The Mariners started off the 2009 red-hot and gave us all a glimmer of false playoff hope when they were a top the AL West at one point with a 15-10 record. We seemed to forget this was a team that was supposed to be in a full-blown rebuilding mode.
Reality has begun to sink in with the team sitting at a sub .500 record (24-27). The Mariners are a rebuilding team, which is not a bad thing. After the Bavasi era, it had to be done. He destroyed this franchise, and the fact they are even where they are today is a gigantic step in the right direction.
We have already seen GM Jack Zdurencik's moves pay huge dividends.
For $1.3 million, we plucked what could be the best FA signing of 2009 with my favorite new Mariner, 1B Russell Branyan. Unfortunately his success could lead to him being traded, which I will get to later.
Grabbing CP David Aardsma for minor league pitcher Fabian Washington was an absolute steal. He has a 1.14 ERA and has turned into one of the finest relievers in all of baseball. Of course, I write these good things about him after he blows it in the ninth.
JZ simply stole the show with the JJ Putz trade. The “throw in” of the deal Jason Vargas has 1.85 ERA and has been the best part of the trade.
Meanwhile, Putz has a 3.21 ERA, and RP Sean Green has a 6.21 ERA, and between them they are a combined 1-5.
It has been a stark contrast compared to the give-a-ways Mariners are used too when it came to Bavasi trades.
With JZ’s trades already looking bright, lets take a look at some of the Mariners most desirable trade chips.
Now, as my favorite critic Lars has pointed out the unrealistic nature of the trades what I am attempting to do is show more of the positions the Mariners need a what a straight across value would be. Some prospects are well known like C Lou Marson, and for others it would be difficult to figure out what exact package of prospects would be dealt.
Erik Bedard- SP
We will never be able to recoup what we gave away to the Orioles for him. Adam Jones is going to be a perennial all-star and George Sherrill already is an All-Star. But we can at least do some damage control. Bedard is still a top of the line left-handed pitcher and should garner a nice combination of quality MLB players and top prospects. He will not stay in Seattle beyond 2009 and we should try and get what we can for him.
Possible Trade- Minnesota Twins for C Joe Mauer or 1B Justin Mornaeu
Jarrod Washburn- SP
He is a savvy veteran player whose tenure in Seattle has been diminished due to his lack of run support. He is much better then his numbers and his 3-3 record and 3.45 ERA will garner a good return even with his $10.35 million salary number. It appears as though the Mariners made a smart move not dealing him last year to the Minnesota Twins
Possible Trade- Boston Red Sox for SS Julio Lugo
Miguel Bautista- RP
He has a decent 3.75 ERA and could yield a decent prospect or two in return. He could be a contributor to either the starting rotation or the bullpen whenever he would wind up.
Possible Trade- Philadelphia Philles for Shane Victoriono or a pair of prospects with someone like C Lou Marson.
Adrian Beltre- 3B
His abhorring offense this season has not helped his trade value, but he is beginning to pick things up. He is a stud defensively and if he can find a way to spark his offense the Mariners could yield a good package in return for the gold glover.
Possible Trade- St Louis Cardinals for Ryan Ludwick (That would be great)
Russell Branyan- 1B
I would hate to see him go but it has become a reality he may be too good, too expensive to keep for this mediocre team. Trading him would be a mistake but we would get a good return for the slugging 1B.
Possible Trade- Cleveland Indians for C Victor Martinez
Please Dump Them
Yuniesky Betancourt- SS
The rumors of possibly shedding him excited me. I would not fathom being able to trade him but here he makes the list. A rumored of a swap for another underwhelming SS, Jack Wilson, has already been floating around. Wilson would represent the same anemic offensive output but would a huge defensive upgrade. The Pirates would have to eat some salary, the key for them is to get younger as Wilson in 31, and Betancourt is 27.
Carlos Silva- SP
If they can find anyway to dump him, even if it is for a dozen wooden bats, do it. His bloated contract is surrounded by all those L’s and only four W’s. He is a stain from the Bavasi era that needs some Oxy Clean.
Feel free to sound off, Lars, this is your cue.