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Like-minded leaders reside in Seattle and Philadelphia, making this potential swap realistic and head-scratching at the same time.
Since the end of the 2013 season, the Seattle Mariners have morphed from rebuilding project to win-now team. By signing Robinson Cano to a $240 million deal and adding a pair of players, Corey Hart and Logan Morrison, capable of playing first base, outfield or designated hitter, the organization has signaled a strong need to compete in 2014.
With that in mind, Seattle isn't likely to stop now. Although Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik sounds unwilling to move Taijuan Walker in a deal for left-handed ace David Price, it's hard to imagine the win-now M's balking at a deal for a game-changing pitcher later this offseason.
If the Tampa Bay Rays are willing to accept Walker and Mariners shortstop Brad Miller, Seattle fans would have a reason to believe contention is possible in 2014. Subsequently, a need for a veteran shortstop would emerge.
Rollins, despite his advanced age, can handle the position and would bring postseason experience to a franchise that hasn't played in October since 2001.
Although Justin Smoak, the switch-hitting first baseman, would be blocked by Ryan Howard in Philadelphia, it's a much better place to thrive than in Seattle. After Hart and Morrison arrive, Smoak's chances to succeed with the Mariners are all but over.
In Philadelphia, he could become the primary backup to the oft-injured Howard. Furthermore, he would represent an intriguing platoon partner for the one-dimensional Howard.
The difference in Ryan Howard when facing a right-handed pitcher (.998 OPS) compared to a left-handed pitcher (.728 OPS) is night and day. By inserting Smoak in against southpaws, the Phillies could use the best part of his game (.839 OPS against left-handed pitching in 2013) to their advantage.
Seattle's aggressiveness may result in Brad Millers' departure. If it does, Rollins for Smoak benefits both parties.