Detroit Tigers: Taking on contracts could provide useful in adding prospects
Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is no stranger to significantly shaking up his team in the offseason.
Dipoto has essentially done this with the M’s the last two offseasons. That being said, the general manager could be busy again this winter.
Seattle is in win-now mode, but isn’t anywhere close to contending with Houston in the American League West.
What’s more, the Angels and Rangers are seemingly neck-and-neck with the M’s, if not ahead of them in the division-hierarchy heading into 2018.
Currently, the Mariners have long-term commitments to Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Mike Leake, Kyle Seager and Jean Segura.
Per Spotrac, Seager and Segura will see significant bumps in salary next season.
Seager will go from $11 million to $19 million while Segura will go from $6.7 million to $9.5 million.
Add in likely arbitration raises for James Paxton, David Phelps, Mike Zunino and Erasmo Ramirez, and any financial flexibility gained from getting the contracts of Hisashi Iwakuma, Yovani Gallardo, Danny Valencia, Yonder Alonso and Carlos Ruiz’ contract will help little—especially if the M’s intend to re-sign fellow free-agent-to-be Jarrod Dyson or make a higher-priced acquisition elsewhere.
Why Rzepczynski could conceivably be expendable
First base and the outfield corners remain as needs for Seattle. Because of this, the team could conceivably spend some money at either position.
One player who could conceivably be dealt is reliever Marc Rzepczynski.
Owed $5.5 million next season before hitting free agency, per Spotrac, Rzepczynski has been a dependable reliever in the past.
However, the Mariners have more affordable relievers in Emilio Pagan, Nick Vincent and Tony Zych to set up Edwin Diaz.
Rzepczynski has turned in a respectable 4.38 xFIP this year, but has missed nearly as many bats. His swinging strike percentage dropped from 11.2 in 2016 to 10.5 this year.
He’s sporting a 6.97 strikeouts per nine innings rate this year, down from 8.69. Additionally, he’s seen his strikeout percentage fall from 21.4 to 17.9.
The prospect received in a hypothetical Rzepczynski likely wouldn’t be as valuable as a prospect acquired for taking on a bigger contract. However, there’s potential value all the same.
Detroit could plug the southpaw in as one of Shane Greene’s top setup options.
This way, the Tigers would be able to bring Joe Jimenez, Bryan Garcia and Jairo Labourt along slowly in the early parts of 2018.
The team could then trade Rzepczynski at the trade deadline for further prospects.