The Mariners are looking like sellers three-plus weeks away from the Trading Deadline after getting swept at home by the Kansas City Royals.
And here we are, 41-45 (before the Oakland A’s game in progress as of this writing) with four games before the All-Star Break. We aren’t any closer to seeing a playoff team in Seattle, not after dropping three straight games to Kansas City.
To their credit, the Royals are 7-3 in the last ten games and have fought their way into second place in the AL Central. But if the Mariners are going to reach even the ridiculous Wild Card playoff in 2017, they’ll have to play winning baseball, which they haven’t been doing.
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Only Dipoto knows who’s truly on the trade block, and the Mariners may not have many options to deal whether they buy or sell. Second baseman Robinson Cano is under contract until 2023. As much as he could help a playoff contender, it’s unlikely any team would take on that contract along with Cano. Dipoto doesn’t strike me as a man who pays his opponents’ players.
Shortstop Jean Segura just received an extension, and even The King, Felix Hernandez, is untradeable at this point even if Dipoto had the cold blood (unlikely) to move the struggling ace. Aside from a few bullpen pitchers, who are always moveable, that leaves Kyle Seager.
The longtime third baseman for the Mariners has struggled this season. Seager has not recovered from his annual April slump in 2017. He followed up a stellar .278/.359/.499 season in 2016 and a career-high 30 home runs with a mostly useless .251/.322/.412 slash so far this season. He could still hold value for contending teams desperate enough for a left-handed bat and a Gold Glover at third, however.
Again, Seager is under contract well beyond 2018 (2021), so his contract cost will have to be taken into account, which could make the offerings for him unacceptable to Dipoto.
If the Mariners continue their struggles, several players will appear on the trade block before the end of the month. Dipoto likely already has a well drawn-out plan to rebuild for 2018 if the ship keeps sinking this year. Anyone’s available for the right price.