I see the 2013 season going one of two ways for the Seattle Mariners.
They could resurrect their offense with the help of Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales and company, while Felix Hernandez continues to dominate and the pitching staff is once again solid, leading the M's to a winning season and in the hunt for a playoff berth,
the offense could continue to sputter, long-term injuries hamper the pitching staff and Seattle loses 85 games en route to a fourth-place finish.
I'm hoping, and also betting, on the former. Needless to say, either way trades will be made this summer either to rebuild or make a playoff push.
With King Felix finalizing his mega-extension, it appears the trade rumors will finally simmer, although I don't expect other teams to stop inquiring about him.
Keeping both aforementioned scenarios in mind, here are some Mariners who could be traded this season.
Seattle can potentially get a lot in return for Franklin Gutierrez. He's a Gold Glove-winning center fielder, solid hitter and all-around solid player. When healthy, he's one of the best defensive outfielders in the bigs.
Injuries have kept "Guti" off the field for 192 games over the past two seasons. Even if he stays healthy this season, he very well may never bounce back to the way he was.
His contract expires after next season, and if he's being shopped you can bet teams will make offers. If he struggles this season, trading him would make room in a crowded outfield for the likes of Eric Thames and Casper Wells, both of whom were all but banished from the outfield upon the arrivals of Morse and Raul Ibanez (and kind of Jason Bay?).
Obviously I hope Franklin bounces back and can be on the field for this season and years to come, but the chance of players getting re-injured is very high.
Brendan Ryan is bad offensively. Period.
Defensively, however, he was one of the top shortstops in the majors last season and is tough to leave out of the lineup purely for his defensive abilities.
His contract expires this year, which could interest contending teams looking for an upgrade at short, and parting ways with Ryan would open the doors wide open for Nick Franklin, Carlos Triunfel, Stefen Romero and Brad Miller.
Nick Franklin, James Paxton and Carter Capps could be a package of top prospects or individual prospects traded this season if the M's look to make a playoff push.
Franklin and Paxton are ranked fourth and fifth among Mariners' prospects, respectively according to the official Mariners website. Both are expected to be in contention for a roster spot come Opening Day, and Capps pitched well in 18 appearances last season.
To package the three of these guys together would be extreme. I could see them sending the trio to Miami for Giancarlo Stanton, but other than that not many trade situations warrant sending these three at once.
But, one or two of them could be packaged with a Franklin Gutierrez or Brendan Ryan for other prospects or an immediate impact player.
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