Rival Executives Reportedly Expect Mariners to Swing Big at Trade Deadline

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Rival executives around baseball reportedly think that this is the year that the Seattle Mariners make a major push at the trade deadline.

Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

 This is the year, rival executives say, that the Seattle Mariners make their boldest move at the trade deadline and acquire offensive help knowing they have a legitimate chance for the World Series with their star-studded starting rotation.

Their most aggressive move in recent years was acquiring ace Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds at the 2022 trade deadline, going 35-24 the rest of the season and ending their 21-year playoff drought.

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso may be the perfect fit.

The Mariners enter play on Monday at 37-30 and in first place in the American League West. They’ll open up a new series with the Chicago White Sox on Monday night at T-Mobile Park.

Let’s examine a few parts of this discussion:

The Mariners currently lead the American League West, which they haven’t won since 2001. That, by nature, gives them a legitimate chance to win the World Series. Big trade deadline moves won’t be used to just snag some last wild card spot, they’d be used to help win a division.

Furthermore, given the injury issues to the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, the M’s have a chance to put their division rivals away. They are 5.0 games up on the Rangers and 6.5 on the Rangers. They haven’t put them away yet, but they have a chance to with a solid trade deadline and second half.

For a front office generally averse to spending money, how far do they want to go to make this opportunity a reality? Are they more inclined to acquire a rental player on an expiring deal, like Alonso, in order to save some money long-term? Or will they look at a more controllable player like Luis Robert Jr., who offers the long-term benefits of being under contract, but would cost more than $60 million in new salary?

The Mariners currently have seven players in the Baseball America Top 100, including six position players. How do the M’s value those players? How do the financial impacts weigh on the decision? Do they give up more prospects to buy down a salary like Robert’s?? Do they give up a prospect who is cheap and under team control to make the team better, or do they value the financial savings afforded by keeping prospects?

The Mariners need offense, we all know that, but how do they find it and how do they reconcile the positional redundancy that will possibly occur? The M’s have Ty France at first base, with prospect Tyler Locklear and Luke Raley capable of playing there. Do they really want to add a first baseman like Alonso or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. given that logjam?

How does France’s heel injury factor into it? How long will he be out? We don’t know. And if you do acquire a first baseman, are you prepared to put France on the bench? Would you move France around the infield to second or third base when necessary? What happens to Mitch Haniger and Mitch Garver at designated hitter if you feel the need to put France there some days?

And in the outfield, where you have Raley, Julio Rodriguez, Haniger, Dylan Moore, Dom Canzone, and Victor Robles…. what happens there if you acquire Robert Jr.?

There are all questions the M’s have to answer, but the fact that rival execs expect the M’s to be active is certainly a good thing for a franchise that has never won a World Series.

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