Summing Up What’s Up With The Mariners!
In an old job, I was expected to hit on rumors, even if the rumors were obvious poop, because people like rumors and people mean traffic and traffic means great Internet success! I don’t have that job anymore, but it turns out I do still have some of the bad habits I developed, so here’s today in Mariners rumors, outside of the Franklin Gutierrez transaction. You can take the person out of the SEO, but you can’t take the SEO out of the person. Actually wait you can, and it leaves PRN. Which can be rearranged to spell NPR! #Illuminati
#Mariners drawing strong trade interest in IF Nick Franklin with multiple teams involved, sources tell me and @jonmorosi.
Seems like breaking news! Isn’t, really. Trade candidates don’t get much more obvious than Nick Franklin, who’s had his position blocked by a quarter of a billion dollars. He’s not a shortstop, and while he could conceivably become an outfielder, he isn’t one now and there’s not a lot left for him to do in the minors. This is a situation where Franklin should probably be turned into talent elsewhere, and other teams know that, so they’re all over trying to get the young second baseman. It might feel like the Mariners destroyed their own leverage by signing Robinson Cano, but they only destroyed part of it. There are still 29 other potential suitors that in theory would have to bid against one another.
I’ve got nothing against trading Nick Franklin. I do have something against trading him for too light a return. You don’t trade him just because he’s blocked — you have some patience and you wait some executives out. A year ago he was a top-100 prospect and then he clobbered Triple-A before getting up-and-down experience in the majors. Trade Franklin in a package, or trade him straight up. But if you’re trading Franklin, make sure you’re getting either someone pretty good, or someone under control for a while. This isn’t a piece you dump for mediocrity. He’s too much of a potential asset, and there are too many teams who’d like to have him for a while.
Mariners showing continued interest in free agent Ervin Santana, sources say.
The Mariners want a starting pitcher. They’ve had plenty of talks about David Price. They’ll be in to some extent on Masahiro Tanaka. And there are three primary remaining free agents, in Santana, Matt Garza, and Ubaldo Jimenez. They’ll talk about them all, and they’ll probably reach out to them all, if they haven’t already. As long as the Mariners are looking for an arm, they need to let the decent arms know they’re still in the market, and it’s not like there’s anything happening with Tanaka at the moment. So, absolutely, the Mariners aren’t uninterested in Ervin Santana. Nothing about the rotation picture has changed, that would cause them to lose the interest I’m sure they’ve had all along. Teams are all interested in pretty good players. One team will end up being the most interested. The Mariners just don’t want to be left out in the cold.
Mentioned Suzuki as possibility for #Twins. Per sources, #Cubs, #Mariners also have shown interest. @FeinsandNYDN first reported #Cubs.
That’s Kurt Suzuki, who is a free-agent catcher. The Mariners’ starting catcher is Mike Zunino, and the Mariners’ backup catcher is Jesus Sucre. So, yeah, the Mariners obviously will want to get some kind of veteran backstop, and the pool out there is terrible, which is how a guy like Suzuki can end up floating to the top. Suzuki doesn’t really hit, or throw, or frame, or run, but he blocks, and he’s a super nice guy. Pitchers like him and if you’re looking for a super-high-quality backup catcher then what you’re looking for is a starting catcher, or David Ross. Not a lot of David Rosses.
And as great a story as Danny Farquhar was last year, the Mariners covet a closer to the point where[...]Fernando Rodney makes sense even as the market for such specialists has shriveled. The other teams with unsettled ninth-inning situations (Tampa Bay, Texas, Houston, Chicago White Sox) don’t seem altogether keen on lavishing closer bucks on anyone, even a guy who just a season ago set a major-league ERA record.
The Mariners have been linked to closers much of the offseason, including Grant Balfour and Brian Wilson, and when Jose Veras signed with the Cubs he said he also had an offer from the Mariners, which is pretty telling and presumably not a lie for no reason. Clearly, the Mariners have interest in a high-leverage veteran, and that they made an offer to Veras suggests they’re still interested, and this isn’t just a lingering rumor from the middle of November. The current bullpen isn’t super experienced and teams love adding veterans to young bullpens and the closer market is closing, with the Indians picking up John Axford and the Padres picking up Joaquin Benoit. Rodney’s still out there, with a small pool, and though he probably wants to get paid big-time, he might have to settle. I’m sure the Mariners are monitoring, just as I’m sure they’re monitoring other, non-Rodney bullpen veterans. But Rodney has all those saves the Mariners might not be able to look past. And Farquhar’s such a little guy! The Mariners could be a team that signs a veteran closer. In that case, you just hope the contract’s all right. Rodney’s a pretty good one, at least when paired with Jose Molina.
First: Tampa Bay understands that it doesn’t have to deal Price. It has room in its budget for him this season. If the Rays underachieve, he can go for a copious return at the trade deadline, and if they’re still among the lords of the AL East, he can find a new home next winter. Second: The Seattle Mariners can very easily get this done if they include starter Taijuan Walker, a maneuver sources said they’ve begun considering internally within the past week.
That’s a powerful-sounding sentence: “The Seattle Mariners can very easily get this done if they include starter Taijuan Walker.” But all that actually says is “the Mariners could trade for David Price right now if they are willing to overpay.” Here are factual sentences: the Seattle Mariners could very easily trade for Miguel Cabrera. The Seattle Mariners could have Xander Bogaerts tomorrow! If they wanted, the Seattle Mariners could get a deal done for Matt Carpenter. Everybody has a price, which means everybody is more or less available, and the Mariners have a lot they could sell if they went insane. Yeah, the Mariners could have Price if they gave up Walker. Sensed that weeks ago. But that’s the whole thing. I could have a new car tomorrow if I wanted. Do I want?
As for the last bit, I’m sure they’ve been considering Walker for Price internally for more than just within the past week. They’ve probably been considering that from the get-go, since it was obvious that’s the guy Tampa Bay would most want. Walker’s the jewel. Teams internally consider everything, even moves you’ve never thought of. Most such considerations end up at “no” or “welp that guy’s not available anymore.”
Of course, the Price stuff is still real. It’ll be real until Price is traded or until the Mariners get some other pitcher, and the Mariners have been the team most closely linked. Something really needs to happen with Tanaka so the rest of the pitching situation can clear up, but expect the Rays to keep insisting on Price, and expect the Mariners to keep figuring out what their options are. The Rays, probably, are going to wait and hope a team on the other end caves. I would very much like the Mariners to not cave. Can’t say they won’t, but can’t assume they will. Just because the Mariners might be Price’s most likely destination doesn’t mean they’re actually a very likely destination, and maybe it’s even possible to do something in which Walker isn’t involved. How the hell should I know? I’m just a guy on the Internet riffing on rumors that might not even be truthful.