St. Louis Cardinals: A blockbuster, one-stop-shop in Seattle
The St. Louis Cardinals would need to give a good package to receive the asking price.
The first piece heading back to Seattle has to be Stephen Piscotty. The Cardinals’ incumbent right fielder was signed to a team-friendly extension this past offseason, keeping him under team control through 2022 for an average annual value of just $5.58 million.
Although coming off of a down year, Piscotty has known offensive upside (121 WRC+ over 905 PA in 2015 & 2016) combined with being a +8 DRS in 2,127.2 right field innings. He’s a young, valuable, controllable player with established upside and talent; just the kind of player who Seattle has signaled they are looking for.
Next up in the return package going back to Seattle, along with Piscotty, are Luke Weaver and Dakota Hudson.
I like Weaver and have championed Hudson as a potential power-arm out of the bullpen in 2018, but there needs to be some significant pitching talent gong back to the Mariners in this trade.
Both players have a full six years of team control entering 2018 and both have a lot of upside.
Weaver put together an outstanding 2017 season that featured a 2.93 xFIP and 1.4 fWAR in a mere 60.1 IP, leaving many believing that he can not lonely be serviceable at the MLB level, but thrive and potentially be a top line starter.
Dakota Hudson flew his way threw the minor leagues in 2017, finishing in Triple-A just one year after being drafted in the 1st round out of Mississippi State. The 23-year-old was somewhat aggressively pushed to Double-A right out of the gate this past season, but he thrived with the challenging assignment posting a 2.53 ERA and 9.6 K/9 in 114 electric innings before being promoted to Triple-A Memphis.
The Hudson train slowed a bit in Memphis, as his K/9 dropped to 6.1 and his ERA ballooned to 4.42 in 38.2 IP, but he’ll be ready to roll at that level to begin 2018 and could possibly be ready for a call-up as early as July.
The Mississippi State right-hander possesses a lively arm and a repertoire that features a power sinker, hard slider and developing change-up that make him either a 3rd-4th starter candidate or a late inning power reliever candidate in the future.
Both Weaver and Hudson are young and have years of control, combined with upside, cost flexibility, and both are either MLB-ready or feasibly within a year of being MLB-ready. And, to round out the return package to Seattle will be Harrison Bader and Jedd Gyorko.
Bader comes, like Weaver and Hudson, with 6 years of control going forward and plenty of potential to boot. The University of Florida product slugged 20 HR’s and .469 in 465 Triple-A at bats this past season, and combined that with the ability to play all three outfield positions defensively and 15 stolen bases as well.
The power-speed-defense combination gives Bader 5-tool upside and he showed it in brief flashes over 32 games at the Major League level in 2017. He could be reasonably counted on to make a Major League opening day roster in 2018 and could prove to be a valuable piece for Seattle.
Gyorko comes with defensive versatility and three more years of team control at a highly reasonable $5.91 million per year. He can slot right into the hole left by Kyle Seager’s departure in this trade for Seattle.