The Mariners Don’t Necessarily Have To Be Sellers

It’s that time of year again.  July 11th, exactly 3 weeks before the trade deadline.

It’s that time of year again.  July 11th, the Mariners are 13.5 games out of first place, resting comfortably in the bottom third of the American League.

It’s that time of year again.  July 11th, where bad teams (like the Mariners) are looking toward the future, ready and willing to foresake the present, because the present is too soul-crushingly awful to think about.

The Mariners have already started along that path.  Guys like Nick Franklin, Mike Zunino, Brad Miller, and Erasmo Ramirez are all getting their shots with the big boys.  Raul Ibanez is still forcing his way into the everyday lineup, but with Ackley’s transition to the outfield (ostensibly for One Final Shot at sticking with the M’s), with Morse’s return from the DL, and with the cock-tease that is Guti’s temporary good health, the outfield will be a source of too many mouths to feed.

It’s that time of year again.  July 11th, where bad teams (like the Mariners) start looking for salary dumping opportunities anywhere they can.

Kendrys Morales, Mike Morse, Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay, Franklin Gutierrez, Joe Saunders, and Aaron Harang are all on the final years of their contracts.  Most, if not all, will not be around next year.  Of those seven players, only Morales is a player anyone with any sense would want back.  I think it would be idiotic to try and count on Morse in any sort of full-time capacity.  Jason Bay is another nice story (like Bonderman, I guess), but he needs to go away after this year.  I can’t envision a world where Raul Ibanez DOESN’T sign a contract extension with the Mariners in the offseason, so if we’re bound and determined to keep him, he makes Bay as redundant as Bay has been throughout 2013.  Guti is Guti, someone will take a shot.  Joe Saunders is a nice 5th starter, but he’s a substandard #3 starter.  The Mariners could always try to extend him, but let’s stop there and not fill our rotation with a bunch of over-the-hill soft-tossers like we have in 2013 thus far.

In an ideal world, the Mariners would trade some or all of those guys for prospects who turn out to be All Stars.  In the real world, none of those guys – save Morales – will command much in return.  Nothing but organizational filler and depth – at best.  If the Mariners are bound and determined to keep Morales long-term, then trading him away would make it damn near impossible to bring him back in the offseason.  One would hope that the Mariners finish the season strong with Morales leading the way, leaving a good final taste in his mouth when he’s making his decision, and giving him (and the rest of us) hope for success in the very near future.

Everyone else, you COULD trade, but if you’re not going to get anyone back who will ever be worth a damn, then what’s the point?  I’m tired of sitting around making other teams better for THEIR playoff runs.  And we’re NOT going to trade any of our young Major League prospects, so it really doesn’t make the trade market all that enticing.

It’s that time of year again.  July 11th, where the Mariners trade salaries for suck-ass prospects who will inevitably be released within a year or two because they’re terrible and we’re terrible people.

If you ask me, I say just leave well enough alone.  Eventually, a Triple-A pitcher will play his way into Aaron Harang’s rotation spot, so that’ll be an upgrade.  As the young hitters continue to gather experience points (and as Justin Smoak continues to entice with his late-career hitting surge), we could be looking at an exciting baseball team by season’s end.  Not that momentum is worth a hill of beans, but it’ll be nice to go into an offseason with some hope we can count on.  With less holes to fill than in season’s past.  With an outside shot at contending in 2014, as opposed to 2030.

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