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Mariners RHP Mike Leake
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Mariners trade rumors that MLB insider Jon Morosi is hearing

Mike Leake has thrown two straight strong starts for the Mariners. (AP)

MLB insider Jon Morosi of the MLB Network and FOX Sports provided a surprising name that could be the best Mariners asset at Wednesday’s trade deadline, but what about the rest of Seattle’s trade chips?

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Morosi covered what he is hearing about Domingo Santana, Mike Leake and Dee Gordon during his bi-weekly conversation on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk on Tuesday. Let’s take a closer look at what he had to say about each player.

Domingo Santana

While Santana has strong numbers at the plate, his defense is questionable at best in the outfield and he is currently dealing with an elbow injury that is keeping him from playing the field. And despite a report from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman on Sunday that Cleveland and Tampa Bay have shown interest in the 26-year-old slugger, Morosi said those rumors have cooled down.

“It seems as though the Indians may be moving on to some other possibilities,” Morosi said. “… I think the Mariners are very open-minded to moving Santana, but at the moment, not that many teams are really looking for offensive help on the corners because a lot of teams are at least mostly content with the way they’re swinging the bats given this historically great offensive year across Major League Baseball. I do think that the Rays had been a possibility, (but it) doesn’t seem as though it’s terribly likely.”

The Mariners may have to wait in line to see if Cleveland or Tampa Bay strike out trying to get other offensive targets they have been linked to. Cleveland is reportedly interested in both Detroit outfielder Nicholas Castellanos and Toronto first baseman Justin Smoak, a former Mariner himself, while Tampa Bay may go after Baltimore’s Trey Mancini.

“I think Santana is part of those conversations but I don’t believe that he is front and center for either the Indians or the Rays at this point in time. He’s one of many options being thought through,” Morosi said.

Mike Leake

The right-handed Leake is a solid veteran starter capable of flashes of greatness – including recently. In his last start he allowed three runs in seven innings to help Seattle beat Texas last Wednesday, and before that he took a perfect game into the ninth inning and threw a complete game shutout on just 98 pitches against the Angels.

The 31-year-old Leake has a no-trade clause, which isn’t expected to be a hurdle as it is pretty widely known he wants to play for a contender. The hefty salary he is owed – he is making $16 million this year, is due $15 million in 2020 and has an $18 million mutual option for 2021 that comes with a $5 million buyout, according to Spotrac – leaves the Mariners in a tough spot, however.

“They’re going to have to decide on either getting out from under the contract – or most of the contract – or getting back decent prospects,” Morosi said. “I don’t think it’s going to be both. I think that his value, where he’s at with his salary, it’s high enough that it’s going to be difficult for the Mariners to check both of those boxes.”

Should Seattle find a suitor, it may end up being in their own American League West division.

“I would say Houston is a club that if they don’t have a lot of success in their other pursuits – I don’t think Leake is their top pursuit by any means, but he’s on their list,” Morosi said. “I would say to pay close attention to Houston and the possibilities there.”

Leake is scheduled to start Tuesday’s series opener in Texas for the Mariners, but Morosi isn’t so sure he’ll make it that far.

Dee Gordon

There are a couple of reasons why Gordon is much less likely to be traded this year than he would have been in previous circumstances.

First, he’s on the injured list with a quad strain, and while he is apparently ahead of schedule in his recovery it is hard to imagine a team giving up much for a player whose game is predicated on speed that is out of action with a soft-tissue injury.

Second, the rules for the trade deadline this year aren’t in the Mariners’ favor as it pertains to Gordon. The July 31 deadline is a drop-dead deadline that is the end of any kind of trade at the MLB level this season. In previous years trades could be made for an additional month if players cleared waivers.

“I think he’s someone in the past would have cleared waivers in August but now of course (there’s) no longer an option there,” Morosi said of Seattle’s second baseman. “I have not heard his name a ton in my conversations with executives this week. I think the fact that he’s on the injured list makes it’s a challenge.”

Listen to Morosi’s full interview in the player embedded below or download a podcast version at this link.

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