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July 8, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Talking trade targets … right-handed hitters

It’s now to the point where I get questions on Twitter (usually from about the same four people) about possible trades 30 times a day. A name will come up via Ken Rosenthal, Jon Morosi or Jon Heyman, and the person will ask, “Are the Mariners interested in him?” or “Any rumblings from the Mariners about him?” or “Are you hearing anything about him?” So I figured throw out some realistic names that the Mariners might be considering while I was flying back from Chicago yesterday

A few things …

1. The Mariners are interested in any player that might possibly help them, doesn’t matter right or left handed, pitcher or player. And if you look their current roster, there are plenty of players on “the trade market” who are better than  what Lloyd McClendon is forced to put out there on a daily basis.

2. Very rarely will any rumblings or rumors come from the Mariners. They are one of the most secretive organizations in baseball. GM Jack Zduriencik is quite adamant about this privacy. Not a good idea for a person’s employment status to be leaking stuff to the media. Much of this national stuff comes from opposing scouts and executives or  agents.

3. The value of the Mariners prospects probably aren’t as high as you think. Right now, the two best prospects the Mariners have are Taijuan Walker and DJ Peterson. Prospects at lower levels just don’t move the trade meter, unless they are phenoms. The Mariners don’t have that. Edwin Diaz, Luiz Gohara, Gabby Guerrero are all good players and prospects, but they aren’t centerpieces.

4. Can we just dispense of any thoughts of Giancarlo Stanton or Troy Tulowitzki? Look at it this way, if you had Stanton and Tulo would you trade them at this point? And knowing what you know about the Mariners prospects, is there enough there to get logical return? Here’s what Tulo is owed for the next six years …. 14:$16M, 15-19:$20M annually, 20:$14M,21:$15M club option ($4M buyout). The only way the Mariners take him on is if Colorado eats a large portion of the money. And that means giving up more prospects that they simply don’t have.

Yes, I’m aware Tulo is unhappy. But he’s still under contract till 2020  there so they have no real obligation to deal him. It’s also being reported that any trade would likely happen in the offseason.

As for Stanton, the Marlins may not draw many fans, but they aren’t paupers. They are making money off revenue sharing and other aspects. They could logically make a monster offer to keep him there. And they have to at least do that to show fans they are trying to keep him. If he refuses then there’s the impetus to trade him. But trading him now, no matter what the return, would erode the remaining pieces of credibility the organization has in South Florida. 

So these names are a little more realistic options. And, no, Matt Kemp isn’t a realistic option with Carl Crawford being hurt and terrible. It sounds like they might shop him and his massive contract in the offseason.

So these are just a few quick names I put up on my flight yesterday. I will update and add more in the coming days.

Marlon Byrd, OF, Phillies

The veteran outfielder wouldn’t be a “wow” acquisition for casual fans. But he’s solid and fits the Mariners needs. Byrd can play both corner outfield positions. He’s hitting .266 with 18 homers and 52 RBI this season and a .841 OPS. He’s a career .279 hitter and is an intense competitor that doesn’t like to give at-bats away. His splits aren’t drastic.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 1.58.50 PM

 

Contract: 2 years/$16M (2014-15), plus 2016 club option …. 14:$8M, 15:$8M, 16:$8M club option …. 2016 option guaranteed with 600 plate appearances in 2015 or 1,100 PAs in 2014-15, including 550 PAs in 2015.

Skinny: Byrd is productive and relatively cheap by comparison. It makes him attractive to the Mariners and many other teams. He’s definitely someone the M’s should consider. Byrd and John Buck were traded to the Pirates last year for a couple of minor league  prospects.

 

Dayan Viciedo, LF, White Sox

The Mariners have already been linked to Viciedo twice this spring. They scouted him this spring when they saw how left-handed heavy their roster looked. They weren’t impressed with Viciedo’s swing-first, swing-often approach and were really scared off by his outfield defense, which could be compared to Raul Ibanez. Viciedo does has a strong arm, but fly balls are an adventure. Could he improve? Sure he’s only 25 and outfield defense can improved to at least respectable if a player is willing.  He’s hitting .250 with 10 homers and 31 RBI with a .303 OBP and .420 slugging percentage.

His splits are relatively drastic …

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 1.58.50 PM

If you noticed on Saturday, he was pinch hit for against a righty reliever.  But the Mariners need a guy who can hit lefties.

Contract: 1 years/$2.8M (2014) re-signed by Chicago White Sox 1/13/14 (avoided arbitration). He’d be second year arbitration eligible so it it could bump to 4ish next year.

Skinny: At just 25 and being relatively, the White Sox may just keep him. There is some potential and he fits their “park.” It seems likely Adam Dunn will be gone next year, so he could slide into the DH spot.  The White Sox need relief help. The Mariners have a lot of hard throwing relievers. It could be a match.

 

Alex Rios, OF, Rangers 

The veteran outfielder has a .301/.333/.438 slash line. He has 17 doubles, eight triples and four homers. He’s not a great defender, but capable.  He’s crushing lefties this year …

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 2.48.37 PM

His career splits aren’t quite that dramatic.

Contract 14:$12.5M,15:$13.5M club option ($1M buyout). He has a limited no trade clause. But at last check, the Mariners aren’t one of the six teams where he can block a trade. 

Skinny: He’d be owed about $6 million for the rest season and there’s the buyout fee of $1 million because it seems unlikely they’d exercise the option if they acquired. Rios is a solid player. Not a ton of pop. But he fits the right-handed hitting outfielder need.

Josh Willingham, OF, Twins

The veteran outfielder is in the final year of his contract. So he’s going to be gone after the year, and the Twins may want to try and get a little something for him. He battled knee issues last season. This year, he suffered a fractured wrist early. Here’s his numbers since coming back.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 2.57.23 PM

Yes the batting average is atrocious, but there has been some luck issues as well. He will work a count and take a walk.

Contract: He’s owed $7 million for 2014 and then becomes a free agent, so a team would have to pick up less than half of that. So he’s a rental in every sense.

Skinny: Willingham is an awful defensive player. His splits are pretty even. He does have enough power to hit a ball out of any park including Safeco. The cost to get him would be cheap. He’s 35. Playing him in the outfield daily might not be a good thing, so in that way he’s a lot like Corey Hart.

 

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