In return, the Mariners got second baseman Abraham Toro.
The trade caused turmoil in the Mariners clubhouse at the time, as players saw it as a sell move, since Graveman had been brilliant for Seattle and Toro was 24 with only a little over a year of MLB experience.
Two and a half months later, we can firmly say that while Toro couldn’t quite establish himself as a quality, consistent offensive performer with the Mariners, the trade was worth it for both sides.
If Graveman is a key piece to another Astros title, then the toro/graveman trade might be the most win/win trade of all time.
— HoustonDave (@D_brooks_inTX) September 8, 2021
Toro wasn’t a star, but the team was really close to achieving its goal of qualifying to the postseason.
Houston Got A Really Good Reliever For The Stretch Run And The Playoffs
Graveman has been a force all year, with both the Mariners and the Astros.
In Seattle, he had a 0.82 ERA in 33 innings, with 34 strikeouts.
With Houston, he was a bit more “mortal”, but still very good: a 3.13 ERA in 23 frames, with a solid 27 punchouts.
However, in the postseason, he has been lights out, with a 1.64 ERA in 11 frames.
The Astros bullpen was seen as a liability during the first half, so Graveman’s presence shored up the squad’s most glaring weakness.
Graveman has obvious strikeout ability and can pick up the ball and throw multiple innings if that’s what the team needs, and he has done it multiple times in the postseason.
Giving away Toro hurts the Astros more than people realize because it weakens their infield depth, with Carlos Correa’s free agency looming, but it was a move Houston needed to make.
Seattle Got A Piece For The Future With A Relatively Good Floor
Looking at the numbers, Toro hasn’t had a huge impact on the Mariners.
However, there are several elements and situations that lead to believe Toro can be a very important piece for the Mariners of tomorrow.
The team’s rebuild came at least a year early, and the Mariners were surprisingly competitive in 2021.
Toro was part of that success, even though he had a .252/.328/.367 with five homers with Seattle.
The best and most important part of the trade for Seattle is the fact that Toro is under team control through 2025, and Graveman is going to hit free agency after the 2021 World Series.
Toro would have seen more bench than play. He honestly deserves to be starting imo. I like the guy. But the bad aspect of that trade is we lost club control over Toro. Graveman goes into FA after the WS. Who know what happens then.
— Nes 🇨🇴 (@Stros_Nes) October 30, 2021
For a rebuilding franchise like the Mariners, a good, cheap young player like Toro, who can play all over the infield, is very valuable because the costs saved can be redirected to improving the roster.
And yes, Toro’s OPS with Seattle was just .695, but his minor league numbers suggest that, with patience, he can be a very good hitter.
He has had a lot of success in Double-A and Triple-A.
As a result, projection systems such as Steamer project him to hit .257/.332/.423 with 17 home runs, closer to his minor league performances.
The good thing for Seattle is that he has a higher ceiling than that, and that’s what the organization is banking on.