It’s now July 6th and the Mariners are still nine games over .500. As it stands, the Mariners have a 53.8% chance of winning the division or making a wildcard spot, according to FanGraphs. They’re expected to finish the season with roughly 86 wins and play .510 baseball throughout the rest of the long season. The M’s are slowly but surely getting reinforcements in the form of Michael Saunders, Corey Hart, Taijuan Walker, Logan Morrison, and a revitalized duo of Brad Miller and Brandon Maurer. James Paxton will partake in a simulated game on Monday and will hopefully be sent off on a rehab assignment while the Mariners are relaxing during the All-Star break.
Stefen Romero and Cole Gillespie are finally gone and Lucas Luetge is still somehow a member of the organization. Since May 29th, Brad Miller has been on a tear (.286/.343/.469) and owns a .353 wOBA and 125 wRC+. Since his callup, Logan Morrison has hit a respectable .269/.326/.474 while hitting a .345 woBA and 119 wRC+ and lifting his season total to almost 100 wRC+ (also known as league average). Although it’s been under a month, LoMo has provided a steady bat and solid defense at first base, hopefully meaning the end of Justin Smoak. I’m somewhat of a LoMo fan boy at this point, but it’s hard not to be when he’s getting a base knock in almost every game he’s played. After my years of watching Casey Kotchman, Mike Carp, Justin Smoak, Richie Sexson, and Russell Branyan (who was extremely fun to watch) I will settle for just about anything. (Plus he’s one of few, if any, players that can see Fernando Rodney’s fabled arrows.)
On the 4th I caught wind of the Athletics trading top prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney (along with Dan Straily and a player to be named later) for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel and immediately thought “we’re fucked.” The Angels followed up the A’s blockbuster trade by acquiring Joe Thatcher to bolster their ‘pen and added Tony Campana for whatever reason. Campana is nothing more than a fifth outfielder and Thatcher is enjoying a solid year. Whatever. The Angels gave up Zach Borenstein, who was the Angels’ minor league player of the year last season, and Joey Krehbiel. So are we fucked, as I previously thought? Meh. I don’t think so.
Our chances of winning the division were looking bleak at best, and now they seem to be extinct. With that out of the way, we set our sights on the wild cards spots. Our competition becomes the Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore, Toronto, New York, and Kansas City. Not the most imposing teams, but they are teams with a similar crop of talent and represent our competition for the next couple months.
We’re in a weird spot. We can’t sell the farm for “win now” players, but we also don’t want to stand pat and watch other contending teams bolster their rosters and have a leg up on us. I was formerly a fan of trading for one of Samardzija or Hammel, but that idea flew out the window yesterday. Pitching isn’t a problem at the moment, but an Elias shut down, Walker and/or Paxton, and Chris Young implosion could ruin this season. Acquiring another starter could alleviate such issues. Elsewhere, we could add a corner outfield bat, or a DH. If Corey Hart would be healthy and contribute and Dustin Ackley wouldn’t shit on my hopes and dreams of him being an above average baseball player, this wouldn’t be an issue. Run-on sentence, yeah whatever. We could dangle a bevy of prospects like Nick Franklin, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, and we also have an excess of relievers. Last year, we held onto Oliver Perez and got nothing for him at the deadline. We then went on to let him sign with another team and fail to gain any value from him. Hopefully we’ve learned from that.
The trade market for bats is looking extremely unimpressive. We continue to be linked to Dayan Viciedo and you just have to cross your fingers and hope we don’t trade Maurer straight across for him. Viciedo hits dingers, and that’s about it. He has bad plate discipline, plays subpar defense, doesn’t get on base, and is nicknamed ‘The Tank’ for obvious reasons. If we really want a player like Dayan Viciedo that badly, then I would much rather sign newly DFA’d Alfonso Soriano once he clears waivers. Just like Viciedo, he hits dingers (34 as recent as 2013) and plays just as bad in the field. That being said, I’m crossing my fingers that we aren’t actually in pursuit in this type of player. I expect us to seek a starting pitcher around the deadline, quite possibly a higher end player like David Price. Seattle is notorious for being tight-lipped, so trades like the Ichiro trade or Jesus Montero trade always seem to come out of nowhere. This next month is going to be a pivotal part of our playoff hopes. We cannot afford to watch other teams get stronger while we sit around with our thumbs in our asses.