By Brady Henderson
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” Tuesday for a discussion on where the Mariners stand with the All-Star break approaching. Here’s a look at the highlights:
• Don’t count on Elias. While Roenis Elias has been one of the Mariners’ biggest surprises this season and someone who has helped stabilize their injury-riddled rotation, Cameron doesn’t think Seattle can realistically count on the rookie left-hander during the second half of the season. It’s not only because of his escalating innings total, which has been a commonly cited concern given Elias never pitched more than 150 innings in the minors and is already over 100.
“He was basically a guy in Double-A last year, he wasn’t a top prospect, this wasn’t a guy who had a long track record of success,” Cameron said. “He was probably over his head the first couple months of the year, so even outside of just the tiredness and wearing down over a long season, you would have expected him to get worse just based on his own track record. And then you throw in the fact that he’s gonna be pushing toward 180, 200 innings by the end of the year. I think the Mariners need to plan on replacing him at some point, probably in August or September if he even gets there.”
• The price for Price. The Mariners were linked to David Price over the offseason, and Cameron believes that trading for the Rays’ ace would still be their “dream” despite everything Seattle would have to give up. Cameron believes that it would cost the Mariners their top pitching prospect (Taijuan Walker), their 2013 first-round pick (DJ Peterson) and more.
“I don’t think Taijuan Walker is going to get you David Price. I think it would have to be a package of probably DJ Peterson in that deal, Nick Franklin is almost certainly in that deal, it’s going to be four or five guys,” Cameron said. “I think if you see what Jeff Samardzija just got – Addison Russell, who’s a top-five prospect in baseball, doesn’t have the injury history that Taijuan Walker does and he got Samardzija, who’s not as good as David Price. So I think you’re looking at a big package to get Price. I think, given where the Mariners are and the fact that they already have a guy to pitch in the wild-card game if they get there in Felix Hernandez, I’d be reticent to give up the farm to acquire a piece who might not even play in your final game.”
Cameron also expects Price to make $20 million in arbitration next season.
• A hitter who could help. In lieu of a blockbuster trade, Cameron thinks the Mariners would be better off making a smaller move to improve their offense. The one name he mentioned was 36-year-old outfielder Marlon Byrd, who is hitting .267 with 18 home runs and an .801 OPS for Philadelphia.
“You wanna make a move that’s gonna help the team and improve the team while also being realistic and understanding you’re fighting for the chance to play one game on the road against a better squad,” he said. “I think a guy like Marlon Byrd could make a lot of sense. There are guys out there who are not gonna cost you a Taijuan Walker or one of your top prospects who will make the team better but also aren’t mortgaging the farm, and I think that’s the kind of move the Mariners should be making.”