All of the trades thus far have been executed by current GM Jack Zduriencik, and the all of the rest will follow suit. What does that say about the guy before Jack Z in this decade? What's his name? Bill something?
There was also Pat Gillick, but he saved his acquisition prowess for the Phillies. No bitterness here though; I'm a huge fan of Jack Z.
On the day of the trade deadline last season, July 31, 2011, the Mariners were part of a three-team deal that involved them sending pitchers Erik Bedard and Josh Fields to the Boston Red Sox.
They paid high for Bedard back in 2008, hoping he would replicate his 2007 stats with the Baltimore Orioles. It's enough to say that they were sorely disappointed by what they got out of him: just 15 starts in 2008 and 2009 and zilch in 2010.
That being said, many still considered him a talented starter, so the Mariners were able to extract considerable value out of him in this trade.
That value being two young, power prospects: Chih-Hsien Chiang from the Red Sox and Trayvon Robinson from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Mariners also gave up minor league pitcher Josh Fields in the deal, but he was not labeled as an important part of the team's future.
Robinson played 44 games for the Mariners in left and center field after he came up from LA. His -0.2 offensive WAR and -1.1 defensive WAR added up to a disheartening -1.3 overall WAR, but that was his first major league experience, so there's reason to believe he'll improve.
There is a lot of competition for the major league outfield spots right now, and Robinson is in the thick of it, but Spring Training will be paramount in the final decision. Wedge will likely opt for experience to begin with (I would guess Ichiro, Gutierrez and Carp), but there will undoubtedly be a cache of backup outfielders on the 25-man roster as contingency.
It's very unlikely that Chiang will make the major league roster in April since he's yet to play Triple-A, but a midseason call-up like what we saw with Ackley/Carp is a possibility, depending upon how the outfield performs and how the season is going.
If Ichiro shows no improvement from last year (even with a potential move to third in the order), he could lose the everyday starter spot. And if Gutierrez looks like he has the past couple of years, he will also lose the everyday privilege—that is, if his stomach doesn't sideline him.
There are still a few more people in line ahead of Chiang, but he's on the rise, and his power bat will look pretty nice if the Mariners remain last in run production for the first half of the year.
Ultimately, this trade brought in two young hitters with the potential to start in the next few years and dumped the detriment that Erik Bedard had become. Overall, a smart play by Jack Z.