As we are going into the most exciting time in the off-season, the winter meetings, it is hard to imagine that the stove can get any hotter!
All signs point to things just getting started. Teams are stock piling positions essentially leading us to believe that moves a plenty are on the way.
Since we talk MARINER BASEBALL here at SodoMojo, I thought I would take this time to quickly update my thoughts on a couple of rumors we have discussed here.
Sep 26, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (18) pitches to the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
I have previously stated my thoughts on perhaps trading ‘Kuma in order to bring a bat to Seattle. Iwakuma will become a free agent at the end of the season. One potential option was sending ‘Kuma to Beantown for Yoenis Cespedes.
Of course this was all prior to the Mariners swiping Nelson Cruz off the free agent market, so i’m going to shut that down.
I no longer see the M’s trading Iwakuma, in fact, I believe that sometime during the 2015 season the Mariners will offer him an extension (as long as he’s pitching well) prior to him reaching free agency.
Iwakuma is content in Seattle and is comfortable playing in this market. I think Seattle is home for the right-hander and he would enjoy finishing his career here.
My stance regarding trading Taijuan Walker for Matt Kemp is not a popular one with most Mariner fans, which I am fine with by the way.
However, I wanted to provide an update on this situation.
My prior article about adding Kemp was published just before the Michael Saunders trade for J.A Haap went down.
That being said, my position hasn’t changed, in fact, it has increased since the Saunders deal happened.
First of all, i’m sad, I enjoyed Michael Saunders and when healthy I liked what he gave on defense for Seattle. He also had flashes of power as well as the ability to steal a base or two.
With the luck the M’s have had in the past, Saunders will play 157 games in Toronto, hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases. Oh well, go get ’em Condor.
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Adding Haap gives the Mariners an abundance of pitching, and another lefty. Haap is just a playing piece in a future deal to be made somewhere.
Just so you all are aware that i’m not just making this stuff up you can find that MLB Trade Rumors still links the M’s to Kemp.
As I mentioned before I am not into trading Walker for Kemp UNLESS the Dodgers agree to send cash with Kemp to pay for some of the $107MM left on Kemp’s contract.
If you’ve noticed, LA isn’t hurting for money and they are not afraid to spend it. If Taijuan Walker is the man they want I do not think they would have an issue sending cash with Kemp.
The Mariners want to win right now as well as the years to come. Giving up Walker isn’t easy for Seattle and it will not be done for a one-year guy such as Justin Upton.
Signing Cruz for four years, as well as having Cano, Seager and King Felix locked up, adding a guy like Matt Kemp that is under team control until 2019 is a move that makes sense for Seattle.
With any move in Major League Baseball there are risks. We took one on Cruz, he’s 34.
Would trading Taijuan Walker be a risk? YES, of course it would, i’m not blind. I see the guy has tremendous potential and upside that could help any team.
But the key word in that statement is potential. Just for the sake of conversation here are Walkers career numbers:
Minor League: 5 seasons, 88 appearances, 84 starts, 30 wins, 30 losses, 3.65 ERA, 176 BB, 491 K, 1.229 WHIP, 2.79 K/BB.
Major League: 2 seasons, 11 appearances, 8 starts, 3 wins, 3 losses, 2.89 ERA, 22 BB, 46 K, 1.208 WHIP, 2.09 K/BB.
Small sample size in the big leagues.
I know Mariner fans, including myself, are reluctant to trade great prospects as we’ve seen what has happened when we’ve done that in the past… Adam Jones.
With Saunders gone it is clear to see that the addition of an outfielder is coming.
One team is going to have to bend if they want to get this deal done, it will have to be the Dodgers. The Mariners will not send Walker straight up for Kemp.
If the Dodgers do not bend, the Mariners will look elsewhere for an outfielder.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see this deal done or squashed, either way, by the end of the weekend.
If the Dodgers go to the winter meetings without trading Kemp, I do not think it will be to Seattle.