On a very active trade-deadline day, the Mariners didn’t come out of the other side with any new superstars. They did come out with their most prized prospects still in their possession, though.
David Price ended up in Detroit, Jon Lester went to Oakland and Marlon Byrd didn’t leave Philadelphia, even though the M’s were linked to all three in recent weeks. Instead Seattle traded expendable middle infielder Nick Franklin to bring in center fielder Austin Jackson and made a minor deal to acquire veteran outfielder Chris Denorfia.
The big thing, however, is that they didn’t touch young pitchers Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, nor did they dangle minor-league slugger D.J. Peterson in an attempt to bolster the major league roster for a push towards the playoffs.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said on 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” Friday that they very well could have traded for any number of big names, but in the end the long-term plan outweighed short-term benefits.
“Any of the major deals done yesterday we could have been involved in, but there’s a price to pay for that, and we weren’t willing to pay that price,” Zduriencik said. “I think it would have been foolish to say we’re throwing it all in right now at the cost of giving up three players who are our future.”
While the Tigers and Athletics traded punches with blockbuster moves on Thursday, Zduriencik and the Mariners tried to be sensible while still addressing their obvious weakness in the outfield.
“I think by us doing the moves that we did and still hanging on to the players that we’ve held on to, we’ve give ourselves a better shot to get to the playoffs this year, but we’ve certainly put ourselves in a position beyond this year to still be in a position where we’re gonna have some really good players coming,” he said.
That’s not to say that the potential of bringing in another ace like Price or Lester to join Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma wasn’t worth multiple looks.
“It’s tempting. I think you have to entertain it, but at the end common sense has to prevail,” Zduriencik said. “It didn’t make sense. … You have to, as a general manager, always take the big picture regardless of how tempting the short-term acquisition can make your club better immediately. There will be a point in time when we will make that move, it’s just not the time right now.”
At the end of the day, it was more tempting for the Mariners to give time to Walker, Paxton and Peterson and see how they might be able to contribute to the team in the coming years.
“We hope they’re gonna be really good players, we think they’re gonna be really good players. We realize that sometimes that doesn’t always work out, but the issue is when you trade them you never find out,” Zduriencik said. “You’ve got too much invested in them and you’ve talked too much about them, and you know too many good things for us to give them away for somebody else to reap the rewards if they become the players we think they’ll be.”