The lack of any signings or trades in Seattle is getting frustrating. The coaching staff has been announced, so at least that’s something, but M’s fans are thirsty for a big name trade or signing. At this point, even a minor league signing would give us something to be excited about.
Over at Jays Journal, there’s a list of some players who might offer some enticing trade bait right now. So, while we wait for Jack to pick up his phone, lets take a look at who the Mariners should definitely keep, and who could be on the block.
Lets just get this out of the way. Felix isn’t going anywhere. After picking up his monster contract last year, he seems safe and secure in Seattle for the foreseeable future. As it turns out, the guy also loves Seattle, so that’s nice too.
These two represented a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy 2013 season. Iwakuma was selected as an AL All-Star, and was in the running for the AL Cy Young. With the lowest ERA in the AL (2.66), Iwakuma proved that he has what it takes to make it in on this side of the Pacific.
Iwakuma is signed until the end of 2014, with a team option for 2015. If his trends continue, there’s no way the M’s won’t pick up that option. So we’ll be seeing ‘Kuma for a few more years at least.
While these two are obviously hot commodities, I just don’t see the possibility of either of them getting moved soon. Any rebuild that the Mariners undertake should be centered around these guys. Hell, the starting rotation is pretty much the only thing that Mariners fans are excited about these days.
Seager was another solid player for the M’s in 2013. While defensively he was only mediocre, (-1.3 dWAR), he accounted for 69 RBIs and 22 HRs. Good enough to be one of the top three run producers the Mariners had last season. He certainly inked himself into a fan favorite position in Seattle.
I think that Seager is potential trade bait for the Mariners, he’s coming off of a hot season, and his value is high right now. The down side for the Mariners is that if he is put onto the block, then the Mariners are going to need to get a third baseman back, because any of the guys in the system aren’t quite ready to step into such big shoes.
David Freese would have made an interesting deal for the Mariners had he not been dealt to Anaheim last week.
As time goes on, the market is thinning for third basemen that the Mariners might want as a replacement. As such, the longer we wait for Jack to make a move, the less likely it will be that Seager goes anywhere.
While I think the possibility of a Seager deal exists, I am still happy if it doesn’t happen. The nice thing about any deal for Seager is that he stands to get a lot in return right now, especially compared to some of the other guys on this list.
Tom Wilhelmsen (and the rest of the bullpen)
Get rid of them.
It’s no secret that the bullpen was the bane of the Mariners’ existence last year. There have been extensive articles listing just how bad they were and how many games they blew. So this is definitely the place where an overhaul needs to happen.
The problem with overhauling the bullpen is that there aren’t too many players in there who would fetch as large of a return as we would all like.
Poor Tom Wilhelmsen isn’t going to get that much attention after he fizzled out and was sent back to Tacoma for a stint. Which is too bad, because when he was closing games in 2012 he was lights-out. But the sophomore jinx bit him, the same way it bit Brandon League the season before.
Brandon League offers some insight into just how much we can expect for Wilhelmsen should he get traded, the answer is ‘a little bit’. In return for League the M’s got two minor legaugers (Leon Landry and Logan Bawcom), who were listed as top 20 prospects for the Dodgers at the time.
There were a few glimmers of hope in the bullpen, Yorevis Medina was decent enough to earn some credit, and I still have faith in Carter Capps. But the bullpen definitely needs some kind of change, and fast. As far as I’m concerned, any of these guys are susceptible to being offered up in any deals Jack has cooking up.
Potential Free Agents for the Mariners to pick up: Joe Nathan keeps popping up in Mariners hot stove talk, as does Grant Balfour. So it seems the Mariners community is set on acquiring a new closer rather than bringing in Danny Farquhar again.
Saunders had an injury shortened 2013, but in the games that he played we saw some decent things. At the beginning of the season, he and Michael Morse were absolutely crushing the ball and I thought we might see 30+ homers out of each of them (nope…).
The Mariners might have an overloaded outfield next season, depending on how the Ellsbury/Choo/Any Outfielder hunt goes. Raul Ibanez may or may not be returning, the same with Franklin Gutierrez, and Dustin Ackley put in enough time in center last year to warrant another shot in 2014.
All of this goes to show that there might be room to trade one of the existing outfielders, and Saunders seems like a viable option.
This definitely hinges on whether or not the Mariners are able to land another outfielder. Saunders is decent in the outfield, and he’s a decent enough hitter that trading him without another outfielder would be a huge detriment to the team. As it stands right now, he’s the man out there, and he’ll need to be replaced by someone equally as manly (Dustin Ackley’s beard doesn’t count).
This obviously depends on if the Mariners are able to secure Kendrys Morales. Morales turned down the Mariners’ qualifying offer a few weeks ago and speculation suggests that he’s simply holding out for a longer offer from someone before he decides where to go. The Mariners are probably cooking something up for him right now.
If the M’s do get Morales back, then Smoak should be shopped aggressively. A switch hitting first baseman is easy to offer around the league (in theory anyways). Smoak has always shown glimmers of hope in Seattle. I was at a game once where he hit a ball so far that it went over the Hit It Here Cafe. I’ve also been at far too many games where Smoak has struck out with the bases loaded.
Simply put, if Morales comes back, there’s not a lot of room left for Smoak. He’s not fast enough to be a utility guy, and he’s not a strong enough hitter (at times) to be a regular DH. His moderateness could be paired with a reliever and we could at least get something back in return.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of perceived turmoil in Seattle right now. The way I see it at least. Felix and Iwakuma might be the only untouchable players as we move into a rebuild. A few weeks ago I predicted an aggressive offseason by Jack and company, as we continue to wait, I might have been wrong. Now that the coaching staff is set, I really hope that we can get some Mariners news in the chamber and reignite my optimism for next year.