Baseball is a business. Yes it’s a sport, yes it’s heartbreaking and jaw-dropping and inspiring and demoralizing all the same. But it is about money, both for the organizations and the players themselves. So when one transaction hits a monetary snag, it begs casting a wider net into the talent pool.
Mariners trade rumors have been rampant in recent weeks, as this team has performed so well they are in a position to make the playoffs if the season ended today. However, they cannot hang on their laurels and expect what worked the first half to keep them in it during the 2nd half of the season.
Lots of names have been thrown around, but one that has really seemed to stick is Marlon Byrd, outfielder for the Philadelphia Philles. Some think the M’s would trade just for Byrd, others think it could be one-stop shopping with the inclusion of Domonic Brown or even lefty Cliff Lee (former Mariner who was traded midway through a season for arguably the best defensive/worst offensive first baseman in baseball).
The Mariners are on Byrd’s no-trade clause list, but he is willing to waive it to come and play in Seattle. However, business is as business goes and Byrd is pushing to get a sweeter deal from the Mariners if he is dealt to the Pacific Northwest. From Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune:
— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) July 17, 2014
This puts the Mariners in a tough trade spot: of course they want a corner outfielder who can supply 30 home runs a season, but Byrd will be 37 on August 30th. He would therefore be 39 by the end of the 2016 season.
Perhaps the Mariners will agree to guarantee the 2016 option while either: A- offering less in prospects to the Philles while taking on all of Byrd’s contract; or B- having the Phillies absorb some of Byrd’s guaranteed money.
Either way the Mariners would want to lessen the financial and/or prospect cost to bring Byrd over for two and a half seasons.
Though as it stands now, his .263/.315/.479 triple-slash with 18 home runs, 54 RBI, and 24 walks would look mighty nice behind Robinson Cano in the Mariners lineup.
It seems that this snag in the Byrd trade have led to an emergence of yet another trade candidate, Kansas City’s Billy Butler. Again from Bob Dutton:
Not a rumor, Mike. Have talked. Both interested @michaelengel hearing anything further about the Crasnick “Seattle looking at Butler” rumor?
— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) July 17, 2014
Yes, Bully Butler has had a poor season by his standards– especially his power standards– but he would be a positive addition to the lineup, especially since the DH position has been a black hole with Corey Hart injured and underproducing.
Billy Butler is making $8 million this season. He has a 2015 team option at $12.5 million for next season, with a $1 million team buyout. So here’s the rub: Butler is younger, cheaper (if Byrd were to get that 2016 season guaranteed), and at a sell-low point.
It makes perfect sense to talk to the Royals about Butler. Not only does he provide a solid secondary option, he also provides leverage against both the Phillies and Marlon Byrd. If the Phillies get stingey or Byrd gets too greedy, the M’s can say: “No thanks, we will sign the younger, cheaper guy who has underperformed this year and is slated for a solid second half.”
Therefore the Billy Butler rumors are legitimate. I for one think the M’s should pull the trigger on Butler. He is younger, and he has the type of power and patience to hit behind Cano, even if he hasn’t flashed it all that much this season. He’s hitting .273/325/.355 with 3 home runs and 36 RBI. Those numbers are bound to improve seeing as he has averaged 18 home runs over 162 game spans since he debuted in 2007.
Also, I think Butler is re-signable for the Mariners. If he spent these next two and a half months in this clubhouse with a motivated team, manager, and organization, he would see the M’s are on the up and up and it would be wise to join the convoy.
Do I think the Butler deal will happen? It’s still hard to say, especially since the Royals are in the AL Central hunt. Of the most available professional right-handed bats out there, I think he is the Mariners’ best bet, and he wouldn’t come with a very high prospect price tag either.
Lots of noise flying back and forth. Who do you want to see the Mariners sign? Do you think a Butler or a Byrd or a Dayan Viciedo would be enough to solidify this lineup?
For all opinions, thoughts, and updates on the Mariners trade rumors and breaking news,Sodo Mojo has you covered.