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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

November 25, 2014 at 2:14 PM

A few thoughts and links on the Mariners, Kyle Seager and possible trades

Outside of the rainy Pacific Northwest, the news of Kyle Seager’s $100 million contract extension was overshadowed by the Red Sox signing both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to about $185 million worth of contracts. It’s typical fare for Seager, who is overlooked and under-appreciated nationally.

I didn’t throw a whole lot of opinion on yesterday’s blog post or in my story for today’s paper. But obviously I think it’s a good deal. The Mariners are getting a solid player for the average of $14 million over seven years. And while his arbitration years would be less than that, the value of free agent years for a player of his caliber three years from now could be in the $25 million range. Right now, as we saw with Sandoval, the range for a talented hitting all-star level player is $20 million per year.

So in that way, the deal makes plenty of sense. With the Mariners struggles to acquire solid hitters via free agency for any number of reasons and needing to pay higher that market value to do so, locking up drafted and developed player like Seager is beyond prudent from a financial and baseball sense.

But what are other people saying about this deal?

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So FoxSports’ Jon Morosi  and his “sources” is going all Mariners crazy on his Twitter feed.

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It’s not quite “Thanks Tips” level … but this stuff isn’t too new.

Any thoughts?

I’ve been told the Mariners interest in Justin Upton isn’t quite as high as perceived and they certainly won’t give up Taijuan Walker to get him for one season. If it were for Michael Saunders or maybe Brad Miller or a reliever, it might be considered more. But giving up Walker for one year of any player would be sub-optimal and stupid.

The Mariners have been linked to Matt Kemp since last season. That hasn’t changed this season. What the Mariners would have to give up is contingent on how much money the Dodgers would eat of Kemp’s massive contract — but you knew this. Still, given the Dodgers lack of starting pitch depth, Walker is going to be the first person they ask for.

The Cespedes for Hisashi Iwakuma rumor popped up a few months ago. It would be a trade of players in the final year of their contracts. The Red Sox need pitching, the Mariners need outfield help. It works right? Not necessarily. Seattle has a severe lack of starting pitching depth after the big league level.

The top five starters are 1. Felix Hernandez, 2. Hisashi Iwakuma, 3. James Paxton, 4. Roenis Elias and 5. Taijuan Walker.

The remaining starting pitchers on the 40-man ….

Erasmo Ramirez and Anthony Fernandez, who had Tommy John surgery, last season.  That’s it. That’s the list.

We’ve seen the Erasmo experiment, and it just isn’t working. Fernandez was a DFA candidate before getting hurt.

Beyond the 40-man, there is the recently acquired right-hander Sam Gaviglio and right-hander Jordan Pries, who will both likely be on Class AAA Tacoma. Pries was the Mariners minor league co-starting pitcher of the year in 2014, going 9-8 with a 4.05 ERA in the hitter-friendly PCL. Pries is kind of a Quad A guy. He’s a guy that doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he needs to rely on pinpoint accuracy and command to get outs. That can work at the AAA level, but usually doesn’t translate to the big leagues.

So if the Mariners give up Iwakuma to get Cespedes it means they would have to acquire a starting pitcher, perhaps two. There is a bigger free agent market for starting pitching than hitters this year. But to acquire the level of starter that the Mariners have in Iwakuma – even with the regression at the end of the season – would be beyond pricey.

It could work, but it would take some creative thinking. Are the Mariners creative to deal an all-star pitcher for a the right bat and make sure to acquire enough pitching in return to not feel the effects?

As for Cespedes, I’m not sure when he became such a standout offensive player. He’s decent. But his numbers have regressed some since his rookie season as teams have adjusted to his free-swinging ways. He’s had nagging injury issues each year as well. But many M’s fans love him.

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Cespedes isn’t going to sign an extension of any sort. So he’s gone after this season. His numbers at Safeco aren’t great in a relatively small sample size. He did put up solid numbers in O.Co, which also isn’t a great place to hit.  To me giving up Iwakuma to get Cespedes is a tad too high of a cost. But, hey, I’m not the GM.

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