Do you remember the brief but intense saga that was the Mariners’ signing of Robinson Cano? I do, vividly.
I was a depressed Mariners fan in the middle of fall semester classes, checking twitter every few minutes for bits and pieces of speculation I regarded as fact.
Someone said the Mariners were ‘in’ on Robbie Cano. And Jay-Z, his agent, was listening. But being stuck out on the east coast I was asleep before anything ever got that interesting.
When I woke up bright and early the next day, I was greeted with rampant speculation that the talks had dissolved overnight. That Jay-Z, a very green agent, overstepped his bounds– overplayed his hand– and Trader Jack Z was fed up and essentially ended contract talks.
For the first few cold hours on the east coast I went from frustrated to content with the idea that the Mariners weren’t going to invest so much money. It had seemed such talks were over, the game was up, the Mariners weren’t signing a premier free agent.
But then, like the good ol’ southern rodeos, the gates were opened and the bull came out kicking and flailing and bucking. It seemed like 10 seconds later Cano was a Mariner. And I had altogether forgotten about the prospect of it so very quickly.
This same phenomenon happens with trades, too. Mariners trade rumors have been steamy, but there are names and numbers that haven’t been mentioned of late. Maybe that’s how Trader Jack likes it.
Over the last week all we heard about was Phillies’ Marlon Byrd, then all we heard about were the Rays’ love children David Price and Ben Zobrist. Their were whispers of a Josh Willingham, musings about still wanting to sell the farm for Giancarlo Stanton.
It’s been quiet now on that front for almost two weeks. No speculations, no ‘kitchen sinks’ or ‘imminent trades’ or anything really to do with that city of Chicago.
Maybe that’s because the White Sox told the Mariners to shove off. Maybe Viciedo is too valuable to the Sox at 25 years old and on contract through 2017. Maybe the two sides had preliminary discussions, and they were so far from close on their demands that it ended before anything even started.
All of those things are possible. But it is just as likely, if not more so, that they’re still talking, still negotiating, and a trade is still very much a possibility.
I say this because the Mariners, like most Major League baseball teams, try to keep their trade rumors and signings under wraps so as not to give themselves away or spoil a deal because someone heard that someone said the Mariners were ‘going steady’ with someone else. (that was a bad 60’s dating joke I now realize).
But if anything as this trade deadline approaches, the Mariners trade rumors seem to have the most noise attached to them compared to other teams in the league.
Now that’s understandable because this team is a buyer at the deadline for the first time since George W. Bush was President of the United States– chew on that for a second. But at the same time, who is to say the Rays aren’t letting trade talks leak in hopes of getting teams antsy to pull the quick trigger on Price or on Zobrist?
Maybe the M’s and the Rays are keeping quiet about talks, but the idyllic fit of a trade is too sweet for the schmucks who feast on trade rumors– I can be guilty at times too– to keep from speculating.
Do I think the Mariners are going to trade for Viciedo and his 12 home runs and his 36 RBI? Honestly I’m not too sure. But what I do know, is most GMs throughout the league tend to know what they’re doing when they want– nay need– to make a trade and give their team the arms and the bats to win and play in October.
That doesn’t mean everyone and their mother is informed of those conversations before they’re official.
One thing I know for certain though, and you can quote me on this if you’d like: the Mariners need at least one addition to the Major League roster to be taken seriously for and in the playoffs. That could mean Jesus Montero if he magically decided to become a .280 hitter with 25 home runs a year. That could mean Corey Hart decides to play like a potential comeback player of the year.
It could also mean that blockbuster deal with the Rays or something with the Phillies, or White Sox, or the Twins.
Will it be Viciedo? Don’t ask me. Could it be? Of course.
But don’t forget this about shrewd business men– and don’t forget baseball is a business for that matter–: they usually only let you you overhear the conversations they want to be heard.