Seattle Mariners: Sooner or Later?

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 30: Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Seattle Mariners rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off of relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler #20 of the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of a game at T-Mobile Park on April 30, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Cubs won 6-5. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 30: Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Seattle Mariners rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off of relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler #20 of the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of a game at T-Mobile Park on April 30, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Cubs won 6-5. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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My impression is the Seattle Mariners upper management team wants Jerry Dipoto to unload most of the veteran players sooner than later. This was the example we got from the recent trades of Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion.

Last year there were only four trades that happened in June across major league baseball while over twenty took place in July. I know in the case of Jay Bruce the Mariners wanted to unload him to give younger players a chance to play, which backfired with the injuries to Braden Bishop and Mitch Haniger.

Bishop was expected to start in center against lefties and be a defensive replacement coming off the bench against righties. We would see Mallex Smith in left field, Haniger in center and Domingo Santana in right field when facing righties.

Against lefties, there are two ways the Mariners could have gone, having Bishop starting left, Haniger in center and Santana in right or Santana in left, Bishop in center, and Haniger in right. The first option Bishop would move to center field later in the game with Smith taking over in left and Haniger to right. Santana looks better in right field so having Haniger moving between center and right would be the best move.

We found out on Monday Braden Bishop is going to be out six to eight weeks with his spleen injury ,so we will Smith in left, Haniger in center when he returns, and Santana in right. If he sticks around, Mac Williamson goes to the bench; then he will be in left against lefties depending on how Mallex Smith is doing at the time.

Right now, though, I would look at Smith playing every day with an occasional day off; he would start the game on the bench when the Mariners face a tough lefty.

I have mixed emotions about the Edwin Encarnacion trade at this time. I knew the Mariners would trade him; however, he was hot when the Mariners unloaded him on the New York Yankees. We found out over the weekend the Mariners took the Yankees’ offer because they offered to take less money than the Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays and the Colorado Rockies.

Those three teams offered better prospects but wanted the Mariners to pay more of Encarnacion’s remaining salary. In the case of Encarnacion, we know what the Mariners’ incentive was.

Since more trades do happen in July than June I would have waited for the Mariners to see if they could have gotten a better deal than what the Yankees offered. They necessarily wouldn’t have had to wait until the end of July but could have waited another couple weeks.

The Mariners are showing their hand that they want to unload veterans sooner than later. Obviously, they are not good poker players. I could see the Mariners now trading veteran right-handed pitcher Mike Leake before July as well.

They may pay half of his salary like in the Encarnacion deal or go the direction of Bruce and pay most of his salary. In either case, they are figuring they are at least lowering salary.

The next question, though, is if the Mariners are going to be able to unload Dee Gordon. He is a veteran who is having a good season despite spending some time on the injured list. If they do trade Gordon, I would see Dylan Moore taking over for Gordon at second base, then bring up Shed Long as the super utility player where he would play some second base, third base on occasion, and the outfield. The Mariners may feel Gordon and Seager are two veterans they want to stick around as well. We will see, won’t we?

The Mariners will likely trade Tim Beckham but when that will be is anyone’s guess. He could go any day now or just before the trading deadline. As far as the veterans go he doesn’t have a high salary and the Mariners signed him to only a year because he was going to be a stopgap depending on whether J.P. Crawford was going to be ready sooner or later.

The Mariners won’t get much for him since what we have seen in return for Bruce and Encarnacion; however, we could be surprised on this one too.

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What we do know is Dipoto will do anything right up to the trading deadline. I just hope this will benefit the Mariners in the long run.