Seattle Mariners Offseason Plan – If The M’s Had The Rays’ Budget

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May 22, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder

Desmond Jennings

(8) is congratulated by designated hitter

David DeJesus

(7) after he scored during the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners trade D.J. Peterson and Tom Wilhelmsen for Desmond Jennings and David De Jesus.

Here’s your blockbuster: the Mariners are trading their number two prospect for a pair of outfielders. The Rays are known to be shopping DeJesus, who is going to make $6 million next year. They don’t really have any bopper prospects behind James Loney, who will only be in town a couple more years. Their minor league system could desperately use a boost. Enter the Mariners.

Jennings isn’t a flashy player, but he’s consistently been above-average at all aspects of baseball. He’s a good-not-great hitter, a nice, rangey center fielder, and a huge plus on the bases. He’s arb eligible and will only be making $3 million in 2015. This makes him one of the most valuable trade pieces in the game, but one the Mariners can afford.

Parting with Peterson is hard, of course, but that’s the cost of a guy like Jennings. To offset some of the money owed to this pair, the Mariners are also giving the Rays a $2.1 million setup man in Wilhelmsen, who outperformed his peripherals in 2014. While Wilhelmsen may be an above-average run suppressor, there’s not a whole lot behind it in terms of walks and strikeouts. Wilhelmsen’s a classic low-budget team trade candidate, and will fit nicely in the back of the Rays’ bullpen.

This trade adds $7 million in salary to the Mariners’ roster, but also adds two quality outfielders to the fold. The outfield is suddenly a position of tremendous depth, and the Crawford-Jennings-Saunders unit gives them three highly productive starters for about $10 million. Bonifacio and DeJesus are both fringe starters who may be redundant by the trade deadline, and thus available as bait. But the Mariners could still use more talent! So the search for cheap upgrades continues.