With the Mariners in contention as the trade deadline approaches, general manager Jack Zduriencik is fielding questions – both from other executives as well as media members – about the possibility of dealing prospects in order to upgrade his club.
When Zduriencik joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” on Tuesday, the prospect in question was third baseman DJ Peterson, the Mariners’ 2013 first-round pick.
“I don’t have any interest in trading DJ Peterson, I can tell you,” he said. “None at all.”
Zduriencik went on to note that the Mariners’ scouting department evaluated Peterson as the best hitter in the 2013 draft before choosing him 12th overall. He also said Peterson has had a nice season after his first year in pro ball was cut short when a pitch hit him in the face, breaking his jaw. In 80 games between Single-A High Desert and Double-A Jackson this season, Peterson is hitting .319 with 21 home runs, 80 RBIs and a .967 OPS.
It’s worth noting that while Zduriencik’s comments – the quote in particular – sound like he’s declaring he won’t trade Peterson, it was far from a guarantee.
This makes perfect sense. Saying the Mariners are open to trading Peterson could only decrease their leverage in any negotiations. It’s in Zduriencik’s best interest to let other clubs know how much Seattle wants to keep Peterson. And by stopping just short of calling him untouchable, Zduriencik sends a message that any team wanting to trade for Peterson will have to blow the Mariners away with its offer.
Zduriencik even left the door open – albeit slightly – as he continued to tout Peterson’s resume and potential.
“He’s a right-handed bat – those are precious commodities in our game today. He still has a lot to prove; he’s a young kid,” Zduriencik said. “In most cases, if someone’s asking you for DJ Peterson, they’re gonna give you something short term, but I just think he’s a very, very valuable asset for us right now. You never say never to anything, but I really don’t have any intentions or desire to trade him.”
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