For 2013, the Seattle Mariners find themselves almost to the midway point. The key in the offseason was to address the offense, which they did and has paid dividends. The Mariners have gotten nice offensive boosts from Michael Morse, Raul Ibanez, and Kendrys Morales. However, record wise, the Mariners are a little below what they probably hoped for at the beginning of the season. Seattle stands at 33-43, 10.5 games out of first place in the A.L. West and 9.5 games out of the Wild Card. In reality, the lead are even bigger than these numbers since to get first place the Mariners would have to win their next eleven and the teams ahead of them would have to lose their next eleven. If the playoffs are a stretch, what are we going to see before the trade deadline for Seattle?
Free Agents. Who is going to be a free agent after this season? The following players will hit free agency after this season is over: Michael Morse, Joe Saunders, Kendrys Morales, Brendan Ryan, Raul Ibanez, Oliver Perez, and Jason Bay. That is a big chunk of the offense that could be walking out the door. Ibanez is 41, but Raul still leads the team this season in HR (15) and RBI (39). If he doesn’t retire, I wouldn’t be against another one-year deal seeing as how he is still contributing. Morales is batting .272 with 8 HR and 38 RBI, and Morse is batting .251 with 11 HR and 23 RBI. These are offensive numbers we haven’t seen from Mariner players in a long while. Hopefully, the team plans to bring them both back.
Dealing? I think there would be little interest in Jason Bay (.222, 8 HR, 17 RBI), so that would leave Brendan Ryan and Oliver Perez as possibilities to move. Ryan hasn’t found his stroke in Seattle. He’s batting .202 this season, and he batted .194 the season before that. However, he is a career .240 batter, and he would be a nice defensive pick-up for a team making a playoff push. Despite his offensive woes, Ryan has been a tremendous asset in the field for the Mariners. The Mariners could add some offensive prospects, and I would call back up Dustin Ackley to play 2B and move Nick Franklin to SS. Perez’s stock might be at all-time high. The former starter has excelled out of the bullpen this season. In twenty-nine outings, Perez has a 1.05 ERA and has struck out thirty-six batters. A left-hander out of the pen having such a strong season would surely draw notice from a contender.
Saunders? The biggest move that might be made would be the trading of Joe Saunders. Personally, I don’t think Seattle should move Saunders. He has shown great proficiency in Safeco Field and could anchor the No. 3 spot in the rotation allowing the Mariners to slowly move up prospects to try at 4 and 5 if Seattle keeps him past this season. However, he is a free agent at the end of the season, and playoff teams are always in the market for a veteran starter. Saunders is currently 5-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 92.1 IP for Seattle. The other thing that may tempt the Seattle front office to move Saunders is that he is going to bring back the biggest haul. If Saunders isn’t in Seattle’s future plans, they should move him now instead of letting him leave via free agency and getting nothing for him.