Seattle Mariners’ Top 5 Trade Assets
Seattle Mariners: Top 5 Trade Assets
The Seattle Mariners have become a perennial seller over the past half decade, finding themselves out of contention for a playoff spot by the time the trade deadline comes around at the end of July.
And that's fine. When you don't have copious amounts of money to spend on free agents like baseball's elite do, a primary strategy to build a contender is to trade pieces away that won't have an impact on the success of the team's long-term future. In exchange, the seller gets prospects that have the potential to play a crucial part for the team down the road.
What's not fine is when a team -- selling or buying -- continually whiffs on their deadline deals. That's what the Mariners have become notorious for since GM Jack Zduriencik took over in 2008. Names like Cliff Lee, Doug Fister, Mike Morse and Ichiro Suzuki were all traded away for prospects that were supposed to build the future.
Well, the future has become the present, and all that remains from those deadline deals are names like Charlie Furbush, Danny Farquhar, and the uber-disappointing Justin Smoak. There are eight more players from those trades who have either been released or have yet to see any action with the big league club.
Mariner fans are growing sick of Zduriencik's failed attempts to build this team into a competitor, so this may be his last chance to pull off a trade that brings somebody worthwhile to Seattle.
Here are the top five Mariners who can provide a boost to a contending team.
SS Brendan Ryan
Brendan Ryan couldn't hit above .220 in the slo-pitch softball league I play in, but he's a good clubhouse guy and was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball last year, committing just nine errors in 138 games. He might be a nice late-inning defensive replacement for someone like Oakland or Washington. The Mariners would get next to nothing in return, but M's fans are sick of his offensive woes and would be happy to see him go.
OF Michael Saunders
Michael Saunders has been given all the chances in the world to be one of the Mariners' long-term outfielders, but the organization's patience has to be running thin. Now in his fourth season with the club, he's put up a career .285 on-base percentage. He's hitting just .207 this year and is in the middle of a major slump that has lasted over two months now.
That being said, he did put up 19 home runs and stole 21 bases last season as an everyday starter in the outfield, and he was named to the All-WBC team after a monster performance in pool play at the tournament in March. At 26-years old, it's possible that there are teams out there who believe that all Saunders needs to break out is a change of scenery. At the very least, his speed on the basepaths could be appealing to a contender. If he is dealt, expect it to be in a package deal.
SP Joe Saunders
Although inconsistent at times this year, Joe Saunders is a veteran lefty that can help a contender at the back end of their rotation. Seattle signed him to a one-year, $6.5 million contract in February, so picking up Saunders would come with a bit of a price tag, but the Indians, Angels, Orioles, Rockies and Giants are all teams that could be willing to gamble on Saunders for the rest of the year to add some depth to their rotation.
RP Oliver Perez
Relievers are always one of the hot commodities at the trade deadline as teams are looking to bolster their bullpen for the strategic matchups that come late in the playoff games they hope to be in.
Teams have been asking about closer Tom Wilhelmsen, but Seattle is expecting a lot in return, which has scared inquiring teams away. Oliver Perez is probably the most likely Mariner to get traded before the deadline. He's posted a stellar 1.89 ERA and has fanned 46 batters in 33.1 innings this year. He comes relatively cheap at $1.5 million and can be used in a variety of ways out of the bullpen. It's uncommon for a team to give up a lot for a reliever with an expiring contract, but something tells me the demand for Perez could be relatively high.
OF/DH Raul Ibanez
At 41 years of age, Raul Ibanez is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career. Through the first half of the season, Ibanez has provided Seattle with numbers that compare to some of the games highest-paid players at a fraction of the cost. His $2.75 million contract that expires at the end of the year should have a ton of teams chomping at the bit to swoop up a hitter that's on pace to hit over 40 home runs and drive in 100 runs. Take into account that he had one of the most clutch postseason performances we've seen in recent memory with the Yankees last year, and the Mariners should have a bevy of offers to choose from before the trade deadline.
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