Seattle Mariners: Is Jack Zduriencik Done Dealing?

Todd Pheifer@tpheiferAnalyst IIIJanuary 14, 2013

SEATTLE - JUNE 02:  Seattle Mariners' Executive Vice President & GM Jack Zduriencik speaks with the media after the team announced the retirement of Ken Griffey Jr. prior to the game against the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field on June 2, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Mariners may be set for the 2013 season.

As much as fans might have been hoping for Justin Upton or Giancarlo Stanton, it seems unlikely that either player will be coming to Seattle.

Greg Johns touched on the failed Justin Upton trade in a recent tweet:

Justin Upton rejects #Mariners trade offer. Zduriencik declines comment, but says he's still looking to add.

— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) January 11, 2013

Apparently, Justin Upton did not find the Pacific Northwest to be an appealing destination. His loss.

Zduriencik may be “looking to add,” but that sounds like something that a general manager is supposed to say.

At this point, options may be dwindling for 2013.

If rumors (via are true, Jack Z was willing to send a package that included one of the top pitching prospects that is on everyone’s lists of the hottest prospects in the baseball.

Specifically, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker or Danny Hultzen might have headed to Arizona, along with other players. That is interesting information, particularly since the Mariners have protected their top pitching prospects to this point.

Are there many options for the Mariners to improve the team at this point? Chances to improve the lineup may be in short supply.

Besides Michael Bourn, there are not many free agents left that would make a major impact on this roster and still be affordable. Despite a number of articles discussing the value of pursuing Bourn, there has been little news to indicate that he could be coming.

Kyle Lohse’s name has also be thrown out of late, but one has to wonder if that is a serious possibility.  

Sure, he had a great year in 2011 (16-3, 2.86 ERA) but do the Mariners really want to commit a multi-year deal to a guy with a 118-109 record and a career ERA of 4.45? Sometimes it seems like these rumors spring up simply because there is a vacancy (Jason Vargas) rather than actual interest from a team.

That leaves trades, which apparently Seattle is pursuing.

Or was.

Currently, trading partners may be limited if the Mariners are looking for a young slugger. Teams are typically not eager to part with those types of commodities.

What about Michael Morse?

Morse would certainly be a nice addition to the lineup, but there are a number of red flags. Do the Mariners really want to give up good prospects for a guy who is about to turn 31 and only hit 18 home runs last season?

Yes, Morse hit 31 home runs in 2011, but Jason Bay hit 36 in 2009. Sometimes the past is just the past. Plus, if many teams are interested in Morse, the Mariners may get outgunned in terms of trade offers.

Jack made his play for Justin Upton, which has been a rumor for months. It didn’t work out. Based on how the Mariners have been built in the last few years, it doesn’t seem like Zduriencik is going to get desperate at this point and trade for a bat just to complete a transaction.

Like it or not, this may be the lineup for 2013. Kendrys Morales represents a definitive upgrade, and if the youngsters keep developing, this could actually be a solid group of hitters.

How well do the Mariners need to hit in 2013? In order for management to show that this rebuilding process is working, the team probably needs to improve their team batting by about 20-30 points this season.

If the Mariners had hit .250 last season instead of .234, they would have been 19th in the league. Not overwhelming, but certainly growth from the prior years.

Again, this brings us back to the topic of deals. Zduriencik may have something else up his sleeve, but it feels like the Mariners really want to see what their top pitching prospects can do, unless they can get put together the right deal.

Apparently, Upton was the right deal. Time to move on.

I could be wrong, but I could see the Mariners being done at this point in terms of roster upgrades.

Barring the promotion of hot minor leaguers that impress in spring training, this may be the lineup for 2013. Let’s see if they can finally start hitting.