MLB rumors: Mariners could move Kyle Seager using similar framework to Cano-Diaz trade

We've known the Mariners were going to be going through a radical rebuild from the time they traded James Paxton and probably even before that. With the Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz trade to the Mets nearing the finish line, the Mariners can soon focus on moving more players.

Next up: Third baseman Kyle Seager, reports Buster Olney of ESPN. 

Seager falls in the same category as Cano, in that he has a contract that the team finds undesirable. Seager has three years and $57.5 million left on his deal and he's trending in troubling fashion. His OPS+ went from 133 to 109 to 86 in the last three seasons, just as his WAR dropped from 6.9 to 2.5 to 0.8. In 155 games last year, he hit .221/.273/.400. He still had 36 doubles and 22 homers, but he's walking less, striking out more and his average and on-base percentage are in a total nosedive. 

Teams can do three things when trying to dump salary and the Mariners just did all three with Cano. 

  1. Eat money. Reports indicate the Mariners will pay down $20 million of the remainder of Cano's deal. 
  2. Attach an attractive player. Edwin Diaz is an elite closer, is 24 years old and under team control through 2022. 
  3. Take back some unwanted contracts. The Mariners took Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak from the Mets. 

Seager isn't nearly as good as Cano at this point, but he's owed far less money and is a few years younger. 

It's possible a change of scenery and a league switch could do Seager some good. It was just 2016 when he hit .278/.359/.499 with 30 homers and 99 RBI, so it's possible a team out there would be willing to match up with the Mariners. 

In looking at the Cano deal, the Mariners could look to do something similar. They could eat something like $15 million of what's left while maybe taking back a veteran that has less money left on his deal and -- if they attach Jean Segura or Mitch Haniger -- get back some prospects. 

We know Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is willing to get creative like this because it just happened. 

Haniger, 27, hit .285/.366/.493 with 38 doubles, 26 homers and 93 RBI last season. He doesn't hit free agency until after the 2022 season and he's not even to arbitration yet. A Haniger-Seager package with the Mariners paying down some of Seager would absolutely land a good prospect haul. 

I wonder about the Cardinals sending back Dexter Fowler here. He's owed $49.5 million over the next three seasons. The Braves could work, though they just signed Josh Donaldson to play third next season. They Cubs are probably desperate to unload Tyler Chatwood's two years and $25.5 million, but they don't have much in the way of prospects to send back. Maybe the Rockies send Ian Desmond (three years and $38 million) back and move Seager to first? 

All of those teams, and more, would love to have Haniger. 

Segura, 28, hit .304/.341/.415 with 29 doubles, 10 homers, 20 steals and 91 runs last season. He's a quality shortstop who has also shown he can handle second base in his career. He's a fine table-setter and could work as a leadoff man on a contender. Attaching him to Seager, again, would likely get prospects back, though not as high quality as Haniger, because Segura is on a five-year, $70 million deal through 2022 with a club option for 2023. 

You know who makes a ton of sense here? The Phillies. If they miss out on both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, they could even try to grab Haniger and Segura with Seager. We've seen the Mariners connected to Phillies' shortstop J.P. Crawford in rumors

Lots of other teams can work here, too. 

The bottom line is that the Mariners are now reportedly motivated to move Seager next and constructing a deal similar to one that rids them of Cano by using Haniger and/or Segura makes a lot of sense. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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