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Iwakuma is a top-of-the-rotation talent signed to a bargain contract; he'll make $6.5 million in 2014 and has a $7 million club option for 2015. The 32-year-old hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 29 innings pitched, lowering his ERA to 1.79. He also has 14 walks and 87 strikeouts in 95.1 innings pitched. So why in the world would the Mariners consider trading him?
For starters, they're 28-37 and 11 back in the AL West, and many of the young players (Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak) who were supposed to form the core of the team have been unsuccessful as big leaguers thus far. The veteran talent acquired in the offseason (Jason Bay, Raul Ibañez, Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse, Joe Saunders) have contributed with positive results, but they'll all be free agents after this season.
So it could be back to the drawing board for the M's after the season. Shopping Iwakuma now while he's at peak value could best serve the Mariners in 2014 and beyond. The return could be an elite prospect and one other very good prospect. For a guy that manager Eric Wedge wouldn't even use in mop-up duty early last season, that would be a pretty good investment.