The Kendall Graveman trade could not have gone over any worse within the Seattle Mariners’ clubhouse.
The Mariners overcame a 7-0 deficit on Monday to beat the Houston Astros 11-8, thanks to a Dylan Moore grand slam. The comeback win gave the Mariners momentum, confidence and a huge uplift. They were nine games over .500, in contention for the wild card, and six games back of the first-place Astros.
And then general manager Jerry Dipoto ripped it all away from them in one move.
Dipoto on Tuesday traded away Graveman, who was not just the best pitcher in their bullpen, but also a leader in the clubhouse. Players immediately had a negative reaction, and the entire vibe of the team was killed by the trade. Dipoto promised it would make sense after they saw further moves by the team. He traded for Tyler Anderson later in the night.
But there is no doubt how much this stings. The Seattle Times has an article littered with quotes from anonymous players upset over the move.
“I’ve seen a lot of teammates walk out that door. But this one hurts the most and is the most (expletive) up. The team deserves an explanation,” one player told reporter Ryan Divish.
Dipoto is known for his penchant for trades, and is even nicknamed “Trader Jerry.” He acknowledged the trade could disrupt the team chemistry. But he seems to be downplaying the importance of chemistry when he casually trades away a key player less than 24 hours after a huge team-building win, and sends him to the rival team.
Seattle hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2001. How are the Mariners supposed to make it back if their general manager doesn’t even give them a chance to win?