Last week, Colin and Logan both made arguments as to why the Mariners should either stand pat or sell, sell, sell. If today's rumors are any indication of what the Mariners actually intend to do with the trade deadline one week away, it seems they might be siding with Colin.
teams that have checked with #mariners lately say they're not selling at all right now. cant really blame 'em.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 24, 2013
It's hard to blame the front office for acting this way when others call. This might mean something, and it might not mean anything at all. The team surely doesn't want to have their players reading that they might be traded in the middle of their best stretch of the season, and this front office has long been experts in posturing/being tight-lipped.
If the team does decide to hold, can you really blame them? Their biggest trade piece is Kendrys Morales, who has a limited market due to his position and scarcity of teams that need a hitter like him, and they can slap him with a qualifying offer if he decides to walk. Mike Morse is still crawling back from injury, and Joe Saunders is holding together a shaky back end of the rotation while you can say the same for Oliver Perez in the bullpen.
It would probably behoove the Mariners to deal at least Perez, but saying they don't intend to sell does them nothing but good at this point, whether they mean it or not. And while the team could always use an influx of extra talent, it's unlikely they're going to get any major pieces in exchange for their trading chips. Does Jack Zduriencik want to risk losing his job by making this team immediately worse?
There's two things at play here that lead to this "hold" motivation. The first is unquantifiable, and some people will buy into it while others won't. Establishing a culture of winning, getting the young players to believe in themselves and believe that the team they've been placed on can be a franchise other than what it has been for the past decade plus. I've long been way of the value of clubhouse chemistry and player emotion because of the varying personalities and other unknown factors that go into it, but I will subscribe to the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" school of thought, which is hard to deny at this moment.
The other motivation at play is the job security of Jack Zduriencik. The team is showing major improvement right now, but if he trades Saunders or Perez, this team could lose a few more games in the second half. Depending on who replaces them (Beavan, Noesi), it could blow up. Does he hold onto his job if the team only wins 73 games this season? We have no idea what his status is with the upper brass, but rest assured there is at least some incentive to show improvement in the W/L column to Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln, one way or another. Everything Z has done this year has pointed to urgency of immediate improvement (Zunino promotion), and now that he has achieved said improvement, will he bail on it after just a few weeks of everything clicking?
I'm skeptical. I do think the Mariners will mostly hold, and not because they are telling other teams they're going to do so. It's where the arrow points after reading the signs. It may not be the most logical thing and it may not be in the club's best long term interest, but things are good right now. I like good things. They don't last forever, but it feels like for the first time in years, there's a chance this group may actually make it last.