Questionable Eugenio Suarez trade could signal something big for this AL West rival

What's Jerry Dipoto cooking here?
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Seattle Mariners, like the Los Angeles Angels, came into the 2023 season with lofty expectations only to let their fans down. Yes, the Angels season was far worse, but Seattle missed the playoffs even with their 88 wins. Because of that failure, it was assumed Seattle would be doing everything they could to get back into the postseason. Their first big move of the offseason would signal something else.

The Mariners decided to trade away third baseman Eugenio Suarez to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Seby Zavala and Carlos Vargas. What?

Could the Eugenio Suarez trade be a precursor to a big Mariners move?

The Mariners traded away a rock solid third baseman in Suarez who has 30+ home runs in four of his last five full seasons (excluding 2020) and acquired virtually nothing. Zavala figures to be Cal Raleigh's backup but he had a .545 OPS in 175 plate appearances last season split between the White Sox and Diamondbacks. His .622 career OPS doesn't spark much optimism either. Vargas debuted this past season for Arizona and gave up three runs in 4.2 innings pitched. He was even worse in the minors, posting an 8.93 ERA in 38 appearances.

Suarez is set to make an extremely affordable $11 million this season, and has a $15 million club option in 2024. Yes, he strikes out a lot, but this is a perfectly reasonable deal for a player of his caliber. The only answer that'd really make sense as to why Seattle would do this is they're planning on something bigger.

In Jeff Passan's tweet he cites the Mariners getting money off their books as a win for Seattle. That seems to be the biggest part of the deal, as the reliever and catcher are pretty irrelevant. For a team in need of offense, trading away one of the best power bats at third base doesn't help.

Could this be a precursor to a Matt Chapman signing? Maybe, but is that even much of an upgrade? Could this be them trying to clear as much money as possible before giving Shohei Ohtani a blank check? Maybe, but $11 million is chump change in what will be a ridiculous Ohtani deal.

For now, the Mariners are a team worth watching. Planning on competing while trading your third baseman just to clear money doesn't quite add up. Something big could be brewing in Seattle, and it's interesting to think what Jerry Dipoto is up to.