Of course they are, because if there's one thing this team needs more of, it's corner outfielders and first basemen. Kyle Blanks is a monster of a man, standing 6'6'' and weighing 255 lbs, which is on the conservative side. He's right handed, 26 (will be 27 in six weeks), and has murdered the minors but it hasn't translated to major league success. He's currently carrying a .324 wOBA for the Padres, splitting time between left field, right field, and first base. Despite his gargantuan frame, he's regarded as a good athlete, and defensive metrics have his outfield defense as slightly above average during his scattered major league career. He also grades out as a plus baserunner.
Blanks has monster power, but like you might assume, has problems with contact and plate discipline. Blanks has a 29% career strikeout rate, and while that's reduced to 24.4% this season, his walk rate is down to 6.6%.
This one doesn't pass the smell test for a couple of reasons. While the Mariners have a lot of expiring contracts, this team still employs Mike Morse, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales, Michael Saunders, and Justin Smoak. These are all players vying for at-bats at the corner outfield and 1B/DH spots, and while we can safely assume that the Mariners would jettison at least one of them if Blanks comes to town, there's still not room for him to play without the Mariners making a slew of deals. Maybe the Mariners want to stash Blanks in AAA and try to develop him further, but it's a level he's nearly mastered. The Mariners are still looking for a long term corner outfield solution, but given Blanks' age and performances, something doesn't add up.
Additionally, the language is a little weird here. The Mariners sent a top level scout to San Diego, then they're linked to Blanks -- who's injured and not playing -- there's something missing here. The Mariners can't exactly scout somebody who isn't playing. It would make quite a bit more sense if the Mariners were scouting Carlos Quentin, who represents a noticeable upgrade in a corner outfield spot and is still signed through 2015. I'm not trying to dispute Rosenthal's scoop, it's just confusing. Then again, this front office has done more than a few things that raise an eyebrow.
I'd be surprised if anything came of this.