Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Draft Rankings
Draft Simulator
Enter League Settings
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

Mariners on the Rebuild - Fantasy Impact

Over the weekend, the New York Mets and the Seattle Mariners closed a long-gestating agreement to exchange money, pro talent, and young assets.

The M’s continued their descent into “Tank City” by unloading slugger Robinson Cano and his $120 million contract along with cheap All-Star closer Edwin Diaz in exchange for less expensive but less good slugger Jay Bruce, more expensive and way less-good reliever Anthony Swarzak, outfielder Jarred Kelenic, and pitching prospects Justin Dunn and Gerson Bautista.

That’s a whole lot of movement with a lot of implications to break down, and Rotoballer will be unpacking each angle from a fantasy perspective. Here, we’ll explore players coming to the Mariners, what it means for other Seattle assets, and how this will impact the 2019 season.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Big Trade, Small Return

Seattle fans are probably bummed, and they probably should be. After all, trade returns for top relievers have been incredible over the last few seasons. Three seasons ago, the Cubs gave up uber-prospect Gleyber Torres for Aroldis Chapman, and Andrew Miller cost the Indians’ two of their top prospects in Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield. Two seasons ago, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle were dealt for a package that included Blake Rutherford, then considered a top-30 prospect. Even last year, though returns were down, saw Brad Hand and Adam Cimber netting the Padres catcher Francisco Meija, one of the best catching prospects in the last 20 years. So to say that Diaz, either the best reliever in baseball or number two to Blake Treinen depending on who you talk to, would be dealt along with an aging slugger for two prospects that are maybe at the back end of the top 100 prospects in baseball and financial relief is probably a tough pill to swallow for M’s fans.

The two big leaguers, outfielder Jay Bruce and reliever Anthony Swarzak, are here more as line items on a budget than as clubhouse assets. Swarzak, for example, is almost worthless as a fantasy player thanks to a propensity to having his pitches hit hard and far. The two-year contract that the Mets gave Swarzak was almost immediately a disaster, as the then 32-year-old was paid thanks to a career year in 2017 that saw him generate 2.2 WAR. Of course, he had only generated 1.2 WAR over the first eight seasons of his career, but recency bias is a thing. Sure enough, the Mets expecting a pitcher in his 30s to replicate a career year didn't work out so well, and Swarzak's injury-filled 2018 ended with ghastly 6.15 ERA and a career-worst hard hit percentage of 34.3%. Whatever he had in 2017 was gone, and there is little evidence that it'll return. The Mariners are already going to run out a reliever reclamation project in Juan Nicasio. There's little chance that Swarzak sees high-leverage innings, and thus can be avoided and ignored in all fantasy leagues.

Which brings us to Bruce, the most impactful player coming back to Seattle in terms of the upcoming 2019 season. The 31-year-old is the dictionary definition of a replacement level player, save for a 2017 season which saw him put up a .254/.324/.508 with a career-best 36 home runs. He was a better fantasy player than real one, as anyone that can launch 20-30 home runs per season has a place in lineups. But Bruce is kind of like the Blake Bortles of baseball, good counting numbers despite playing all around bad baseball. He's never been a good hitter, and that distinction came to a head in 2018 when his power abandoned him. An ugly .223/.310/.370 with just nine home runs and a career-worst .147 ISO. As soon as Bruce lost the ability to pop the ball off the bat, he became worthless.

Of course, there's always the chance for the aging veteran to get enough run that he becomes valuable, and it's in this context that Bruce is most interesting. It's way too early for reliable ADP data, but don't expect him to show up on many top 300 lists. He'll either be undrafted or a final round selection in 2019, and with results like he had last season, I can't really argue. But Bruce's fat contract all but guarantees that he'll be a Mariner for the next two seasons, and with Seattle tearing it down to the studs they likely won't be a competitive team in 2019, leaving all of those at-bats to Bruce. In fact, they may try to feature him in hopes of him hitting enough to trade, an unlikely outcome. But despite Bruce's replacement-level reputation, this is a guy who has hit 20+ home runs in eight of his 10 seasons in the bigs. It's unlikely that all of that pop just went away, meaning there is a chance to grab a 20 home run outfielder for almost nothing. You'll want to make sure to use him exclusively as a platoon bat, but if he can produce anything close to his .256/.330/.486 against righties, he could be a real bargain.


Seattle's Plan (They Have One, Right?)

But make no mistake, the crux of this deal lies with Seattle’s ability to develop outfielder Jarred Kelenic and starter Justin Dunn. Both players were first-round picks of the Mets from 2018 and 2017, but their lofty draft status covers up less than ideal scouting profiles for both. Kelenic was drafted eighth overall and was considered the most advanced high school bat available. He plays center now, but isn’t likely to stick there long term. Unlike many highly drafted high school bats, however, the 19-year-old lacks the loud tools common among the more exciting prospects in the game. Kelenic’s ceiling is lower, but the feeling is that his floor is high. He’ll very likely be a big leaguer, but just how good of a big leaguer is entirely dependent upon him developing better game power.

As far as 2019 is concerned, the only name to know from the Seattle perspective is Dunn. College relievers tend to move quickly as long as they continue to develop and their stuff plays, and both are true in Dunn’s case. The 23-year-old has a 93-97 mph heater with good movement, two above-average breaking pitches, and a developing but potentially nasty changeup. Some scouts think that three of his pitches, specifically the fastball, changeup, and curveball, could be legitimate out pitches, which gives him a larger repertoire than most relievers. He has strong command of all of his pitches, and he struck out more than 10 batters per nine in 134.4 innings last season across high A and double A. And all that is great, but Dunn may be a better asset for deep keeper and dynasty leagues. Seattle is firmly entrenched in a total teardown and, if Dunn turns out to be a high-value reliever as the Mariners certainly hope, there’s no reason to move start the service time clock earlier than they need to. At this point, Dunn is a name to watch for late 2019 and nothing more.

Unfortunately for M’s fans, a “low-ceiling, high-floor” high schooler and a potential backend reliever are pretty light returns for Diaz, who is under team control for the next four years and will make just $570K in 2019, which is also 16 times what Swarzak will make. Had the Mariners waited until the trade deadline to deal arguably the most valuable reliever in baseball, they might have received a similar haul to what the Cubs sent the Yankees during the 2016 season. If I were an M’s fan, I’d be furious over this deal. Of course, none of that matters for your fantasy team, so I’ll get down off of my soapbox now.


Bottom Line

In terms of the fantasy impact for 2019, you can expect many more Mariners to get dealt as the off-season drags on. Shortstop Jean Segura is already expected to be dealt to Philadelphia in exchange for J.P. Crawford and other prospects. Along with catcher Mike Zunino, starting pitcher James Paxton, utility outfielder Guillermo Heredia, reliever Alex Colome, players like Mitch Haniger, Nelson Cruz, Marco Gonzales, Juan Nicasio, Dee Gordon, and perhaps even Felix Hernandez should expect to spend all or parts of 2019 with a different organization.

That leaves a metric ton of holes in the lineup, and you might have heard that Seattle had the worst farm system in baseball before the Diaz deal. With a desire to clear as much salary as possible and no incentive to promote their few good prospects, it is unclear who will be filling all of these vacancies. It is most likely that a mix of inexpensive veterans such as Denard Span or Cameron Maybin, both of whom finished last season in Seattle, and more limited prospects like designated hitter Dan Vogelbach, middle infielder Donnie Walton, and starters Rob Whaley and Max Povse. Expect to see a lot of names that you’ve never heard from getting at-bats.

Of course, this creates an opportunity. Every team that runs out older and less regarded prospects to “see what they have” occasionally runs into a player that becomes genuinely useful in fantasy. Players like Tommy Pham, Jose Pirela, Ryan O’Hearn, and Jake Cave became important contributors on fantasy championship teams over the last few seasons despite receiving little to no buzz when they were called up. Baseball is littered with success stories that scouts never saw coming. Whether or not Seattle will run one of these surprises out and who that will be is anyone’s guess, but you can count of Rotoballer to keep an eye out.


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Draft Rankings
Draft Simulator
Enter League Settings
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts


Casey Mittelstadt7 mins ago

Hands Out Two Assists
Steven Kwan2 hours ago

Plates Five In Win Over Seattle
Tee Higgins9 hours ago

Not Concerned About Contract Situation
Jeff Skinner9 hours ago

Scores Game-Winning Goal In Overtime
Devon Levi9 hours ago

Earns Victory In NHL Debut
A.J. Puk11 hours ago

Picks Up Save For Marlins Friday
Rhys Hoskins11 hours ago

Undergoes Successful Knee Surgery
Nick Solak11 hours ago

Mariners Acquire Nick Solak From Reds
Justin Verlander11 hours ago

Does Some Throwing On Friday
Justin Verlander11 hours ago

Does Some Light Throwing
Luis Urías12 hours ago

Luis Urias Reportedly Heading To Injured List
Joey Wiemer12 hours ago

Reportedly Will Be Called Up
Anthony Rendon12 hours ago

Being Investigated By MLB
Willson Contreras13 hours ago

Receives Good News On Friday
Seattle Seahawks14 hours ago

Ryan Neal Becomes Free Agent
Pharaoh Brown14 hours ago

Joins Colts
Darrynton Evans14 hours ago

To Meet With Colts
Laquon Treadwell14 hours ago

Working Out For Cowboys
Zach Collins14 hours ago

Out Against Golden State
De'Andre Hunter14 hours ago

Out With A Knee Injury On Friday
Oscar Gonzalez14 hours ago

Starting On Friday
Obi Toppin14 hours ago

Will Start Against The Cavs
Jarrett Allen15 hours ago

Downgraded To Out On Friday
Nelson Cruz15 hours ago

Batting Cleanup On Friday
Mike Moustakas15 hours ago

Remains Out Again
Michael Brantley15 hours ago

Takes Batting Practice
Andrew Vaughn15 hours ago

Sitting On Friday
Gavin Sheets17 hours ago

Oscar Colas Starting On Friday
Paul Sewald17 hours ago

Picks Up Win On Opening Day
Garrett Whitlock17 hours ago

Making Rehab Start Friday
Josh Rojas17 hours ago

Hitting Leadoff Against Dodgers
Corey Julks17 hours ago

Making MLB Debut Against White Sox
Bryan Reynolds17 hours ago

Opt-Out Clause The Sticking Point For Bryan Reynolds Extension
Portland Trail Blazers18 hours ago

LaMarcus Aldridge Officially Retires From The NBA
Jamal Murray18 hours ago

Considered Questionable Against Phoenix
Nikola Jokic18 hours ago

Could Miss His Second Consecutive Game
Kenyon Martin18 hours ago

Jr. Uncertain To Play Against Detroit
Tobias Harris18 hours ago

Could Miss Friday's Game Against Toronto
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander18 hours ago

Upgraded To Questionable On Friday
Al Horford18 hours ago

Uncertain To Suit Up On Friday
Jaylen Brown18 hours ago

Tagged As Questionable With Lower-Back Pain
Jayson Tatum18 hours ago

Listed As Questionable Against Utah
Kelly Olynyk18 hours ago

Is Available Against Boston On Friday
De'Andre Hunter18 hours ago

Downgraded To Out On Friday
Trayveon Williams20 hours ago

Bengals Have High Hopes For Trayveon Williams
Joe Burrow20 hours ago

Bengals Begin Extension Discussions With Joe Burrow
Mac Jones21 hours ago

Bill Belichick Still Non-Committal On Mac Jones
Sammy Blais22 hours ago

Extends Point Streak To Six Games
Cam Talbot22 hours ago

Makes A Winning Return
Matthew Beniers23 hours ago

Logs Two Points Against Anaheim
Stuart Skinner23 hours ago

Grabs A 43-Save Shutout
Tristan Jarry23 hours ago

Records His Second Shutout
Matthew Tkachuk23 hours ago

Rolls To Four Points Versus Montreal
T.J. Oshie23 hours ago

Exits With An Upper-Body Injury
Mikey Anderson23 hours ago

Injured On First Shift Thursday
CJ McCollum24 hours ago

Drops 23 Points In Easy Win Over Denver
Jamal Murray24 hours ago

Salvages Solid Performance In Loss
Brandon Ingram24 hours ago

Secures A Triple-Double Against Denver
Jaylen Brown1 day ago

Collects Another 30-Point Game
Jayson Tatum1 day ago

Drops 40 Points In Blowout Win
Naz Reid1 day ago

Set To Miss Significant Amount Of Time
Linus Ullmark1 day ago

Allows One Goal In Overtime Victory
David Pastrnak1 day ago

Scores Game-Winning Goal
Baltimore Ravens2 days ago

Ravens Have Been Active In Receiver Market
Baker Mayfield2 days ago

Kyle Trask To Compete In Training Camp
Courtland Sutton2 days ago

Broncos Could Still Trade Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton
DeAndre Hopkins2 days ago

To Stay With Cardinals?
Odell Beckham Jr.2 days ago

Jets The Most Likely Landing Spot For Odell Beckham Jr.
Carolina Panthers2 days ago

Panthers Not Settled On One QB For No. 1 Pick
Lamar Jackson2 days ago

Not Seeking Fully Guaranteed Deal
Nathan Peterman2 days ago

Re-Signs With Bears
Ryan Lindgren2 days ago

A Game-Time Decision Against New Jersey
Seth Jones2 days ago

Expects To Play Thursday
David Savard2 days ago

A Game-Time Call Thursday
Kirby Dach2 days ago

Set To Miss At Least One Week
Adam Boqvist2 days ago

Not Expected To Play Thursday
Matt Grzelcyk2 days ago

Sits Out Thursday's Game
Michael Hutchinson2 days ago

Tending Twine Against Boston Thursday
Stuart Skinner2 days ago

Gets The Nod For Edmonton Thursday
Dre Miller2 days ago

Kendre Miller Ahead Of Schedule
Buffalo Bills2 days ago

Bills Re-Sign Jordan Phillips
Las Vegas Raiders2 days ago

Alex Bars Returns To Raiders On One-Year Deal
Dallas Cowboys2 days ago

Johnathan Hankins Re-Signs With Cowboys
NFL2 days ago

Wanya Morris Getting Close To 100%
Brendon Todd3 days ago

Has Success At TPC San Antonio
Ben Martin3 days ago

Has Value At TPC San Antonio
Nick Taylor3 days ago

A Boom-Or-Bust Option At Valero
Taylor Pendrith3 days ago

A Sleeper Option At TPC San Antonio
Chris Kirk3 days ago

A Good Option At The Valero Texas Open
Matt Kuchar3 days ago

Loves Playing TPC San Antonio
Will Gordon3 days ago

Offers A Wild-Card Option At Valero
Cam Davis3 days ago

Can Keep His Current Form At TPC San Antonio
Mark Hubbard4 days ago

A Low-Risk Value Option At Valero
Tyler Duncan4 days ago

Start Tyler Duncan At TPC San Antonio
Emiliano Grillo4 days ago

Not Recommended At Valero
Patrick Rodgers4 days ago

Don't Give Patrick Rodgers A Shot At Valero
Adam Schenk4 days ago

Wants To Keep Momentum Rolling At Valero
Ryan Moore4 days ago

Cannot Get Past The Cut Lately
Stephan Jaeger4 days ago

Could Warm Things Up At Valero
Si Woo Kim4 days ago

A Possible Contender At Valero
Taylor Montgomery4 days ago

Attempting To Find Weekend Consistency
Corey Conners4 days ago

Trying To Recreate A Little Magic
Thomas Detry4 days ago

Continues To Impress In Rookie Season
Aaron Rai4 days ago

Brings Positive Momentum To Valero Texas Open
Akshay Bhatia4 days ago

Looks To Stay Hot In Texas
Todd Gilliland5 days ago

Impressive At COTA
Ty Gibbs5 days ago

Finds His Footing At COTA
Chris Buescher5 days ago

Continues To Shine On Road Courses
NASCAR5 days ago

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Finishes Seventh
Austin Cindric5 days ago

Has A Solid Day
Marlon Vera5 days ago

Has Four-Fight Winning Streak Snapped
Cory Sandhagen5 days ago

Dominates Striking Department
Yana Santos5 days ago

Dominated In Decision Loss
Holly Holm5 days ago

Dominates In Co-Main Event
Austin Lingo5 days ago

Suffers Submission Loss
Nate Landwehr5 days ago

Shines With Second-Round Submission Win
Andrea Lee5 days ago

Suffers Defeat In Close Matchup Saturday
Maycee Barber5 days ago

Takes Close Matchup On Saturday
Chidi Njokuani5 days ago

Takes Close Loss In Split-Decision Showing
Albert Duraev5 days ago

Holds Off Opponent In Tight Split Decision
William Byron5 days ago

Rounds Out Top Five At COTA
Ross Chastain5 days ago

Caught Up To Fourth At COTA On Sunday
Alex Bowman5 days ago

Brings Home Third Place Finish At COTA
Kyle Busch5 days ago

Scrambles Up To Second At Austin
Tyler Reddick5 days ago

Dominates And Wins At COTA