The Mariners traded star closer Kendall Graveman to the Houston Astros. Reports quickly broke that the Seattle clubhouse was unhappy. They have good reason to be upset by such a move.
Jerry Dipoto loves a trade. He loves making deals more than any other GM. The Mariners were never going to keep quiet. The timing of this trade, though, was simply horrible. They sit well in the wildcard hunt and have just ended a four-game winning streak.
Sure, they are only on the edge of contention. Yet, this is still a gut punch for the players left on the roster. Graveman was enjoying an elite season. The back end of their bullpen had been one of their greatest strengths, with their relievers ranking sixth in WHIP.
It is not only the trade itself, of course. The return is hardly franchise changing, and banking on Smith to make up for the loss of Graveman is ambitious.
It’s about who the trade was with. Seattle have boosted their division rivals. This is the team they’re meant to be chasing down. Significantly, it gives the Astros another reliable, elite arm alongside Ryan Pressly. They can now shorten games in a way they could not previously.
The Mariners also moved to land Tyler Anderson, who should help the rotation. It’s a weird combination of moves, and perhaps demonstrates the challenge Dipoto has to balance future return (Toro) with trying to compete in 2021 (Anderson).
The trade deadline is often reduced to buy or sell. Sometimes it is that simple, but often general managers are looking to do what Dipoto has done.
It might prove a masterstroke in a couple of years, but for now, it’s easy to see why they have an unhappy clubhouse on their hands. Trading Graveman to a division rival is not the move of a front office which is trying to win this year.
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