the Phillies, Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto is notorious for making trades and consistently shaking up his roster. He is not afraid to make a deal, and the Mariners’ need for an outfielder is obvious. He has the prospect capital to pay up for Robert Jr., and given his track record, it would not be all that surprising if he did.

From The White Sox Perspective

From the White Sox perspective, their asking price for Robert Jr. is understandably massive. He is one of the best players in the sport when healthy on a team-friendly contract for the next three and a half seasons. It will cost a lot to acquire him. Seattle has the prospects to pull it off. A deal with one of Young or Emerson as the centerpiece, Montes as the second piece, and a lower-ranked prospect or two for Robert Jr. could make sense. Seattle would get their impact bat, while Chicago would get several high-upside position player prospects. It ultimately comes down to if the White Sox seriously make Robert Jr. available. If they do, the Mariners have as good of a chance to land him as anyone.

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