What are the Seattle Mariners going to do at the trade deadline? Will they make an aggressive push for top talent? Maybe a little upgrade here or there? Are they going to sell off pieces? Could they stand pat? We’re hours away from having all the answers.
The non-waiver trade deadline is 1:00 pacific time today. What happens before that is a flurry of trades. What happens after that is that players must pass through waivers before being traded. If a player is put on waivers then any team has the chance to claim them. If a player is claimed, then the claiming team can either work out a trade or accept the player (and their contract) for nothing. That’s why nobody’s rushing to get Cliff Lee today – expensive veterans get moved after July 31st. Players who are useful and affordable get moved today.
So who’s off the board, as of this morning? The Red Sox rotation, for one. Boston traded Jon Lester to Oakland and John Lackey to St. Louis today, landing Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Joe Kelly, and parts. They also sent Johnny Gomes to the A’s, and he was a potential Mariners target (albeit one without any buzz).
The A’s also re-acquired Sam Fuld from the Twins, who’d claimed him off waivers early in the season. They bought high on Fuld by selling low on Tommy Malone, who could have been hypothetical rotation depth for Seattle. There will probably be more deals completed while this post is being written, and more directly after. It’s been a busy morning, particularly for Boston and Oakland.
Seattle, meanwhile, has been mostly connected to outfielders today. Alex Rios looks like their top priority, and though he’d be an upgrade, his .304/.335/.430 line is a little hollow and he offers nothing on defense. Still, that’s a 105 wRC+, and average to above-average hitting is still valuable.
As a backup plan, the Mariners are believed to be in on Chris Denorfia and Emilio Bonafacio. These are fine players who would provide an upgrade, but it’s important to remember that they’d be an upgrade because the Mariners have been obsessively starting Endy Chavez and James Jones. These aren’t exciting players, but they’d definitely help the Mariners. Both are near-locks to be traded today, and it wouldn’t be too shocking to see the M’s end up with one or the other.
On the starting pitching side things have been much quieter, aside from the (former) Boston guys. Cole Hamels isn’t moving, and the same is probably true of Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett. The Phillies quietly have become one of the very most directionless teams of the decade. Nothing new has surfaced regarding Bartolo Colon, Jorge De La Rosa, or Ian Kennedy. But it’s looking more and more like David Price will be dealt! Keep an eye on that.
Sure enough, as this is being typed some news leaks out: the Mariners are seen as a sleeper team on Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera’s been a crappy defender and a slightly below average hitter for the last two years. He profiles best elsewhere in the infield, but would likely displace Chris Taylor and Brad Miller in Seattle. Do the M’s want him to play first? Maybe it’s part of something bigger. Maybe Jack Z has no clue what he’s doing on days like today.
Lots of things going on today. Make sure to keep your nose no more than four inches from your laptop or smartphone this morning, because what seemed like it might be a boring deadline is now getting real hectic real fast. Just the way we’d hoped.