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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

July 31, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Anti-climactic trade deadline ends with Mariners standing pat

Michael Young didn’t go anywhere, nor did Cliff Lee, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan or Alex Rios. Closer to home, Michael Morse, Oliver Perez, Joe Saunders and Tom Wilhelmsen are still Mariners, as are Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales.

I can’t remember a quieter or more anti-climactic trade deadline, which is sure to add more vigor to those calling for the deadline to be pushed back at least to mid-August. And I can’t argue with that school of thought. With a second wild-card, and so many teams on the periphery of contention — 21 out of 30 in single-digit deficit in either their division or the wild card race as of this morning — why not give another couple of weeks for things to sort themselves out? I understand the counter-argument — teams may not be willing to give up as much in return for six weeks, rather than two months, of a player, particularly a rent-a-player — but this glut of pseudo-contenders is not going to change. And I’ll bet that impact trading will continue to wane, considering how much all teams now covet their minor-league prospects, particularly potentially high-impact offensive players, which are now the most coveted commodity of all.

That’s not to say deals didn’t get done that will affect the pennant race. Sometimes, it’s hard to know which one will pop. I don’t think the Giants knew what they were getting last year when they acquired Marco Scutaro from the Rockies on July 27. But Scutaro hit .362 down the stretch, drove in 44 runs in 61 games, and had a tremendous performance in the NLCS to help the Giants win the pennant en route to the World Series title.

Who will be this year’s Marco Scutaro? Here is a look at all the significant trades that got done in the month of July, which is the heart of the trade deadline season (and remember, deals can and will still be executed in August, with the added complication of players needing to go through the waiver process — and teams more than willing to block potential trades to competitors by claiming the player in question).

1, Orioles acquire RHP Scott Feldman and C Steve Clevenger from Cubs for RHP Jake Arrieta and RHP Pedro Strop, July 2.

2, Dodgers acquire RHP Ricky Nolasco from Marlins for RHP Steve Ames, RHP Josh Wall and RHP Angel Sanchez, July 6.

3, Nationals acquire OF Scott Hairston from Cubs for RHP Ivan Pineyro, July 8.

4, Red Sox acquire LHP Matt Thornton from White Sox for OF Brandon Jacobs, July 13.

5, Rangers acquire RHP Matt Garza from Cubs for RHP C.J. Edwards, RHP Justin Grimm, 3B Mike Olt and one or two PTBNL, July 22.

6, Orioles acquire RHP Francisco Rodriguez from Brewers for 3B Nick Delmonico, July 23.

7, Yankees acquire OF Alfonso Soriano from Cubs f0r RHP Corey Black, July 26.

8, Braves acquire LHP Scott Downs from Angels for RHP Cory Rasmus, July 29.

9, Rays acquire RHP Jesse Crain from White Sox,  for cash or PTBNL, July 29.

10, Tigers acquire RHP Jose Veras from Astros for Of Danry Vasquez, July 29.

11, Indians acquire LHP Marc Rzepczynski from Cardinals for 2B Juan Herrrera, July 30.

12, Red Sox acquire RHP Jake Peavy from White Sox for RHP Francellis Montas, SS Cleuluis Rondon and RHP Jeffrey Wendelken; Red Sox send SS Jose Iglesias to Tigers for RF Avisail Garcia and RHP Brayan Villareal; Red Sox trade Garcia to White Sox, July 30.

13, Diamondbacks acquire LHP Joe Thatcher and RHP Matt Stites from Padres for RHP Ian Kennedy, July 31.

14, Royals acquire OF Justin Maxwell from Astros for RHP Kyle Smith, July 31.

15, A’s acquire IF Alberto Callaspo from Angels for IF Grant Green, July 31.

16, Orioles acquire RHP Bud Norris and international draft slot from Astros for OF L.J. Hoes, LHP Josh Hader, and 204 competitive balance pick, July 31.

17, Dodgers acquire catcher Drew Butera from Twins for PTBNL or cash, July 31.

I’d say that the Orioles helped themselves the most overall by getting two starters (Feldman and Norris) and a late reliever (Rodriguez). The Red Sox did well in getting Peavy and Thornton. The Rangers got potentially the most impactful player in Garza, while the Cubs, White Sox and Astros did the biggest housecleaning, trading four, three and three players, each.

The Mariners could have gone the housecleaning route, considering that Ibanez, Morales, Morse, Perez, Brendan Ryan and Endy Chavez are all free agents after the season, and Joe Saunders can be if the Mariners don’t pick up his 2014 option. But they obviously didn’t get offers they felt worthy of trading any of them, or decided that is was more important to finish with the best record possible in 2013, however remote are their chances of making the playoffs (answer: very remote). Most likely, it was a combination of both factors.

It’s hard to judge the wisdom of that stance without knowing exactly what offers were being turned down. Geoff says that Jack Zduriencik hinted of another reason: He plans to try to re-sign some of the veterans. That’s well and good. I’d still have liked to have seen the Mariners get something in return for at least some of the assets that they stand to lose at the end of the season. But judging by the scarcity of deals industry-wide, it appears even contenders were reluctant to part with blue-chip talent.

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