When the Seattle Mariners defeated the Tigers on the first day of June, they pulled themselves to a respectable 28-28. Since then, the schedule has gotten a bit easier, when looking at opponent’s records, and the Mariners exploded. Seattle now stands at 49-41, and those magic words that Mariners fans have longed to hear right now are true: if the season ended today, Seattle would be in the playoffs. With the trade deadline looming at the end of this month, should Seattle make a move to strengthen the roster for a playoff run?
The Oakland A’s, who hold an eight game lead on Seattle in the A.L. West, has already made the first move. The Cubs, who have decided again this year they don’t need to field a competitive ballclub, sent two frontline pitchers, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, for Dan Straily, two prospects, and a player to be named later.
So, thanks to Theo Epstein, being a Cub fan is now even more painful than normal. The way Oakland is currently playing, catching them for the A.L. West seems a bit of a stretch outside of the A’s struggling and the Mariners catching on fire. But, if the Mariners should see the A’s in the playoffs? Seattle needs to add another bat to their line-up.
It’s a story I’ve written before, and that Mariners fans have seen before. In their last five games, though, Seattle has scored 1, 3, 0, 2 and 0. The team batting average is 25th in MLB, and the team OBP is 28th. In regards to those numbers, it looks like Seattle has overachieved.
Of course, the biggest rumor that has resurfaced is not offensive help, but the same talks we saw in the offseason, a possible trade for David Price. Price is an excellent pitcher, and, if the Mariners remain in playoff contention, no team wants to face Hernandez-Price-Iwakuma in a five-game series.
On the offensive side, the two biggest bats I’ve heard Seattle linked to are Dayan Viciedo and Billy Butler. Viciedo, an OF for the Chicago White Sox, would give the Mariners instant pop in their line-up. This season in 87 games Viciedo is batting .252 with 11 HR and 34 RBI.
Butler of the Kansas City Royals is batting .269 this season, but he is a lifetime .296 batter. The price tag on Butler may be more than what the Mariners are willing to pay, and Kansas City would probably hold onto Butler if they remain in playoff contention or , at the least, not send him to a team they are chasing like Seattle.
It’s always a difficult judgment on whether to make a move or not. Sometimes, you may think you are one player away when it turns out that is not the case. Any Mariners fan remembers trading for Erik Bedard with the Orioles sending over two young players, Adam Jones and Chris Tillman. Jones and Tillman have both shined for Baltimore, where Bedard went 15-14 in parts of three seasons in Seattle. Still, right now, it’s worth the risk. The A’s have set the tone in the American League. Now, it’s time for the Mariners to keep pace.