There Will Be No Hisashi Iwakuma Trade


The Seattle Mariners are probably not going to do anything at the trade deadline. There are plenty of reasons for this: they don’t have a lot to trade, the GM is afraid of making his crappy team worse, and (hopefully) ownership doesn’t want to let Jack Zduriencik sink this ship by trying to acquire more Mark Trumbo-types. It’s a sound strategy, for the most part.

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But the Mariners are ten games under .500. They’ve been the third-worst team in the league for a while now, as only the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics have worse records. The M’s are fading even harder than ever, having just been swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks. A normal team would start looking to rent their players on expiring contracts. But the Seattle Mariners are not a normal team.

Austin Jackson is a free agent at season’s end, though his Mariners-y play probably wouldn’t net much of a return. Same goes for the perpetually underwhelming J.A. Happ. Hisashi Iwakuma hasn’t had a great season to date, but he’s a solid #2 type. There are plenty of teams who could use Iwakuma, and if there’s an expendable guy who’ll bring the M’s back a real prospect it’s probably him. But it’s not happening.

With their biggest chip off the table, it looks like the Mariners are going to stay the course. They’re not going to make the playoffs, and they’re almost certainly not going to finish at or above .500. But when their season ends as a total failure, it’ll at least end with Iwakuma on the roster. Which is cool. Right?!?

Maybe. We’ve talked about Iwakuma’s future in Seattle, wondering a week ago if it made sense for the M’s to unload him. The conclusion then was that the M’s should trade Iwakuma if they were done with him. It sounds like this is an ownership-mandated move, so the team is very likely not done with him. Which makes sense, considering that he’s been (almost) entirely awesome for them since his arrival in Seattle.

But then again, he is an old guy pitcher who gives up lots of home runs and has run into recent injury/effectiveness struggles. The rotation is quite young and getting a little crowded. Iwakuma should be an easy guy to re-sign, and probably at a bargain price. It sounds like that’s the route the M’s are going to go, even if it’s an easy route to second guess.

This news doesn’t tell us a whole lot that we weren’t expecting, but it does give us a glimpse into the team’s thinking. The Mariners don’t seem to mind or notice that their current team is trash. They don’t want to trade Iwakuma – who, perhaps non-coincidentally, has been a popular and successful player for the past few years. They still value his name, and potentially his status as a 2016 bounce-back candidate. They like their odds of keeping him in free agency, and they see that as the right thing to do.

The Seattle Mariners aren’t trading Hisashi Iwakuma, who hasn’t been good this year. He still has some trade value, but perhaps the team just didn’t like the offers they were getting. Or maybe ownership just didn’t want to give up a valuable marketing asset, even if he’s only guaranteed to be here for the next two months. The summer of stagnation continues at its current non-pace.

Next: The Seattle Mariners Should Trade For Carlos Gomez