We’ve heard all of the names the Mariners have rumored interest in.
David Price. Matt Kemp. Marlon Byrd. Josh Willingham. Dayan Viciedo.
We’ve heard all of the names it would take to get them, too, including Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Nick Franklin and DJ Peterson – all valuable prospects with high ceilings that could make the Mariners pay for shipping them elsewhere.
There’s a lot of combinations of those prospects that could bring back a big-name pitcher or bat to the Mariners just in time for a run at a division title, and general manager Jack Zduriencik has thought of them all. By his own admission he’s looking at every avenue for the best deal, and it’s safe to assume the Athletics’ blockbuster trade to bring in pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel has added pressure to make a bold transaction.
So is now the time for the Mariners to go all-in?
Zduriencik addressed that on 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” Monday, and he made a few things clear: he has the ability to make moves before the July 31 trade deadline, but he’s not looking to raid the Mariners’ stocked farm system to bring in a big name.
“I feel strongly we’re gonna be able to do something,” Zduriencik said about a potential trade. “We had a meeting the last few weeks, and I think ownership is really excited about what’s going on right now. There is flexibility for me to do something. Obviously you can’t do something insane, either in terms of dollars or to give up the farm, if you will, but I do think in the right scenario we’ll be able to make an addition.”
The Mariners are in their best position to make a postseason run in over a decade, as they entered the All-Star break with more than 50 wins for the first time since 2003, but Zduriencik stressed that the team is built for more than one shot.
“I think what we’re gonna try to do is improve the club the best we can but also keep the future in mind,” he said. “We’ve got Felix (Hernandez) here for a number of years committed, we’ve got a lot of young players committed, obviously Robby Cano’s committed.”
The Mariners are said to be looking for another pitcher to solidify their already strong rotation or a right-handed hitter that could help the lineup score more consistently, but Zduriencik pointed out that players in their own system could take care of those problems in upcoming seasons.
“A positive is we’ve got some nice things coming in our minor-league system that are gonna fill some really nice voids for us,” he said. “Our system’s healthy. I think we’re going to be able to add pieces from within eventually – if not this year certainly in the very, very near future. … To have all these pieces right around the corner, and very talented as well, I think is a tribute to everything we’ve talked about doing here.”
That makes it sound like the Mariners have a lot of faith in players like pitchers Walker and Paxton, both of whom have pitched good-to-great in short stints in the majors, and Peterson, who made waves Sunday with a double off the wall playing for the U.S. in the Futures Game. So if teams are going to pry them away from the Mariners, it’s going to take an offer that blows Zduriencik away.
“If a great opportunity presents itself in making an acquisition, we’re gonna do it,” he said, “but we don’t wanna take a step forward this year and then take three steps back.”