2. Matthew Boyd, LHP Detroit Tigers
Ah yes, this old chestnut again. We know the Mariners were at least tangentially involved in trade discussions with the Tigers regarding Boyd in 2018 and is an arm Dipoto is likely intrigued by. However, the asking price from the Tigers has always been ridiculous and despite the obvious reasons to trade Boyd, Detroit never did.
But now the opportunity to sell high on Boyd has long passed and outside of a 3 month stretch in 2019, Boyd has been the poster child of unfulfilled potential. Just like Manaea, Boyd is older (30 in March) and has just two years of club control remaining. He also has a hefty arbitration number attached to him, likely somewhere in the range of $8 million.
Unlike Manaea, Boyd presents some serious upside. He misses bats with roughly the same control numbers as Manaea, has been durable and reliable, and has flashed #2 starter stuff for extended periods of time. But Boyd has been absolutely killed by the home run, giving up 39 home runs in 2019 and 15 in just 12 starts in 2020.
But the slider is elite which gives Boyd an extra bit of security that Manaea doesn’t. Look at this nasty slider:
If Boyd can’t hack it as a starter, his stuff will absolutely play in the bullpen. Boyd could be the next Drew Pomeranz, but he still might be able to be a true #3 starter. And with the Mariners track record and player development staff, it might be a risk worth taking.
Now if the Tigers are sticking to their ridiculous asking price (remember they asked the Yankees for Gleyber Torres in 2019), Boyd is a non-starter. But after a bad second half in 2019 and a bad 2020, it’s hard to think the Tigers can seriously still hold Boyd in such high esteem. He won’t come cheap, but he’s not a guy who the Mariners would need to break the farm to acquire.