Headlines and Homers: Week of July 24th 

Seattle Mariners v Minnesota Twins
Seattle Mariners v Minnesota Twins / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages
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The Joy is Back 

Superstar and face of the franchise, Julio Rodriguez, is having an interesting season. He's still on pace to accumulate 3+ WAR, which is impressive considering his high strikeout rate (26%) and late-inning struggles (.186). By launching two homers, this was the first time since last September against the NL Champion Atlanta Braves. Everyone knows Rodriguez is the engine that drives the Mariner offense. 

Seeing him get three balls up in the air and punish them makes me wonder if a hot streak is incoming. The best thing about these events was the joy we saw as he rounded the bases. A joyful Julio is a game-changer for this team. 

The trade Deadline is Approaching

We are less than a week from the Major League Baseball trade deadline, Tuesday, August 1st (3 p.m. PST). The Mariners have performed well over the last week, winning series against teams above them in the standings (Blue Jays, Twins). They kick off a three-game set with the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks tonight and squeeze in a game with another team ahead of them in the Boston Red Sox before the deadline. 

President of Baseball Operations, Jerry Dipoto, joined Seattle Sports 710 morning show, Brock and Salk and dropped a few nuggets centered on the rental bat market. 

"We're not opposed to bringing in a short-term roster fit. It depends on what you have to give up to get it," he said. "We're not willing to purge future Mariners teams, and what that could be for our future, unless we feel like that is a player who puts us over the top. And I think for it to be a player who puts you over the top, you have to be close to the top in order to make moves like that, if that makes any sense."

Jerry Dipoto

Dipoto said the preference is to trade for controllable assets, which aligns with his draft, develop, and trade organizational model. Cody Bellinger, Randall Grichuk, and Mark Canha are the top rental bats. MLB Insider Buster Olney connected Canha to the Mariners last week. 

Down on the Farm 

The MLB trade deadline is a compelling case study on the value of prospects. Some teams or fans will overvalue a prospect's worth, hoping they'll become a building block for the big league club. If awards and performance help a prospect gain helium, the Mariners' number four prospect, Emerson Hancock's stock, should be sky-high. 

Two terrible starts have his earned run average in a bad spot (4.50), but the other statistics tell the story of a pitcher ready for the big leagues. In 18 starts, he's racked up 86 innings and 95 strikeouts with a minuscule 1.26 WHIP. We might see the 24-year-old in Seattle soon to help manage Bryan Woo's innings, or he could be Dipoto's best trade chip. 

Homer of the Week 

The Mariners' offense kicked it into gear this week. We saw Eugenio Suarez, Kolten Wong, Dylan Moore, Julio Rodriguez, and Cade Marlowe homer. I was at the game in Minnesota, where Wong homered in the ninth to tie it up. The crowd was raucous, and then it went silent. We would give the 32-year-old the award any other week, but we're handing the hardware to rookie Cade Marlowe. 

Veteran AJ Pollock landed on the injured list this week with a hamstring issue, forcing the Mariners to call up Marlow. All he did was provide a spark on the bases (2 SB) and author a solid series slash line against the Twins (.273/.467/1.103). It's still early to proclaim him a success, but he could be a key contributor down the stretch.