We’re just hours away from the 1 p.m. PT trade deadline for deals not involving waivers. After that period, trades can still be made up until Aug. 31, but the players involved must first clear waivers — meaning anyone not costing a fortune is likely to get a claim put in on them.
Up to this point, we’ve heard the Mariners will not be dealing any of their impact bats unless an offer blows them off their feet.
Not sure that’s the best attitude to be taking. The Mariners, no matter what they try to say, are not contending this year. They now have a less-than-great chance at even a .500 season.
A week ago, things were different. They had won eight in a row, had one game left against the Cleveland Indians and then four at home against the Minnesota Twins. The chance to change their trade deadline destiny was there. Had they gone 4-1, they’d be a few games under .500 as of right now with plenty of positive momentum.
Instead, they went 2-3, then lost last night to go to 2-4 since this time a week ago. Their destiny is pretty much sealed where contention is concerned. And now, the offense is reverting back to what it has been so often this year in scoring two runs per game or fewer on too many nights facing too many average pitchers.
Too many times this year, the Mariners had chances to change their fate. And too often, they fell short, whether it was blowing 1-0 leads in the ninth inning at home to bad Houston and Minnesota teams, or an 8-1 advantage on the road in Anaheim. The Mariners are a better club than the last few years. But now that they’ve erased that unfortunate eight-game losing streak with an eight-game win streak, we see pretty much what they truly are: a team six games under .500. A team that has underperformed. A team that won’t be going anyplace but the golf course once September ends.
Teams like those usually don’t look to horde any impact bats on one-year deals come trade deadline time. They usually look to shop those bats and get some return for them.
I understand the Mariners wanting to play for .500 this year and honestly have little problem with it. At some point, they have to convince the ticket-buying, TV-watching public that there is something to this rebuilding plan other than more young players. They have to show that, five years in, they are going to win something one of these years and a .500 season just might do that. It doesn’t matter if it means anything scientifically; this is a business and selling your customers on your product matters.
Also, the Mariners could get a draft pick back if they make somebody like Kendrys Morales a qualifying offer at season’s end. If he takes it, you get Morales one more year at about $14 million. If he declines, you get the compensatory pick tacked on to the first round. In other words, the equivalent of a pretty good mid-season prospect.
So, I can understand not wanting to move Morales. Especially if the Mariners are worried that pulling him from the middle of the order will hurt their once-again-struggling offense even more and remove all hope of a .500 season.
But there is one impact bat that can be traded. One that makes sense and won’t cost you those other things I just mentioned.
The bat is Michael Morse.More
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