The next five weeks will define the season. Right now, the Mariners are 33-40. Right now, the Mariners are in last place in the A.L. West (yes, that’s right, the lowly A’s have come roaring back, as we all knew they would, because they’re the fucking A’s). Right now, the Mariners are the 3rd worst team in the American League, a half game up on the White Sox and a game and a half up on the Red Sox. Right now, the Mariners are another shitty weekend away from being the absolute worst.
In five weeks, it’ll be the July 31st trade deadline. This is it! The time is now! Either the Mariners – in the next five weeks – decide to flip the switch and start winning ballgames hand over fist, or they play the way they’ve been playing and we kiss the season goodbye.
On the one hand, if the Mariners improve, then great! Let’s see if that improvement can continue through the end of the season and maybe lock in a Wild Card spot. I wouldn’t expect any major deadline deals to make this roster better, because I don’t think they have anyone good enough to trade that’s not already ON this roster.
On the flipside, though, if the Mariners continue to stink, then it’s time to sell.
Every year, a few teams dwelling at the bottom of their respective leagues realize this fact early enough, and those teams are rewarded with a bounty of prospects and salary dumping. If the Mariners are where they’re at now, in five weeks, then they better recognize that it’s not going to fucking magically get better. And they better trim the fat accordingly. Here are some players to think about moving.
Hisashi Iwakuma – He’s in the last year of his deal. He’s 34 years old. If all goes well with his rehab, he should have 3-4 weeks to showcase his talents. Some contending team in need of solid pitching depth should be able to give up a nice little player for two months of Iwakuma. If he can prove he’s the same #2-type starting pitcher that he’s been the last couple years, then there should definitely be a market for his services.
Fernando Rodney – He’s also in the last year of his deal. Of course, now that he’s lost his closer’s job, I don’t know how much value he has left. But, he was great just a year ago, and some team may see this as just a simple rough patch. After all, he hasn’t lost the zip on his fastball; he just needs to locate better. And, not for nothing, but he hasn’t given up a run in his last five appearances, so that’s something to keep an eye on.
Joe Beimel – The bullpen has three lefties. The bullpen probably doesn’t need three lefties. I wouldn’t expect much in return, but he could be a guy you attach to another guy to get a deal done.
J.A. Happ – Last year of his deal (noticing a trend?). The team might be in dire straits if they opt to trade both Happ and Iwakuma, but then again, doesn’t that just help us tank better and shoot for a higher draft pick? Anyway, with Montgomery showing us he’s not nearly as worthless as Erasmo Ramirez was, and with Paxton returning to the rotation EVENTUALLY, there should be enough pitching to get us through the last few months. Happ has proven to be an effective innings eater. He’s not as intriguing as Iwakuma, but contending teams always like to have a stockpile of arms.
Austin Jackson – Last year of his deal. AND, he’s actually greatly improved over his performance in 2014! He very well could S a D in the next 5 weeks, but if he holds up, he’s got to be a guy someone wants. After all, if he does what he does in Seattle, you gotta figure he’s going to be even BETTER when he gets out of Safeco.
Dustin Ackley – If anyone will take him. He’s going to be arbitration eligible after this season, which means he’s probably in line for a raise. How much of a raise remains to be seen, but he’s been a starter for this team in some capacity since 2011. Do we REALLY want to give this guy a pay increase? Did you know he’s making $2.6 million dollars in this year alone? That’s all due to his being a #2 overall draft pick. So, what’s he going to get if we keep him for 2016? $4 million? $5 million? Are you JOKING me? GIVE HIM AWAY FOR A BAG OF BASEBALLS! This guy needs to get out of my sight, because he’s seriously pissing me off now that I actually know how much money he’s making to suck this much ass-cheese.
Robinson Cano and/or Nelson Cruz – These guys might be tricky, as they probably have some sort of no-trade clause in their contracts. It all depends on whether the Mariners want to completely start over, or if they want to keep the core and try to build around it better. Cano and Cruz would certainly be part of the “core”, to go along with Seager and Felix. I’m not saying the Mariners SHOULD trade Cano and/or Cruz, as I think they can still win with these guys. But, who knows? Maybe the organization wants to cut bait and cut salary to let the next GM have a more-or-less clean slate. For the record, I highly doubt either of these guys get moved. But, if you’re looking for an opportunity to get rid of these guys before they start to REALLY hit the downside of their careers, now would absolutely be the time.