Mariners Trade Rumors: Team Set To Acquire An Outfielder In Near Future


In case you missed it Wednesday, the Seattle Mariners traded outfielder Michael Saunders to the Toronto Blue Jays for LHP J.A. Happ. This should come as no surprise to many as the “falling out” between the Mariners front office and Saunders was well documented.

Shortly after the news broke on the trade, this tweet was sent out by Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times:

Again, this really doesn’t come as a big surprise to anyone. The Mariners have been mentioned in trade rumors surrounding Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes and others for some time now.

It does seem though that the timetable for a move has been moved up slightly with this trade.

If it is the Mariners’ intent to have a potential deal in place prior to touching down in San Diego for the Winter Meetings next week, it’s interesting to note some other moves that have been made by other teams recently. After all, this is a positioning game, with each team lining up their respective pieces in order to pull off the ultimate finishing move.

First off, the Dodgers acquired another outfielder, despite having an already crowded situation in the outfield. Now, do I think that the Dodgers intend to make Chris Heisey a starter in LA? I do not. However, his acquisition makes it more likely that the Dodgers will move one of their other players…..perhaps Matt Kemp.

Also on Wednesday, the Atlanta Braves were reported to have reached an agreement with free agent outfielder Nick Markakis. This is interesting as the Braves have already traded Jason Heyward and were thought to be shopping Justin Upton and/or Evan Gattis.

This move now gives Atlanta with an abundance of outfielders (Gattis, Upton, B.J. Upton and Markakis) and it appears they may be likely to deal one now more than ever.

The question is; which one are the Mariners targeting? It could be neither. With the trade for Happ, the Mariners are faced with an interesting dilemma. I envision these scenarios:

1- The Mariners actually want Happ – not sure why – which means trading Taijuan Walker or Hisashi Iwakuma for a bat, leaves the club with three left-handed starting pitchers for 2015. This leads me to believe that the intent then would be to trade either James Paxton or Roenis Elias.

Since neither of those would likely land Kemp or Upton, it’s possible that the earlier rumor involving the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon comes into play again.

Roenis Elias and AA prospect for Charlie Blackmon?

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2- The Mariners acquired Happ in order to trade him. Perhaps they knew that Los Angeles or Atlanta or some other team wanted Happ (God knows why) and they didn’t have the trade piece necessary to acquire him. Insert the Mariners. Now Happ and a prospect or two still wouldn’t get Upton in my opinion, or Kemp.

So insert a different player from a team we’ve talked about. The Dodgers are looking for pitchers. And while they may throw stacks of cash at Jon Lester, don’t rule out the need to have additional options. Trading an outfielder not named Kemp or Puig alleviates the crowding while keeping the pop in their lineup.

Scott Van Slyke may not be a flashy name, but I believe he would be a tremendous addition in Seattle and it would probably only cost the newly-acquired Happ to get him.

J.A. Happ for Scott Van Slyke?

3- The Mariners trade Taijuan Walker for Justin Upton as everyone suspects will happen. This leaves the Mariners with three lefties in the rotation but right-handed balance in the lineup. Happ is only signed through the 2015 season – as is Upton – so we will be having a similar conversation again next winter.

By the way, this is the least appealing option in my opinion, despite the fact that I like Upton.

Taijuan Walker (and the hearts of many Mariners fans) for one freaking year of Justin Upton????

No matter what the intention was behind acquiring Happ, though some would suggest that there was none, it just made the build up to the Winter Meetings that much more exciting.

After fans got upset that the Mariners had done nothing of note in the market this winter, there have been two moves in the last three days. Buckle up folks, the ride into San Diego this weekend could be bumpy.