5 Seattle Mariners Prospects Who Should Be Used as Trade Bait

Madison Guernsey@GUERNS_M_DContributor IIIMay 23, 2012

5 Seattle Mariners Prospects Who Should Be Used as Trade Bait

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    By now, it's no secret that the Texas Rangers will likely be the team to win the American League West this season. But the Seattle Mariners sit just 4.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild-card spot, and with plenty of games left to be played and moves to be made, the M's can still be contenders.

    Seattle possesses one of the deepest and most talented farm systems in baseball. In a few years, names like Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Nick Franklin will be in the big leagues and making themselves known to baseball fans everywhere.

    Trading away prospects for veterans is always a risky move for general managers, as, oftentimes, the young players traded away turn out better than expected (i.e. Adam Jones, Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera).

    With a little over two months until the July 31 trade deadline, Jack Zduriencik needs to assess the minor league teams and figure out who will have value on the trade market in terms of acquiring a player who can help Seattle make the postseason.

    Here are five prospects the Mariners should use as trade bait.

Chance Ruffin, RHP

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    Teams are always in the market for relief pitchers. Righty Chance Ruffin already has 15 big league appearances under his belt, and he put up some impressive numbers.

    In 17.2 innings last season, Ruffin struck out 18 batters while walking just nine.

    And he isn't a player who needs a couple years of grooming. At 23, he can easily contribute out of the bullpen right away for many teams.

Carlos Triunfel, SS

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    Seattle's infield of the future appears to be pretty much set. With Kyle Seager showing vast improvements to his game this season, he—along with Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and presumably Nick Franklin, with Alex Liddi getting in the mix as well—should make a solid infield for years to come.

    Triunfel isn't as green as his age would seem to indicate. The Dominican-born shortstop is just 22, but he has already accumulated over 500 games and just under 2,000 at-bats in the minor leagues.

    Shortstops are the most coveted position players in the game, and Triunfel should spark interest around the league.  

Yoervis Medina, RHP

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    Another right-handed pitcher, 23-year-old Yoervis Medina has appeared in over 100 games and has thrown 443.2 innings in the minors as a starter, reliever and closer.

    Unlike Ruffin, Medina might need a year or two to find a role that best suits him, but he should be attractive enough to entice other GMs around baseball.  

Vincent Catricala, 3B/OF

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    While Vincent Catricala can clearly hit, the Mariners already have Alex Liddi.

    Catricala was originally a third baseman, but he has also seen time at first and in the outfield, and appears to replicate current M's third baseman/outfielder Liddi.

    The 23-year-old right-handed hitting Catricala is ranked fifth best among Seattle's prospects and has a lifetime batting average of .309 in the minors, with 51 home runs through 367 games. 

Chih-Hsien Chiang, Outfield

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    Chih-Hsien Chiang, a 24-year-old outfielder from Taiwan, has played in nearly 600 minor league games and is ready to make his big league debut. 

    A rebuilding team would love to acquire Chiang, as he's put up solid numbers over the past seven seasons at the minor league level. He can get some playing time in September during the roster expansions and fight for a spot on a roster next season.

    The Mariners carry a bevy of outfield prospects, and Chiang would likely fit very well. But if July comes around and there's a chance to make a playoff push, they could get someone to propel them to the next level.