Three Team Deal? The latest buzz…

Jul 25, 2009, 4:36 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:51 pm

by Mike Salk

Lots of trade stuff today (of course).

The biggest Mariner rumor floating around is a three-team deal that would involve the M’s, Indians and Rays. According to the rumor, the M’s would trade RHP Brandon Morrow and/or C/1B Jeff Clement to Cleveland, the Indians would send LHP Cliff Lee and/or C/1B Victor Martinez to Tampa, and the Rays would send LHP Scott Kazmir and SS Reid Brignac to Seattle.

Interesting, but I’m not quite buying it. For one, it seems like a lot for Cleveland to give up (even if it’s only Lee) and not enough coming back to them. Also, why would the M’s want to take on Kazmir’s money? He is sort of like Erik Bedard to me but without as good stuff. He is often injured, and needs WAY too many pitches to get through too few innings. And his numbers/velocity are heading in the wrong direction. I think Jarrod Washburn has better numbers over the next two years than Kazmir does – I’d rather see them resign Washburn.

On the other hand, from what I hear, Brignac would be a great fit here in Seattle. He is a talented kid, a top prospect. But he is blocked now in Tampa by Jason Bartlett and they drafted Tim Beckham in the first round to be their shortstop of the future. So he is available. He could be a solid defender and patient hitter that could form a nucleus with Franklin Gutierrez for years to come.

Speaking of Washburn, losing the last two games at home may make him more available. The M’s continue to lose ground while he continues to pitch lights out. That means his value is rising while the chances of trading him rise too. If there is any validity to the deal above, but it falls through, I wounder if Tampa would consider a Washburn/Brignac swap with the M’s picking up some of the remaining salary…Interesting.

On one hand, Washburn may end up being the second most valuable pitcher on the market after Roy Halladay. So trading him could help you build your future. On the other hand, he might be a big part of your future. His leadership off the field this year has been almost as valuable as his work on the field.

So, what do you do? The easy answer is to trade him and then sign him again as a free agent. But that solution involves a lot of risk. If you trade him, do you send him the wrong message?

The good news here is that all parties involved are good communicators and respect each other. Jack Zduriencik has enormous respect for Washburn as a veteran who has played the game the right way. Washburn, in turn, understands the business side of the game.

Could Jack trade Washburn and then sign him again? I think so. But it would require a lot of communication between both sides. And yes, that would include agent Scott Boras who is notorious for wanting his clients to leverage the most money through free agency bidding wars. Still, Washburn isn’t exactly the typical Boras client, and he reiterated today that his agent works for him, not the other way around.

Today’s outing has to destroy any trade value left for Bedard. He struggled to command his fastball and to throw strikes. Not exactly what contenders are looking for…That outing couple with the loss might increase the chances for dealing Washburn or even Russell Branyan.

Finally, I wanted to respond to a comment below.

milt wrote…
it’s no coincidence the m’s are losing (looking like 2 in a row) and Junior is not playing. He is such a presence, electrifies the crowd and then electrifies the team. Baseball is such a mental game and Junior helps the team relax, enjoy the game and not tightened up because they are in the race. Too bad. there you are Junior haters.
July 25, 2009 3:18 pm

Yes Milt, it is a coincidence. Junior had no effect on the pitching in either of the two games. Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched well, but no well enough to win yesterday. Bedard was not effective today. Neither had anything to do with the DH.

To your point, both DH’s went 0-3 in the two games, but against the lefties, it would be hard to expect much more from Junior. Would one hit have been the difference? Hard to make that argument when your team is outscored 19-3. The team was plenty relaxed and confident today. Junior was his usual perky self in the clubhouse. They just didn’t hit well or pitch well either day. No connection.

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