The Mariners didn’t add several veteran hitters to their lineup this offseason to ensure a fourth-place finish over the Astros. They expect to compete in a very tough AL West, and, at the very least, they have a much-improved ballclub with plenty of talent on the way.
The Rangers, despite a 6-2 start, aren’t as strong on paper as they’ve been in the past. The Angels, who don’t have a rotation that scares opponents in the first place, have lost No. 1 starter Jered Weaver for four to six weeks with a fractured left elbow.
The A’s have won six in a row and were just about the best team in baseball during the second half of 2012, but they don’t appear to be head and shoulders above the M’s in overall talent.
In other words, the division is there for the taking. Adding one of the top young power hitters in the game could certainly give the Mariners a more realistic chance to be there at the end of the season.
They’d have to give up a ton, but the M‘s are one of the few teams in baseball that can put together a package of prospects to entice the Marlins without cleaning out the farm system.
And why would the Marlins consider trading their best player? They’ve already made the most surprising move of the year by giving an Opening Day roster spot to top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez, who is making the jump from High-A. I wouldn’t be surprised by anything the Marlins do.
The fact that they have some outfield talent on the way in Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick could make a Stanton trade more likely. Adding four of the Mariners’ best prospects, three of which would be ready to help Fernandez and Yelich in 2014, could make it an easier sell to the fanbase as they get beat up on a daily basis this season.
Here’s my trade proposal:
OF Giancarlo Stanton
C Mike Zunino
2B/SS Nick Franklin
RHP Taijuan Walker
LHP Luiz Gohara
It would take one of the top catching prospects in baseball, Zunino, and one of the top pitching prospects in Walker. Franklin, a better fit as a second baseman, is blocked by Dustin Ackley, so he probably wouldn’t be a huge loss. Gohara has a huge ceiling, but he’s only 16 and several years away from the majors.
The Mariners’ new “go-to” lineup could look something like this:
- CF Michael Saunders/Franklin Gutierrez
- 3B Kyle Seager
- DH Kendrys Morales
- LF Michael Morse
- RF Giancarlo Stanton
- 1B Justin Smoak
- C Jesus Montero
- 2B Dustin Ackley
- SS Brendan Ryan