ESPN’s Kurkjian expects Mariners to be ‘aggressive’ in trades, but there’s a catch

May 31, 2023, 3:35 PM

Seattle Mariners...

Seattle Mariners infielders celebrate after a win over the Boston Red Sox on May 15, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)

(Photo by Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners have yet to get on a difference-making run this season, and as a result, they enter Wednesday’s series finale against the New York Yankees sitting in fourth place in the American League West with a 28-27 record.

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Though the M’s reached three games over .500 for the first time in 2023 after clinching a series win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, they have since been blown out in back-to-back games against reigning MVP Aaron Judge and the Yankees by a combined score of 20-6.

Longtime ESPN MLB insider Tim Kurkjian doesn’t think the M’s need to panic as the calendar turns to June, but he also explained during a conversation with Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy on Wednesday that something needs to change to improve their chances at playing in October again this year.

“I think it’s a little too early to worry,” Kurkjian said of the Mariners. “The Yankees, by the way, are really good right now and Aaron Judge is swinging a better than he has all year, which is really saying something. I wouldn’t worry too much about the Mariners. I like their team, (but) they’re gonna have to hit better than .230 if they’re going to make it to the playoffs this year.”

It may take some moves for the Mariners to improve the offense that is 28th out of the 30 MLB teams with that .230 batting average, though.

Will the Seattle Mariners make a big trade?

The Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline is still two months away, but considering the Mariners didn’t make a splash in free agency for big bats in the offseason and how their most notable offensive additions have yet to take off at the plate, it has become a focus perhaps earlier than usual in Seattle this season.

How does Kurkjian see the M’s approaching the trade market?

“I fully expect the Mariners to be aggressive at the trade deadline,” he said.

His biggest reason has to do with the Mariners needing to build off of last season where they reached the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

“They can’t tease their fans and make it one year for the first time in 21 years and then not make it again for a few years,” he said. “I like what they’re doing (with their long-term roster) and I think they’ll be aggressive at the deadline.”

There’s a caveat, though.

“I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of help out there right now in the trade market, like a hitter that’s going to come in and change the fortunes of the Mariners,” Kurkjian said. “I’m not sure there’s a pitcher out there – maybe Eduardo Rodriguez of the Tigers, who just went on the injured list – that’s gonna make a big difference. So it may be smaller moves.”

The Mariners may only need a little help for their lineup, though, because of how good their pitching staff has been and looks to be for the foreseeable future.

“The Mariners are gonna have to play a whole lot better if they’re going to make the playoffs, but I think they’re capable of it. Their pitching is really good, they’re just going to have to find a way to score a few more runs,” Kurkjian said.

Listen to the full Bump and Stacy conversation with Kurkjian in the podcast below.

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ESPN’s Kurkjian expects Mariners to be ‘aggressive’ in trades, but there’s a catch