Seattle Mariners: Exploring Potential Offensive Targets

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Trumbo – The AL West teams have been very willing to deal within the division over the last few years, from Cliff Lee to Alberto Callaspo. The Angels presumably wouldn’t mind shipping Trumbo to Seattle, and power power power Jack Zduriencik begins to salivate and assistants have to prop his jaw back up as he drools all over the place and mumbles “pow-er” in a trance like state. Trumbo has been very consistent the first three years of his career, coming in with no lower than two wins and touting a career wRC+ of 113. But the thing is, 113 isn’t very impressive for a bat-only player, which Trumbo is. He’s a young guy with old guy skills, and players like that are typically overrated. He has a career on-base percentage of .299, which is atrocious. Most importantly, of all the dingers-and-nothing-else-ever guys, Trumbo would cost the most in young talent to acquire given that he is still so young. Versatility schmersatility, there’s nothing impressive about being terrible at first base and left field. Mike Morse can attest to this. Don’t do it, Mariners. Don’t make the Angels stronger while handcuffing yourselves.

Kendrys Morales – Would the Mariners rather have a draft pick or re-sign a familiar face for way over market value? You can bet they’d prefer the latter, which is unfortunate. Morales simply isn’t a good enough hitter to justify the money he wants. He is the worst baserunner alive and is strictly a DH. And he wants the same kind of money that Nelson Cruz wants. This would be another silly-to-dumb signing that the Mariners almost certainly really, really want to make.

Carlos Beltran – Postseason hero and old slugger looking to get paid, Beltran would be able to take DH and OF at bats in Seattle. He’s an all-time great and a potential hall of famer, and most importantly looks to have plenty left in the tank after a pair of strong years in St. Louis. He wants to play in the American League. He’s likely to take a market-value contract. He was worth the two years and $26 million the Cardinals just finished giving him, and it seems he could be had for a similar sum. His defense is bad while his baserunning is fringe-average, but he projects to spend a lot of time at DH and is simply a better hitter than the rest of the guys on this list. He’s not a perfect fit, but he’d be a major offensive boost without losing much anywhere else.

Mike Napoli – This is where the list starts to shift towards players who should be serious Mariners targets. Napoli is coming off a great season in Boston, which was preceded by two fantastic seasons in Texas and five strong ones in Anaheim. Napoli is an excellent hitter, owning a career 129 wRC+ that he matched exactly last year. He’s just about an average defender, having proven himself capable of handling first base even though his catching days are likely done. He’d cost a draft pick, but he’d fill a glaring need for the team. At the price of a pick and the biggest free agent contract of Jack Zduriencik’s tenure in Seattle, Napoli would be a big, scary signing, especially with lingering issues about the health of his hips. Based on his track record, it might be a deal worth making.

Dexter Fowler – The Rockies have made their center fielder available, and he’s just about as attractive as anyone else on the trade market. At 27, he’s young enough to be considered a building block for the future. Due to his modest 104 wRC+ last year, he’s undervalued enough that a decent extension should be plausible. And he’s a strong athletic outfielder who runs excellent. The metrics have always hated his defense, though he is generally regarded as a strong fielder. He’s just one year removed from slashing .300/.389/.474, which is incredible for a multidimensional athlete. He’d be decently cheap to acquire and would give the team a big boost. His power is lacking, and Mariners, so who knows if these trade talks ever gain any traction.