The Seattle Mariners are positioned to be potential buyers at the trade deadline which stands at just a little over a month away. But recent reports have the Mariners looking at pitchers rather than hitters – though some reports have them linked to both.
According to a recent story in the Seattle PI by Nick Eaton, the Mariners are looking at Chicago Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Jason Hammel has also been mentioned as trade bait by the Cubs and of interest to Seattle.
Again I will raise the question: Why, oh why do the Mariners think they need another arm?
With Taijuan Walker and James Paxton both set to come back from injuries in the coming days – Walker could be as early as Monday – you could almost view their arrivals as having traded for an arm or two. Erasmo Ramirez is out of the rotation. When Paxton comes back, Chris Young could either released or kept in the bullpen for long relief.
If Paxton is ready before the trade deadline (he’s set to throw a bullpen session Friday) then why not use Chris Young as trade bait? The Mariners have said they are reluctant to trade either of their young arms, so why not Young? Young has been solid for the Mariners (6-4, 3.23 ERA in 14 starts) and could be a nice addition for someone like the Atlanta Braves (looking to now replace Gavin Floyd in the rotation) or another playoff contender, preferably in the National League.
But before the trade rumors mill really gets swirling, the Mariners have to make some roster moves in the coming week or so. Sending Jesus Montero back to Tacoma after Wednesday’s game opened a spot for Michael Saunders who comes off the disabled list on Friday – and was in the dugout Wednesday.
Who Else Goes Down?
If Walker is indeed going to start Monday’s game in Houston, another move will have to be made. My guess is that Cole Gillespie goes back to Tacoma. But then, when Justin Smoak and Corey Hart are ready to come back, who goes?
Dustin Ackley has one minor league option left I believe and has not been doing himself any favors of late. Still, some team may value his potential and decide to take him on via trade. Or the Mariners may still have hope for him and send him to Tacoma one last time.
Logan Morrison has raised his batting average 100 points in the last 14 games and has four homers in that stretch. It’s possible, not certain but surely possible, that the Mariners leave Smoak in Tacoma and/or use him as trade bait and let LoMo stick at first.
It’s a good problem to have. The Mariners have been scoring runs of late and have got the long ball going. I still believe that the biggest need is not another arm, but a high-OBP shortstop and a power right-handed outfield bat.
Who Do We Trade For Then?
In other trade rumors involving the Mainers, the team has been scouting Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox. Ramirez isn’t exactly the high-OBP guy I was looking for – he doesn’t walk enough – but he is batting around .300 and plays solid defense most of the time.
Viciedo is a red-flag to me. His power has all but disappeared after hitting 25 homers in 2012 he had 14 last year and has only six so far this year.
So for now, we’ll just have to see how the pieces fall over the next week or so, endure the flurry of trade rumors and then strap in for a wild ride all the way to the deadline where hopefully, we as fans won’t be shaking our heads in disbelief.