Seattle Mariners Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2014

Seattle Mariners Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    It's been difficult to get a grasp on the Seattle Mariners in 2014, given that the club hasn't been at full strength much of the season.

    They only recently got prospect Taijuan Walker back into the rotation, while fellow youngster James Paxton remains sidelined by injury, robbing the rotation of two of its most talented and important pieces.

    Offensively, while Robinson Cano, the team's biggest offseason addition, has remained a fixture in the lineup, fellow newcomers Logan Morrison and Corey Hart have been limited by injury and have provided mediocre production when they are in the lineup.

    Still, the Mariners remain in the playoff hunt.

    General manager Jack Zduriencik has some work to do before his club can rest easy, with adding another potent bat to the lineup and perhaps another starter to the rotation the biggest tasks before him.

    While a recent guest on 1090 The Fan’s Steve Sandmeyer Show, Zduriencik said that he has some payroll flexibility and would be shocked if he wasn't able to swing at least one deal between now and the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31, according to co-host Jason Churchill.

    Keeping up with things over the next month can prove to be a difficult task, even for the most ardent Mariners fan.

    That's where Bleacher Report comes in, as this tracker will be where you can find the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Mariners, along with analysis and everything else that comes with it.

    While the post date will always show as July 1, simply click to the next slide to see the latest from the rumor mill in the Emerald City.

Done Deals

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    July 24: Acquired 1B/DH Kendrys Morales from Minnesota for RHP Stephen Pryor (Analysis)

    July 31: Acquired OF Chris Denorfia from San Diego for OF Abraham Almonte and RHP Stephen Kohlscheen

    July 31: Acquired OF Austin Jackson from Detroit; Traded IF Nick Franklin to Tampa Bay; Tampa Bay traded David Price to Detroit.

July 31: Acquired OF Austin Jackson from Detroit

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    Ed Zurga/Getty Images

    While Mariners fans are sure to be disappointed that the team was part of a deal that involved David Price and didn't wind up with the superstar southpaw, Seattle did manage to upgrade its outfield and lineup by trading an expendable infielder (Nick Franklin) who had nowhere to play in the big leagues.

    Jackson, 27, has never quite lived up to the hype that surrounded him when he was a prospect in the New York Yankees' organization but has been a solid all-around player. A career .277/.342/.413 hitter, Jackson has some pop in his bat and plays above-average defense at a premium position.

    With his speed, that power could translate into a bunch of extra-base hits into the gaps at Safeco Field, while his home run totals aren't likely to reach his career high (16), set in 2012.

    Making $6 million in 2014, Jackson has one year of arbitration left before becoming a free agent after the 2015 season.

Asdrubal Cabrera to Replace Miller at Shortstop?

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    Duane Burleson/Getty Images

    Thursday, July 31 at 1:22 p.m. ET

    The Mariners have been called a "sleeper team" by ESPN's Buster Olney to land Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera before the trade deadline.

    A mediocre defender, Cabrera (.246 BA, 9 HR, 40 RBI, .692 OPS) would be an upgrade at the plate over incumbent Brad Miller, a defensive stalwart that offers little at the plate (.201 BA, 8 HR, 26 RBI, .594 OPS).


Alex Rios Is on Seattle's Radar

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 12:14 p.m. ET

    Seattle has ramped up its efforts to acquire Rios but has competition, per CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who lists the Giants and Royals as having significant interest as well.

    --End of Update--


    Sunday, July 27 at 6:53 p.m. ET

    Seattle is one of four teams to express interest in Texas outfielder Alex Rios, tweets Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

    The 33-year-old Rios has had a productive season for the Rangers, hitting .299 with a 756 OPS, but his power has all but disappeared, with only four home runs on the season—and only one of those coming after May 14.

    Rios has a six-team no trade clause in his contract and it's unclear whether Seattle is one of the clubs that he can block a trade to. If so, it's likely that the team would be faced with the same situation they are dealing with in their pursuit of Philadelphia's Marlon Byrd—a demand to guarantee a team option on the deal, which for Rios is worth $14.5 million in 2015.

Mariners No Longer Talking to Philadelphia About Marlon Byrd

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 4:32 p.m. ET

    The Mariners are out of the running for Byrd, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Monday, July 28 at 2:55 p.m. ET

    Talks with the Phillies about a deal for Byrd are "stalled," tweets Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal

    The sticking point is of course Byrd's demand that his 2016 option be guaranteed in exchange for his waiving of the limited no-trade clause that is part of his contract. Things didn't look all that promising on the Byrd front last week, so this news isn't all that surprising.

    Seattle's search for another impact bat continues.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Thursday, July 17 at 11:00 p.m. ET

    Sources tell CBS Sports' Jon Heyman that a trade for Byrd seems "less than likely" due to his no-trade clause (and what Byrd wants in exchange for waiving it.).

    --End of Update--


    Update: Thursday, July 17 at 4:12 p.m. ET

    Talks between the Mariners and Phillies about a potential deal involving Byrd have stalled, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.

    Seattle has since turned its attention elsewhere for the time being, though it's not believed that they've given up on their pursuit of the veteran outfielder.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Thursday, July 17 at 12:36 p.m. ET

    Both ESPN's Jim Bowden and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune are reporting that Byrd will waive his no-trade clause and accept a deal to the Mariners as long as the club guarantees his $8 million team option for 2016.

    It's a scenario that we previously mentioned as a possibility, and it remains to be seen whether the Mariners are seriously considering it or not. While adding Byrd's bat to the lineup would be a boost this year, does the team really want to be paying him $8 million in his age-38 season?

    --End of Update--


    Update: Monday, July 14 at 9:15 a.m. ET

    Byrd would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to join the Mariners, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times tweets, noting that talks between Seattle and Philadelphia have gotten serious.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Friday, July 11 at 2:24 p.m. ET

    Seattle's interest in Byrd may be all for naught, as the veteran outfielder has a limited four-team no-trade clause and, you guessed it, the Mariners are one of the four teams on the list.

    According to CSN Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury, Byrd can block trades to Seattle, Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Toronto.

    But when asked by Salisbury whether he'd consider waiving his no-trade clause and accept a deal to one of those four clubs, Byrd didn't say no:

    “There would have to be a conversation with me, my agent and Ruben (Amaro Jr., the Phillies’ GM) if it gets to that point,” Byrd said.

    You'd have to think that Byrd would look to have his $8 million team option in 2016 guaranteed as part of any potential trade, something that the Mariners may not be amenable to.

    --End of Update--


    Friday, July 11 at 1:48 p.m. ET

    In their never-ending search for a productive outfield bat, the Mariners recently had scouts watching Philadelphia's Marlon Byrd, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

    Hitting .261/.313/.481 (.313 against lefties) with 18 home runs—two more than Seattle's entire outfield combined—and 52 RBI in the first year of a two-year, $16 million deal, the 36-year-old would serve as an immediate upgrade for a Mariners team that desperately needs one.

    If there's a drawback to Byrd, it's that he has an $8 million team option for 2016 that automatically vests if he makes 600 plate appearances in 2015 or 1,100 plate appearances combined between 2014-15. He'll be entering his age-38 season in 2016, and those plate appearance figures are something he can reach.

    Concern over what kind of production he'll deliver two years from now is a reasonable concern to have.

Emilio Bonifacio on Seattle's Radar?

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Wednesday, July 30 at 3:35 p.m. ET

    The Mariners are in Chicago's super-utility man Emilio Bonifacio, tweets Bruce Levine of 670 The Score.

    The 29-year-old switch-hitter doesn't have much pop in his bat but has posted a decent .279/.318/.373 slash line for the Cubs and has speed to cause problems when he gets on base with 16 stolen bases on the year.

    A versatile player capable of playing multiple positions, including center field, Bonifacio could be a platoon candidate in center field against left-handed pitching, as he's posted a 1.024 OPS against southpaws, superior to the slumping James Jones' .592 mark.

Mariners Trying to Bring Jon Lester Back Home?

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Monday, July 28 at 6:03 p.m. ET

    Perhaps not thrilled with their pursuit of an impact bat, the Mariners have reached out to Boston about staff ace Jon Lester, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets.

    A native of Tacoma and alumni of Bellarmine Preparatory School, roughly an hour's drive to Safeco Field, Lester would make Seattle's already formidable rotation even more devastating to face, joining Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and, well, it really wouldn't matter who the No. 4 and No. 5 starters were at that point, would it?

    ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that the Red Sox have told contenders that are looking for a starter that "Lester could be available for a two- or three-player package fronted by at least one upper-echelon prospect," and the Mariners certainly have no shortage of young talent to build a package around.

Is Chris Denorfia Seattle's New Top Target?

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    Joe Mahoney/Associated Press

    Monday, July 28 at 5:38 p.m. ET

    The Mariners, along with the Braves, are the two teams talking to San Diego the most about veteran outfielder Chris Denorfia, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.

    A career .280 hitter with a .750 OPS heading into the season, the 34-year-old has struggled at the plate, hitting only .244 with a .695 OPS and little power. Traditionally strong against left-handed pitching over the course of his career (.810 OPS), he's scuffled against southpaws as well (.644 OPS). 

    A free agent after the season, Denorfia is capable of playing all three outfield positions, Denorfia is at his best defensively when he's in one of the corners.

Seattle Interested in Matt Kemp

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Update: Sunday, July 27 at 5:50 p.m. ET

    While he says that Kemp is a "backup plan" for the Mariners, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan tweets that the team's interest in the Los Angeles outfielder is very real and that Seattle envisions him eventually transitioning into a full-time DH role, which would limit the wear-and-tear on his body.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Saturday, July 26 at 8:11 p.m. ET

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers are actively shopping Kemp and that five teams are interested, though he doesn't name any of those potential suitors.

    --End of Update--


    Saturday, July 26 at 5:35 p.m. ET

    The Mariners, along with Boston, has reached out to the Dodgers about a possible trade for former All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp, per Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal (video link).

    Talks are said not to have gone far and Los Angeles is unlikely to deal the 29-year-old, but Kemp seems to be growing increasingly disillusioned with his lack of consistent playing time in a crowded Dodgers outfield.

    Seattle and Los Angeles were engaged in trade talks for Kemp back in December that ultimately went nowhere, but the veteran outfielder would fill Seattle's needs for a right-handed bat with power, someone else to help protect Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager in the lineup and an upgrade in the outfield.

July 24: Acquired 1B/DH Kendrys Morales

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Age: 31

    Bats: S

    2014 Stats: 39 G, .234/.259/.325, 12 XBH (1 HR), 18 RBI, 0-for-0 SB

    Contract Status: One-year, $7.410 million


    Seattle turned to a familiar face to try and jumpstart its offense with its acquisition of switch-hitter Kendrys Morales, who the club failed to re-sign following the 2013 season and wound up signing with Minnesota after sitting out half of the year.

    Morales hit .277 with 23 home runs, 80 RBI and a .787 OPS for the Mariners last year, spending most of his time as the team's designated hitter, a role he figures to reprise during his second stay in the Emerald City.

    While his numbers on the season are less than stellar, Morales has shown signs of life at the plate, putting together a 12-game hitting streak and hitting .253 with a .603 OPS in 19 July games—still pretty bad, but better than his overall numbers on the season.

    Perhaps a return to familiar territory is what Morales needs to get back on track.


Mariners Interested in Colorado's Drew Stubbs

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    Byline Withheld/Associated Press

    Friday, July 25 at 11:50 a.m. ET

    According to the Denver Post's Nick Groke, Seattle has made an offer to Colorado for Stubbs, though it's unclear what the offer was.

    Colorado isn't actively shopping Stubbs, and as we pointed out yesterday, Stubbs' numbers away from Coors Field are horrible. Why Seattle continues to pursue a trade for the light-hitting outfielder is puzzling.

    --End of Update--


    Thursday, July 24 at 3:42 p.m. ET

    The Mariners have interest in Colorado outfielder Drew Stubbs, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, though the Rockies are believed to be unsure as to whether they want to trade him or not.

    Owner of a career .239 batting average and .691 OPS heading into the season, the 29-year-old Stubbs is having a career-year at the plate, hitting .297 with 10 home runs and an .833 OPS. But a quick look at his splits reveal that his numbers are so good ONLY because of playing half his games at Coors Field.

    home: .351/.379/.619, 8 HR, 20 RBI

    Away: .229/.277/.343, 2 HR, 8 RBI

    Why Seattle would have interest in an outfielder that is all but an automatic out away from Coors Field is beyond me.


Would the Mariners Trade Nick Franklin Within the Division?

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Monday, July 21 at 3:16 p.m. ET

    Oakland has tagged Seattle infielder Nick Franklin as a "top target," though whether the Mariners would be willing to trade with a team that they're chasing in the division remains to be seen, as noted by the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.

    Franklin, 24, has struggled at the plate in parts of two major league seasons, hitting .214 with a .649 OPS but has shown a nice power stroke, hitting 12 home runs over 369 at-bats in 2013. He's thrived at Triple-A, where he's spent the bulk of this season, hitting .300 with nine home runs, 42 RBI and a .875 OPS in 63 games.

    While he's expendable for the Mariners given Robinson Cano's arrival, helping a division rival that you're chasing for a playoff spot typically isn't the best idea. If he's being shopped, chances are that other teams are interested as well.

Josh Willingham: Mariners Have Talked Trade with Minnesota

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Thursday, July 15 at 11:13 p.m. ET

    Seattle continues to cast a wide net in its search for an impact bat, preferably from the right side of the plate, and have spoken with the Minnesota Twins about veteran outfielder Josh Willingham, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Willingham, 35, has battled injury and inconsistency this season, hitting only .212 with eight home runs, 25 RBi and a .772 OPS in 49 games. A free agent at the end of the year, it's unclear what the Twins might be asking for in exchange, though it's fair to assume that they'd be seeking a young arm.


Dayan Viciedo: Cuban Slugger on Mariners' Radar (Again)

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Update: Thursday, July 17 at 11:04 p.m. ET

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman confirms that the Mariners and White Sox have had talks surrounding Viciedo, but there doesn't appear to have been any progress on that front.

    --End of Update--


    ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes reports that Seattle, along with San Francisco, has engaged Chicago GM Rick Hahn about potential deals for the 25-year-old left fielder Dayan Viciedo. 

    The Mariners are said to be considering a two-player package that would include 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer, who has struggled badly as both a starter and reliever in parts of the past two seasons.

    This is the second time in four months that the Mariners have actively sought Viciedo: CBS Chicago's Bruce Levine reported in early March that the two teams had discussions about a potential deal.

    A below-average defender and strikeout machine, Viciedo has power (he hit 25 home runs in 2012) and would immediately bolster a Mariners outfield that, heading into Sunday's games, had combined to produce the lowest OPS (.639) in baseball. 

Mariners Trying to Buy Low on Billy Butler?

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    Duane Burleson/Getty Images

    Tuesday, July 15 at 7:35 p.m. ET

    Seattle continues to look anywhere and everywhere for additional offense, with ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweeting that the contending Mariners have called another contender—the Kansas City Royals—about designated hitter Billy Butler.

    This isn't the first time the Mariners have been linked to the man known as "Big Country Breakfast," with Crasnick's colleague, Jayson Stark tweeting back in December that they were one of three teams in pursuit of the full-time designated hitter.

    Owner of a career .298/.364/.459 slash line and averaging 18 home runs and 87 RBI a year heading into the season, the 28-year-old is struggling through the worst season of his eight-year career, with a .273/.325/.355 slash line at the All-Star break.

    Most troubling is Butler's disappearing power—his .355 slugging percentage is tied with St. Louis' Allen Craig for the 24th lowest in baseball, a thousandth-of-a-point ahead of Philadelphia's Ben Revere, he of the one career home run in just over 1,600 at-bats.

    That said, a change of scenery could do wonders for Butler, who has proven that he's got the talent to be a productive bat in the middle of a team's lineup. No word on how far talks have progressed—or what the Royals might be seeking in return.

Erasmo Ramirez: Seattle's New Most Valuable Trade Chip?

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Wednesday, July 9 at 12:05 p.m. ET

    While you can bet that the rest of baseball would love to get their hands on James Paxton or Taijuan Walker, it appears as if another one of Seattle's young arms might actually be more in-demand at the moment.

    Multiple teams have called the Mariners about 24-year-old right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, per Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Ramirez has pitched to a 4.35 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over parts of three major league seasons, and currently sits with a 4.54 ERA and 1.44 WHIP over seven starts for Triple-A Tacoma.

    Not arbitration eligible until 2016 and under team control through 2018, Ramirez could be used as part of a bigger package to upgrade the team's offense.

Can Seattle Get All Its Shopping Done in Chicago?

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    It's more speculation than anything else, but Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi says that the Mariners are expected to talk with the Chicago White Sox about a trio of veteran pieces: first baseman/designated hitter Adam Dunn, shortstop Alexei Ramirez and outfielder Dayan Viciedo.

    Dunn, one of the premier power bats of his generation, would immediately give the Mariners lineup a power dimension that they simply do not have, serving as an upgrade either at the DH spot or first base, where Justin Smoak continues to underwhelm.

    Ramirez would be a major offensive upgrade over incumbent shortstop Brad Miller, who looks completely lost at the plate while still providing quality defense at a premium position.

    Perhaps the most intriguing of the trio is Viciedo. While the 25-year-old Cuban import doesn't hit for average or get on base consistently, he has tremendous raw power (evidenced by his 25 home runs two years ago) and would immediately upgrade an outfield that remains one of the least productive in baseball.

    It's unclear what the White Sox would be looking for in exchange for any of the threesome.