Will the Mariners move Felix or League?
My day started early today here in New York when I received a request to be on Colin Cowherd’s “Spanning the Globe.” Always up for a live radio hit so I agreed to go on. I expected the focus would be the Mariners losing streak but no, he wanted to talk about the latest trade Felix Hernandez rumor. In fact he kind of hammered me about the fact that the Mariners must trade him. How can they not with the situation they are in he asked.
Despite national reports saying that it could happen I had to tell him that everything I have heard is contrary to that. Jack Zduriencik’s stance on trading Felix is the same as it was in spring training and in every month since when asked. He has not wavered.
I told Cowherd that there were two different factors that made it highly unlikely that a trade would happen. The first being that Felix is a pretty good bargain for what he is right now and that another team most likely could not offer back his value. Prospects aren’t going to do it. If Zduriencik were to trade his franchise player he would have to “win” the trade so to speak. Major League talent would have to be included and a contender is not going to give that up at the time. Secondly, Zduriencik believes in his prospects and intends to build around Felix.
I pointed out that this year was declared the “year of evaluation” before the season began. It was about straightening out the payroll situation and getting the bad contracts off the books and getting they young players the chance to play so that by the end of the season the Mariners would know more about what they have in their organization and in turn have a better definition of what their needs are going into the off season. Those goals are being met despite the losing streak. I don’t know that the losing streak changes anything as far as the big picture goes.
As for other trade possibilities, I believe the team was open to trading Jason Vargas but his stock has taken a major hit in the last week. They are less inclined to trade Doug Fister because of his years under club control remaining. There was a report today that clubs are still interested in Erik Bedard. We will see in four days.
Then of course there is Brandon League who has generated interest from other clubs but appears unlikely to be moved. He hopes to stay.
“I like it here,” he said at his locker before the game. “I think I have made it clear that I like it here, but it is something you don’t have control over so we will see what happens over the next five days.”
When League came off the field after playing catch shortly before the game he walked by Zduriencik who stopped him and pulled him aside for a quick chat. I saw him do the same thing here with Felix a year ago. The conversation appeared friendly with Jack putting his hands on Brandon’s shoulders at one point while he talked to him. They were both smiling when the talk ended. Read into that what you will.
Some quick news and notes…The team did not arrive at the stadium until 4:50 today as Eric Wedge told them to stay away and get their minds off baseball. The coaches did the same arriving at 4:30. Most players came in on the team bus but Ichiro traveled separately getting to the clubhouse at about 4:40. Most players typically arrive between 1:30 and 2:30 but we don’t usually see Ichiro until about 4:00 on the road…Brendan Ryan made the most of his extra time going to the Burger Joint at the Meridien, one of my favorite hamburger places. Time well spent. Miguel Olivo did not take the team bus and arrived at the stadium before 4:30. “I walked around the stadium three times!” He laughed. Wedge said to not enter the clubhouse until after 4:30 and all Mariners obeyed…Chone Figgins has returned to the team after missing two days to deal with a family emergency…Blake Beavan is in limbo right now. He most likely will be sent to AAA before Bedard’s Friday start but things could happen before then. Wedge said that he will be available in the bullpen until then…I asked Wedge if he has thought of going to a six man rotation and he said he has. “It is not something I would do now but would I entertain the idea down the road? Yes…”