BROCK AND SALK

There’s a factor working against Mariners’ trade needs

Jun 25, 2024, 12:40 PM

Seattle Mariners Scott Servais Jerry Dipoto...

Scott Servais and Jerry Dipoto of the Seattle Mariners watch batting practice in 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

With a clear need to bolster their struggling lineup, the first-place Seattle Mariners are expected to be heavily in the market for bats as the July 30 MLB trade deadline moves ever closer. They also may have a need for a reliever, given the slew of injuries that have decimated their bullpen.

Passan: Why Pete Alonso is best trade fit for Mariners

However, there’s a significant factor currently working against the Mariners and other expected trade deadline buyers across the league.

The National League wild-card standings currently feature a logjam of clubs hovering around .500, with nine teams all within four games of each other. In total, 13 of the NL’s 15 teams are either in playoff position or within three games of a wild-card spot. The only NL teams that are definitely out of the playoff race are the Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies.

With so many teams still in contention, this year’s trade deadline figures to be heavy on buyers and low on sellers.

“It’s really interesting to me that we’ve been talking about this for like a month now, and almost nothing has changed when it comes to just the muddled bottom 40% of teams in baseball right now,” ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan said Tuesday on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. “They’re all the same. … None of them are moving (players) yet, because all it takes is one good week to get back into the race. Like, that’s literally what it is, especially in the National League. All it takes is one good week to put yourself in a playoff position.”

“This is an extreme seller’s market,” he added. “The prices are going to be sky-high.”

The ultimate X-factor team

Passan believes the Toronto Blue Jays could be the team that has the biggest impact on how this trade deadline period progresses.

The Blue Jays are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, which has dropped them to 35-43 and 7.5 games out of the AL’s third and final wild-card spot. According to FanGraphs, their playoff odds are now just 3.7%.

If Toronto does indeed become a seller, the Blue Jays would have two of the more intriguing trade chips in three-time All-Star slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and two-time All-Star shortstop Bo Bichette.

“They’re not at the point where they’re like, ‘OK, we’re going (to sell)’ yet,” Passan said. “But unless they turn things around pretty darn quickly, they’re gonna have to. And the question there will be: Is it (starting pitcher) Yusei Kikuchi and maybe (starting pitcher) Chris Bassitt, or is it them and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. Like, do they go half-measure or do they go full-sell?

“And that I think is going to really determine just how exciting and how intriguing the rest of this trade deadline is, because with Guerrero and Bichette, they’ve got the goods. And with (Kikuchi) and (Bassitt), they’re just trying to take advantage of a market that otherwise is not all that exciting.”

Listen to the full conversation with Jeff Passan at this link or in the audio player near the middle of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More on the Seattle Mariners

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• Mariners’ Bryan Woo exits start vs Rays early with leg injury
• Mariners Roster Moves: Polanco returns, rookie optioned
• Where’s Julio’s power? Insiders weigh in on ‘mystifying’ first half
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There’s a factor working against Mariners’ trade needs