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Morosi: 3 teams that could be Mariners trade partners before July 31 deadline

Mike Leake is likely to be dealt by the Mariners before the July 31 MLB trade deadline. (AP)

The Mariners are likely to part with some key players before the July 31 MLB trade deadline, but it’s not clear which teams they might swing a deal with.

M’s deadline primers: Likely to be dealtAvailable | Potential surprises

MLB insider Jon Morosi of the MLB Network and FOX Sports joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk on Tuesday and had three teams in mind that Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto could trade pitchers Mike Leake and Roenis Elías to within the next two weeks.

Here’s a closer look at why Morosi thinks those teams could be good trade partners for Dipoto and the M’s.

Potential Mariners trade partner 1: Minnesota Twins

The Twins entered Tuesday with a six-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central, and the Mariners’ pair of available veteran pitchers could help bolster a staff that so far has been propped up by an offense that leads the majors with 5.68 runs scored per game.

“They’re a team that (could) find a way to upgrade their pitching a little bit,” Morosi said of the Twins.

Leake could slot into Minnesota’s starting rotation while Elías has been pitching out of the bullpen but also has experience as a starter.

While Twins CEO and executive vice president Derek Falvey isn’t always one to make a big splash, Morosi said he also recognizes when that may be necessary.

“Derek can I think be very deliberate with certain processes, but once he knows that he’s got a very valuable team and a really compelling group that can potentially do something, he’ll be aggressive,” Morosi said.

The Twins certainly have a good shot at making noise in the postseason, and the Mariners could be in the right position at the right time with their expendable veteran pitchers.

“You look at (the Twins) right now, they have the best run differential in the American League, I think that had a pretty strong statement series against Cleveland over the weekend, and they have a six-game lead in the division, (so they have some) pretty big designs on October,” Morosi said.

Potential Mariners trade partner 2: Atlanta Braves

Another division leader, Atlanta could also be in the market for Leake or Elías, but they’re unlikely to be the Braves’ first choices to add to their pitching staff.

“I don’t think Leake or Elías are at the top of their list, but (Braves general manager) Alex Anthopoulos is not afraid to make a trade,” Morosi said of the former Blue Jays GM. “We saw that as part of his DNA in Toronto, and if they get down their list and if things don’t work out with some of the higher-end guys they’re looking at, the likes of (Arizona’s) Robbie Ray or (the Mets’) Noah Syndergaard and they get down to more of their secondary or tertiary options, then I think you can see a package deal of the likes of Leake or Elías for a club like Atlanta.”

Why Twins and Braves make sense as trade partners

Both Minnesota and Atlanta are stocked enough with prospects that they could sustain the hit of a trade that would help to the Mariners’ current rebuild effort.

“They’ve got deep enough farm systems that the 10th-best player in those organizations is a good player,” Morosi said of the Twins and Braves. “Those are the teams I would say fish where the fish are. Those two teams have enough credible prospects that doing business with them and talking with them is going to be, I believe, a fruitful endeavor (for the Mariners).”

Potential Mariners trade partner 3: Milwaukee Brewers

Unlike Atlanta and Minnesota, the Brewers aren’t leading their division. In fact they’ve slid to the point that they’re hovering just one game above .500 and are now third in the NL Central, though they are just 2 1/2 games behind the leading Cubs. With an elite offense, Milwaukee GM David Stearns may be feeling the pressure to add to his pitching staff.

“I think that in general the Brewers are a team right on the cusp, they are – I’m not going to use the word ‘desperate’ to make an upgrade, but they’ve clearly gotta do something with their rotation if they want to be a credible contender to win the division,” Morosi said.

The thing that could be a hurdle is that the Brewers mainly have promising hitters in their farm system, and the Mariners’ biggest need is pitching prospects.

“I realize certainly that the Mariners have a pretty good position player farm system already with the likes of (Jarred) Kelenic, (Evan) White, (Julio) Rodriguez and (Kyle) Lewis too as long as momentum keeps going in the right direction,” Morosi said.

To hear Morosi’s full segment with Brock and Salk, click here.

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