Before the Mariners split a double header to the San Diego Padres, they traded away their best trade chip (pending a surprise), Taijuan Walker, to the Toronto Blue Jays. The tricky part is that we do not know who they will get in return. But we do have some hints that have been dropped throughout the day and can lay a pretty solid guess on who the Mariners traded for.
First and foremost, we feel strongly that the mystery player isn’t on the 60-man roster. Only players on teams 60-man player pool can be traded in-season and if Seattle was collecting a player on the 60-man, the two sides would just announce it. We also learned later in the day from Jim Bowden of The Athletic that Seattle was getting a Top 30 prospect in the Blue Jays organization. There are a dozen of the Jays top prospects who aren’t on the 60-man, so our pool just shrunk.
We also learned from Joe Doyle of Lookout Landing and Prospects Live that the prospect is going to be a position player. So we shrink our list by removing all the pitchers. Finally, Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider revealed that he learned that the player was not a catcher or infielder. So, what we have left are outfielders. Assuming all the bread crumbs are true, this leaves us with 3 potential options; Griffin Conine, Dasan Brown, and Will Robertson.
Brown might be the most interesting of the group. He has legitimate 80-grade speed and as you might expect, plays a pretty mean centerfield as a result. The 19-year-old also has solid bat to ball skills and pretty good raw power, so any comparison to Dee Gordon or Mallex Smith would be mature. But he’s likely 3 or more years away and Seattle doesn’t typically go after such players.
Conine comes from a baseball family. His father, Jeff Conine, played 17 big league seasons. Conine was a second-round pick out of Duke in 2018 thanks to his plus raw power and strong arm. He’ll manage in the outfield, but his below-average speed limits his defensive ceiling. Conine will need to hit to be a big leaguer and there are serious questions about that after Conine struck out in 35% of his PAs in A-ball in 2019.
That brings us to Will Robertson. A 2019 fourth round pick, Robertson has a lot of the attributes Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto tends to value. He was a strong Cape Cod performer in 2018, shows easy raw power, a strong sense of the strike zone, and drew walks in his first minor league season. Robertson isn’t a burner, but he is faster than Conine, with a better chance to hit for average as well. He may have legitimate 25 home run power thanks to his above-average bat speed and may reel off a handful of 30 double seasons. His strike zone management gives him a shot to hit .270/.340/.450 with average”ish” defense in left field.
Ultimately, Robertson is our best guess. His profile as a hitter matches what the Mariners like from their bats. Obviously, there isn’t a lot to be excited about yet, as he mostly profiles as a bat first, fourth outfielder. But Robertson is a prime candidate to make a tweak in his swing and pop and could be MLB ready by some point in 2022. And for 4 starts from Taijuan Walker, that would be a pretty nice haul for Jerry Dipoto and the Seattle Mariners.