Seattle Mariners: 3 Players Who Could Be Dealt by Opening Day

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIDecember 31, 2012

Seattle Mariners: 3 Players Who Could Be Dealt by Opening Day

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    After missing out on big-name free agents like Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher, the Seattle Mariners have still be looking for ways to improve before the 2013 season commences.

    General manager Jack Zduriencik has already turned to the free-agent market to bring in veteran outfielder Raul Ibanez, and the trade market to deal for DH Kendrys Morales.

    While both of these moves served a purpose in improving the Mariners, it doesn't mean the team is done just yet.

    Filling in the starting rotation and finding another bat or two are still needs that the M's must address this offseason.

    Here's a look at three players who could be heading out of town.

Justin Smoak

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    With the arrival of Kendrys Morales in Seattle, Justin Smoak has been a favorite target of rumor mills.

    Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun mentions that the Baltimore Orioles could have interest in the 26-year-old first baseman.

    With Smoak possessing an incredible amount of potential, and a revamped swing that seemed to be working for him at the end of the 2012 season, he could be a popular target for opposing GMs.

Franklin Gutierrez

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    Franklin Gutierrez could also be on his way out of Seattle this offseason.

    With the Seattle Mariners being one of the teams that needs free agent Michael Bourn, and possibly willing to pay the price to get him, there won't be as much of a need for Gutierrez in center field.

    Should Seattle manage to sign the 30-year-old speedster, they'll also probably look to get rid of Gutierrez's $7 million salary in 2013 and also rid themselves of the $500,000 buyout that they would have to pay if they elected not to exercise his option in 2014.

Prospects

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    If Seattle is looking to bolster its current team without losing too much major league-ready talent in a trade, trading some of their top prospects is an obvious route to take.

    Names like Taijuan Walker, Mike Zunino, Danny Hultzen, Nick Franklin and James Paxton would surely go a long way in landing a big name like Giancarlo Stanton or Justin Upton.

    While the Mariners will certainly be opposed to trading some of those names, even two of them in a package could influence a team to deal one of their big bats.