The Seattle Mariners have not had a nice time after the All-Star Break, to put it mildly. Going into the rubber match against Cleveland tonight, Seattle has lost their first three series after the All-Star Break. The slide has left Seattle three games back of Toronto for the Second Wild Card spot which is a change of 5.5 games (Seattle was 2.5 games up for the Second Wild Card at the All-Star Break). The offensive concerns could, in my opinion, no longer be ignored; this team as constructed wasn’t going to land the Second Wild Card. They had to be buyers at the trade deadline. Seattle, linked to high profile chips such as David Price and Matt Kemp leading up to the deadline, settled on three moves acquiring Kendrys Morales, Chris Denorfia, and Austin Jackson. Seattle hopes this jolt of offense will be enough to carry them across the finish line.
Chris Denorfia was acquired from San Diego for two minor leaguers, Abraham Almonte and pitcher Stephen Kohlscheen. Almonte, the surprise Opening Day starter in CF, didn’t stick and was sent down to Tacoma after twenty-seven games. There is a lot to like about the veteran Denorfia. For one, he’s right-handed. The Mariners three starting outfielders before today’s moves all bat left-handed and, adding that to Seattle’s starting IF, the Mariners line-up routinely featured seven left-handed batters. Denorfia can play all three outfield positions giving Lloyd McClendon some options late in games, if need be. His .242 average with San Diego may not have been eye-popping but it is in-line with Seattle’s other OFs (Ackley .253, Chavez .255, Jones .258). A career .275 hitter, a move from San Diego into a playoff race may give a jump to Denorfia’s numbers. This was a low risk move for the front office; Denorfia will be a free agent at season’s end.
The Mariners had been linked to David Price since the beginning of the year, and Seattle was involved in a trade with the Rays, but not what was expected. Seattle became the third team in a deal sending Price to the Tigers, and Seattle landing Tiger OF Austin Jackson. Nick Franklin, last year’s 2B, was sent to the Rays as part of the deal. Jackson is expected to take over the starting role in CF and the leadoff spot in Seattle’s order. For the Mariners, I think this is a nice haul. The team no longer had a spot for Franklin since Robinson Cano is going to be playing second base, hopefully, for the next ten years. The Mariners add another much needed right-handed bat, and they get a player with seasons of playoff experience. Jackson, batting .270 this season, has an OBP of .330 and has scored fifty-two runs. His OBP puts him third behind Mariner starters trailing only Cano and Kyle Seager. His runs scored are the top of any Mariner player. This is the table setter the Mariners line-up needs to score runs. Right now, Seattle is 27th in runs scored, and they have scored two runs or less in each of their last six losses. They had to be buyers, so now we’ll see if it’s enough to put them back in the Wild Card lead.