Trade Deadline

Mariners GM: Trade missed by “thirty seconds”

This isn’t speculation. This is an on-the-record quote from the general manager of the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners spent Monday morning trying to iron out the details on a trade to acquire shortstop Zack Cozart from Cincinnati before the 1 p.m. deadline for non-waiver deals. It didn’t happen.

Multiple sources earlier indicated a deal seemed likely. The Mariners believed they had a framework for a two-for-two deal in place Sunday in which they would have sent minor-league pitcher Luiz Gohara to the Reds. The proposed swap had two other minor-league players changing clubs but, ultimately, the Reds backed away — apparently because they spent much of the morning restructuring a trade that sent outfielder Jay Bruce to the New York Mets.

In effect, it appears the Reds ran out of time before they could completely review and assess the medical records of the players they were to receive from the Mariners.

General manager Jerry Dipoto declined to discussed specifics but, asked how close the Mariners came to a trade, he replied: “Thirty seconds?”

Look, if this is true, it’s embarrassing for the Reds front office. They appear inept.

Reports surfaced several hours before the deadline that the two clubs had worked out the 2-for-2 trade. This article says the trade framework was finalized on SUNDAY. Trading Zack Cozart would have opened up playing time for top prospects. It should have been a high priority for the Reds. If in fact the Reds had decided they liked the trade terms with the Mariners but just didn’t have the time to get the medical reports reviewed, that’s shocking.

Maybe the Reds ended up not liking the trade, or maybe there’s a part of this that outsiders can’t appreciate. Or maybe at the next deadline the Reds should give up chewing gum just to be safe.

115 thoughts on “Mariners GM: Trade missed by “thirty seconds”

  1. Reds have 2 GM’s and can’t make more than 1 trade. Texas made 2 at almost the same time. I’ve always said they can’t handle more than 1 thing at a time.

  2. Mark Sheldon said the reds weren’t even close to having a match for Cozy so take that for what its worth:

    There were rumors that the Reds have talks to trade Zack Cozart to the Mariner but Jocketty downplayed them. There were never serious talks.
    “There was a little bit of talk, but not really, no,” he said.

    I don’t care how much you distrust the Reds FO, I don’t think there is anyway they were 30 seconds from a trade with Cozart with three other players involved and they couldn’t get it done because of the Bruce negotiations.

    • This is possible. But it’s the same guy who said last winter that the Chapman market hadn’t changed since the previous trade deadline. My general rule is not to believe anything he says about a trade. Certainly wouldn’t expect him to admit they missed the Cozart trade for the reason stated in the Seattle media.

    • Mark Sheldon did what he does best, appeasing the Reds front office and fluffing up an article to not reflect poorly on the Reds front office. Sheldon laid down some cover fire for Jocketty, so Jocketty could retreat back into his cozy confines of 100 Nuxhall Way.
      I would give the Seattle story more credibility than the Sheldon report.

    • No real reason to trust the word of an outsider over one of the two main people involved in the trade negotiations.

  3. There was also this tweet from Jeff Passan, one of the top sportswriters in the country:

    • This may be a sign of a terrible front office, or a sign of an honorable front office. IF they were not picking up the phone because they were frantically incapable of handling more than one thing at time, then it’s the former. If they had a firm handshake deal with the Mets and were simply reviewing medical charts and in a gentlemanly way told the Mets – it’s done, we’re done negotiating with other teams let’s get this pushed through – then it’s the latter.

      • Sure. You can also pick up the phone and say that you’re done negotiating. Every team must do that, right? If not answering the phone is common, then you’re right, there’s nothing to see here. Not sure why two teams would make a point of telling Passan if that was the case, though.

  4. As with all second hand stories, it’s tough to place a high degree of confidence in it. But it’s a data point that you file away. And in the case of the Reds’ front office, we’ve had an awful lot of data points like this.

    • This isn’t a second hand story though right? That is a quote from the Seattle GM. Unless the writer fabricated it, it’s a first hand account.

  5. This is just inexcusable. Two GM’s on board and they couldn’t pull it off.
    Not sure if the second player coming from Seattle would have been the OF, O’Niell, but that would have been a nice return with the LHP Gohara. That should have been a priority to move Cozart and open a spot for Peraza. Getting O’Neill from Seattle instead of Nimmo from the Mets, then Herrera from the Mets and two young LH pitchers would have been a very good day for the Reds. Again, another trading opportunity wasted by this inept Reds front office. Opportunity has been knocking the Reds front office door down, but Jocketty keeps napping away unable to answer the call.

  6. The article takes a leap with this statement:

    “In effect, it appears the Reds ran out of time before they could completely review and assess the medical records of the players they were to receive from the Mariners.”

    Perhaps that is true. But I’m not ready to accept it.

  7. No tears shed here. Gohera had a lot of question marks and wasn’t enough for gold glove SS with some pop in his bat and a year of control left. There will be more teams interested in Cozy in the offseason. Yeah, it doesn’t help Peraza, but we have to get more back imo.

    The real elephant in the room is Phillips and Price. Phillips because we have better options, and Price because he will manage for his job and clubhouse harmony rather than long term organizational goals.

    • Both are pretty much non issues. Phillips is here to either Bob ponies up the money to get him traded or he will be the starting second basemen till the end of next season. This isn’t on Price. As for Price, I want my manager playing to win each and every game. IF Price feels that Phillips gives us the best chance to do that at this time then so be it.

      • Can’t agree with that. When you’re rebuilding it doesn’t make sense to run guys out there who might play better than your young guys. We need to sit BP and get the young guys exposed to major league pitching. Their service time clocks are running–why waste them as subs?

    • Agree here. With the 6 million or so they save trading Bruce this year it would seem fairly easy to jettison BP now if they can find a taker, or not find one and waive him. I don’t mind Zach sticking around. Peraza may not be a ML ss, possibly a platoon player. Herrara will be up to play 2nd sooner than later. Somebody, Williams or Castellini being the best bets, has to force the issue on Phillips.

  8. I love how everyone here who have zero knowledge of what the Reds were doing or what the offers were are ready to blame the Reds.

  9. I was born a Reds fan, and have stayed one for all 40 years, basically only able to enjoy 1990 and the last few playoff years, though I never felt the FO was all in. My daughter interned for the Indianapolis Indians recently, we live 20 minutes from Indy and their beautiful AAA ballpark and I work for PNC….I swore if they screwed up the rebuild I’d be gone. Looks like I may be a Pirates supporter very soon. Can’t handle it anymore..

    • Yeah…I could see where you would feel more comfortable with a franchise that had 20 straight losing seasons…hasn’t won a post season game in 24 years and has a window of opportunity that is in the process is slamming shut.

        • The Pirates’ front office has by widely lauded for being on the cutting edge of modern analytics. This helped bring about their recent upswing in fortunes.

          I think following Pittsburgh would at least be somewhat enjoyable, if nothing else than to have a front office that seems like they’ve been paying attention for the last 10 years.

  10. Not surprising this front is awful good trade yesterday and now this so sad

  11. I think the expression “give a dog a bad name…” syndrome.

    The attitude towards the Reds front office on this site is “Guilty first then the trial”. And the commentators follow your lead.

    It’s getting to the point where if it were found out that Walt Jocketty could walk on water, people here would complain that he couldn’t swim.

    The story as I read it: ageneral manager didn’t make a trade. He blames someone else. Dog bites man.

    Try this as a thought experiment: Walt Jocketty goes public and blames the Seattle general manager for taking too long to approve a trade. Just imagine how Walt Jocketty would be treated on this site for being so unprofessional.

    • Look at this way….pick your favorite scapegoat Obama or George W. Bush. Then have that guy stick around for 9 years when you didn’t want him for the first 8! That’s how we feel about Jocketty

    • Seat, why blame the messenger?
      Walt Jocketty’s screw ups are real, meaningful and damaging to the Reds. They aren’t a figment of our imagination, like it seems with you. On a balance scale, we’ll put on one side is Walt is good, the other side is Walt is bad. When you put the weights on each end of the scale for Jocketty’s accomplishments and non-accomplishments, the bad far outweighs the good. It far outweighs the good.
      You and few other faux fans really bad mouth RLN and take cheap shots at RLN over at the redsminorleagues.com website. I don’t get it.

      • The only thing I posted over at Reds minor leagues.com was the fact that I thought Cozart would make a very good waiver trade candidate. Other posters have convinced me otherwise.

        I have been attending Reds game since 1961. My family and I have spent over $50,000.00 on Reds tickets in that period of time.

        Faux fan indeed.

        • Seat, my apologies, you are no faux fan. But that shot just kind of hit me wrong this morning.

      • Perhaps you could share with us your definition of a faux fan? Since the trade deadline has passed do we need to wait until after the season for your next batch of trades or will you be putting out a special “cleared waivers” edition? I bought my Reds Bregman jersey last week. I hope it’s returnable

      • I feel like I read the comments at my site every day and I don’t recall cheap shots being taken, or really, much discussion at all about things that go on here.

        I can also promise you that there are ZERO “faux fans” at Redleg Nation or Reds Minor Leagues. Faux fans aren’t seeking out places like that to discuss Reds baseball. They go to Cincinnati.com or ESPN.com to throw a fit about something, then go on with their days.

        • I love your site Doug and view it most every day. I like the commenters as they add nicely to the discussion. But recently there has been a small group in your forum that like to throw insults the way of RLN website and “the writers over there” or “the editors over there”. Of course, most of their angst is analytics related and their disdain. Funny thing is they post here too under the same names. I click off your articles after reading them. I don’t read down through the comments any more.
          Go through your Jay Bruce got traded article and about halfway down there are a few. That was the last comment section I read. I won’t go there again.

    • You are absolutely right. While I understand everyone’s disappointment with the Reds’ performance these past few seasons, and the outcomes of a couple trades, I feel the cynicism is blown way out of proportion. Had this supposed Cozart trade gone through I’m sure there would be a good number of people saying the return was bad, and that we should have held onto him.
      I was looking forward to Cozart being traded and seeing the younger guys play. But I understand there is a multitude of things going on behind the scenes that could have stopped this trade. I’m sure we’re only getting a fraction of the data that went into this decision.

  12. Maybe they can work something out in August. Doesn’t seem likely though that Cozart would pass through waivers. We shall see. May Jocketty gets a chance to redeem himself. From that Seattle article,

    “We’re going to have something on the market in August,” Dipoto said. “I guarantee there will be more activity throughout the league, and we’ll probably be at the center of that.”
    “Mariners officials didn’t rule out a resumption of talks with the Reds regarding Cozart.”

    • I don’t think there is any way that Cozart would clear waivers. He is inexpensive and under control for one more year. He provides a lot of bang for the buck. If he was costing a fortune then maybe. He’s so cheap that even if you don’t need a SS, you may claim him just to block another team from getting him. Then, on top of that, you can try to move him in the off-season.

      I think we’ll see Cozart dealt this off-season.

  13. You just get the feeling Jocketty doesn’t do much texting or emailing and handles everything the old fashioned way. He moves slow and deliberate and it seems like he is still calling the shots even though in the off season they said he was passing the reigns. He’s had some good moves over the years but he has proven to be very inflexible and slow to pull the trigger in mid-season. Is he wheeling and dealing making teams bid against each other? The evidence doesn’t point that way. He would rather choose a couple prospects from an organization and do his thorough homework. Maybe there is something to be said for that, but you feel he could and should get more done to stay competitive with the younger GMs.

  14. I heard jim Bowden on ESPN yesterday that baseball doesn’t strictly enforce the deadline. Deals get done after and mlb looks the other way. For what it’s worth.

    • This I believe. Takes time to process paperwork impossible for the league to know exactly when a deal was verbally agreed to. Are we to seriously the league is listening in and yells TIME UP at exactly 4?

    • I have read in the past that “midnight” is a very amorphus term when it comes to major-league baseball. I think it was Tom Callahan who said ” …that for major-league baseball it’s always midnight somewhere.”

    • Maybe, but I heard Dan O’Dowd say on the MLV TV network that the league needs to have some form of communication about the trade before the deadline. The example he gave was an email. … Now whether both teams need to inform the MLB office, or just one team, he didn’t say. But this makes sense if DiPoto didn’t get the final word from Walt until it was too late.

  15. On the one hand, it isn’t likely that Cozart was ever going to return somebody off a 40 man MLB roster, so the Reds should be able to get similar return for him on a “waiver deal” if they choose to go that route. The catch will be if somebody claims him as a blocking maneuver and isn’t serious about giving any return for him. If that happens then the Reds will have to choose between letting him go for the waiver fee or pulling him back and keeping him into the off season. That would be an interesting decision.

    However the other side of the coin is more disturbing to me. Whatever exactly went on with shopping Cozart, the fallout gives added fuel to the growing indications that the Reds front office lacks the agility and flexibility to successfully function in the contemporary MLB player movement environment. Again consider, moving Cozart was essentially a second tier deal more about opening a spot for young talent to play and saving some money and less about the quality of the return. It seems to me they should have been able to get this done regardless of the shifting around happening at the top of the card in the JB deal.

      • The process is officially secret but if “sources” are to be believed, most teams run waivers on virtually all their players after the trade deadline but “pull back” those who are claimed unless they choose to make a deal with the claiming team or let the guy go for the waiver fee.

        So at the least the question is will he clear and if he does will they deal him now or hold him to the off season.

        I see where Cozart was a late scratch tonight with a “slight” finger issue but is expected back tomorrow. A person has to at least wonder if somebody has already contacted the Reds about a deal for him if he makes it to them on the waiver pecking order.

    • They will not waive Zack under the situation you described above. They’ll pull him back and work on a deal in the offseason. He has value and I think it should be tested against more than a 1 horse market (ala the Mariners at the non waiver deadline).

  16. Do they only have one phone line going into 100 Nuxhall Way? Because you know while Jocketty liked to appear “hip and with it”, he totally still does all trades by landline.

    (Not serious, but this would at least be a somewhat plausible explanation….. In 1960.)

      • “Dear Seattle Mariners baseball organization -(STOP)- Thank you for your interest in our plucky little shortstop Zach Cozart -(STOP)- We are currently negotiating a trade with the New York Metropolitan ballclub -(STOP)- We will telephone you as soon as our neighbor Mr. Brown kindly vacates the party line -(STOP)- Sincerely signed The Cincinnati Professional Baseball Club -(STOP)-“

  17. Cosart and BP will get the balance of the playing time for the rest of the year and that’s just the way it is.The reasoning will be they give us the best chance to win but that’s the problem.Winning a few more games means nothing if it keeps from finding out what these young position players can do.I think the disconnect is that fans want the team to compete for a title as soon as possible and the front office just wants to be competitive and hope eventually they can sneak into a play off spot.This type of approach will not work playing in the division we play in because the teams are really good and they will not come back to us we will have to run them down.

  18. No big deal. He’ll pass waivers. Even if he doesn’t, just sit him and Brandon Phillips and play Peraza and Herrera. If Phillips didn’t want to play for a contender, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind riding the bench.

    • He won’t pass through waivers because his salary is so small some team, probably multiple teams will block a trade by claiming him.

    • You’ve got it. It’s a rebuild year or two. Peraza and Herrera are the future. Go with them.

    • Like many have said, Cozart has 0 chance of passing through waivers. A 3 WAR SS making peanuts is a valuable asset, relatively speaking.

      • Yep. Cant imagine a GG shortstop having a good season at the plate, on his salary, passing the first few clubs. Will never happen.

      • From the Reds point of view, it doesn’t matter if Cozart clears waivers. All that would matter is that the claiming team was willing to ante up a decent return on him so the Reds wouldn’t pull him back.

        The Reds need to move forward and for that to happen Cozart needs to be gone. That is more of a key than the quality of the return.

        As far of the quality of return the Reds should be looking for on Cozart, ironically, because of the good year Cozart has had to date, he will not be cheap next year. He will be a relatively more expensive player with a single year of control but not good enough to be worthy of a QO. This actually limits his trade value.

  19. Not surprising from the train wreck that is this front office – inexcusable and totally embarrassing if true .

  20. “They appear inept.”

    Maybe there’s a reason they appear that way.

  21. The Reds FO ultimately concluded they could get a better return for Cozart in the offseason. The Mariners were literally the only team interested in Cozart and the Reds had no leverage in negotiations. More teams will be interested this winter.

      • Because it is likely that more teams will be in the market for a SS (especially one that is cheap and coming off a 4 WAR season).

    • There might have been more interest if Jocketty answered the phones. Quite frankly I find it hard to believe there wasn’t interest in Strailey either, he is having a better season than Wainwright so far. An active GM could have wheeled and dealed and made a flurry of moves. These guys are slow and deliberate very different than younger GMs who rebuild in a hurry. If Cozart gets hurt between now and the off season his value will tank.

      • If the Reds wanted an active GM who could wheel and deal and make a flurry of moves, then they would need to bring back Jim Bowden.

        • He could make deals. They often weren’t the right ones. But yep, you said it, he could make deals!

    • That’s not an accurate statement based upon the above article. They had a deal to their liking but they couldn’t complete it in time.

      • But did it say that the Reds liked the deal? The article seems to speculate that and we’re only getting Seattle’s version of events. If I were the Reds and I wanted to get the best return for Mozart, I would want more than 1 team bidding for him. It seems plausible at least that they weren’t really all that impressed with Seattle’s offer and felt they could do better in the offseason. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable conclusion if that’s what they were thinking.

        • Side note- If I remember correctly, @bravesorganist played some Mozart when Coz came up to bat.

        • JP – that would be nice touch. I’d also enjoy listening to Falco’s venerable 1985 hit “Rock Me Amadeus” before each of Cozy’s at bats.

  22. I will be first in line to criticize the Reds front office when needed but this is kind of silly.

    They should have done everything they could to trade Chapmam and Frazier at the deadline last year. Those guys had big trade value and a healthy market for their services.

    Zack Cozart was a completely different situation. Sure, he has increased his trade value this year. But there was no market for him. The Mariners were the only team that seemed interested, and with their playoff odds not very high they wouldn’t want to overpay.

    The only prospect even mentioned is a reliever in A ball. It’s just silly to criticize the Reds over this.

    • The way I read it is that the criticism isn’t for not trading Cozart, it’s for seemingly (yes, we don’t know for sure) wanting to trade Cozart but not being quick enough to do it.

      If the latter is the case, that’s pretty inept.

  23. The only way to fix this is to trade Cozart, in August (preferably the first week of August) to the Mariners. Of course, this would mean Cozart would either have to clear waivers, or be claimed by the Mariners for the Reds to be able to trade him there, but since you can always pull the player back if claimed, the Reds better try.

    • I’m sure they’ll try. There is no way that Cozart doesn’t get claimed and probably pretty early considering his salary and productivity.

      • The Cardinals might have a say in that discussion since they are in the NL and would have a chance to select Cozart before Seattle would.
        The Cardinals placed SS Aledmys Diaz on the DL with a fractured thumb.
        The plot thickens.

  24. Reds optioned OF/INF Jose Peraza to Triple-A Louisville.

    Scott Schebler is taking his roster spot.

    • Also, Reds recalled 2B Tony Renda from Triple-A Louisville.

      Renda was acquired from the Yankees last December in the Aroldis Chapman trade.

    • That poor young man will finally get some playing time.

      I think there’s an open lineup spot 8th in AAA, right behind Winker.

      • Hopefully Herrera also assigned to Louisville. Let our future SS and 2B play together for the next month.

      • Yeah, but Im still upset. The playing time should be at this level. I want to know what we have in him now. Its just plain foolish not to play someone who can play everywhere at a decent clip.

  25. Is Homer Bailey trying to get on Jocketty’s August waiver-wire trade list?

    “Homer Bailey frustrated with Bruce trade: “Unless (we) got a young Robinson Cano, I think they got us on that one.”

    A nice shot at the front office, bullseye.

    • That’s pretty interesting. Not sure I remember a current player commenting on the returns of a specific trade.

      Homer is way off, of course. If Hererra is a 1.5 WAR player for a 4-5 seasons, he’ll have provided more value than Bruce at a fraction of the cost.

    • When Homer contributes on the level of the money we are paying him, then and maybe only then will I care what he thinks.

      • A fair response, Den. They sure aren’t paying him to run the team. Staying healthy and productive for now would be just fine.

  26. The Mets LHP Steven Matz wears #32 for the Mets. Jay Bruce, not to cause any clubhouse distractions, is wearing #19 to honor his buddy Joey Votto.
    A nice touch.

    Reminder:
    Tonight’s game is NOT on FSO, it is on Fox Sports 1. Nationally televised.

  27. Maybe Walt believed the deadline was adjusted per time zone so he had 3 extra hours to deal with the Mariners….or he was sucked into a NCIS marathon and lost track of time….or Cozart snuck into his office and moved all the clocks back 2 hours…..or Bob C. had him working on a deal to move some excess lettuce that Red Lobster wasn’t able to use and was in a high level negotiation with the Olive Garden

    Lots of plausible reasons that aren’t the result of ineptitude.

  28. This is all based on a few comments made by the Mariners front office, it’s just hearsay. None of us was in the Reds War Room and none of us knows what happened.
    We don’t know the extent of the Reds interest in this alleged “almost trade”.

    The Reds’ main priority was trading Jay Bruce and they got it done despite hitting a serious snag in the final afternoon.

  29. Story of the Mariners season. They continue to miss winning by just. That. Much.

    This season, like the last 15 or so, is just not to be.

  30. Late to the party here, but I’m going to give the Reds’ FO the benefit of the doubt and say that once the Bruce trade shifted from Nimmo to Hererra, their interest in moving Cozart for what the Mariners were offering faded. Having Hererra and Peraza playing together everyday at AAA makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t really care where their reps are. Familiarity matters more.

    Zach may have more suitors in the off season. Every team will be tied for the second wild card spot.

  31. In the end, I think it was more important to move Bruce. His value was higher than it had been for sometime, and was one of the top bats available. If he were injured or slumped to the end we’d be in a tough spot this off season. So in that regard focusing on Bruce was the right idea.

    Cozart will likely have trade value this winter and may have more suitors. A good chunk of Cozart’s value is tied to his glove and that won’t decline before winter. He’s also put up over a year of being solid at the plate, so he’s building a recent track record.

    All of that said, it is sort of frustrating to see the FO portrayed consistently in a bad light by other GMs in the media. It may not all be true, some may be posturing, but it’s been consistently and largely negative for a while. Either not answering phones, not taking trade calls earlier, asking too much, multiple trades have been reported and then fell through, and so on. Where there is smoke there is fire and there’s been way too much smoke for their not to be some level of incompetence, even if it’s just largely in perception. (Although I do see enough tangible evidence to support some level of incompetence regardless of how other GMs, media see Reds).

    As others mentioned, trading Cozart would be beneficial in and of itself just to open playing time for Peraza. Adding prospects is an added bonus. Running out of time shouldn’t be an excuse. There are two GMs and multiple personnel that can assist, and it wasn’t even possible they were discussing overlapping players as no one but Bruce was involved in the Mets trade from our side. I find it a frustrating that this appears more to be about putting the effort into getting it done, rather than no lining up on a deal. It appears the players were in place, the Reds couldn’t be bothered to delegate someone go over the medicals, paperwork.

    Reds fans overall are being patient, don’t make us wait longer to see some of the future just because you couldn’t take care of a few details at the end.

  32. I think some of the hand-wringing over 30s or not picking up the phone is jumping at shadows.

    It could even have more to do with the other GM’s trying to save face with their own fans by saying in effect, ‘ hey, we were trying to get a deal done, but it was the other teams fault.’

    • I’m a little surprised that the Mets didn’t leave Nimmo in the trade and try to get Cozart with Bruce. He would’ve really helped them with they’re struggles up the middle for the next year and a half while they’re young guys in the minors are developing. Add those two and the Mets would’ve been pretty well set. Cabrera, Walker, and Jose Reyes isn’t much to be excited about. I believe two of those are hurt right now. I’m sure the Mariners are hoping he gets through waivers but I doubt that’ll happen.

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