Trade deadline looms, all quiet

Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

It's July 29th and nothing is happening. What are the Mariners thinking as the final 48 hours approach?

It's quiet. A loose link to Jake Peavy led to hours of debate, a curious link to Kyle Blanks caused great confusion, and more than a few teams have sniffed around Oliver Perez and Kendrys Morales. The Mariners are 50-55, have a 0.8% chance of making the playoffs, and are full of a bunch of expiring contracts. They're quiet, but generally, so is the rest of the league. Matt Garza was dealt, Jake Peavy is going to be dealt, but where are the other moves? There's been as many rumblings about blockbusters are there are Blockbuster franchises left.

Charlie Wilmouth at MLBTR put together an article that suggested that teams are more reluctant to sell now because of the number of suitors for the second wild card. Wilmouth contends that some teams could also be gunshy after seeing the Angels get torched in the Jean Segura deal last season.

Meanwhile, the Mariners have tons of pieces to deal, but don't seem particularly motivated to deal any of them. Mike Morse would have value, but he's missed a ton of time, hasn't been great, and now returns from injury just a few days before the deadline. His trade value is lower than it should ideally be, and the Mariners may feel they could get more if they wait until August to do a post-deadline deal for him. Maybe they want to extend him on a bargain deal, now that his value is reduced. Raul Ibanez has slowed down and will have limited suitors due to his position/defense. Nobody's going to offer a thing for Jason Bay or Endy Chavez when they can probably be had for free in a number of weeks.

Kendrys Morales has to bring back more at least than the value of a declined qualifying offer and/or a chance to extend him, which seems unlikely to me. Oliver Perez has suitors, but the Mariners may be taking their time sorting through offers. Joe Saunders is available, but does the front office seem motivated to essentially punt a start every five days for the rest of the year? The Mariners lack any quality options to fill the back of the rotation, and while the final record doesn't matter to fans, an argument can be made that showing signs of progress in terms of record is important to attracting free agents and retaining players. It isn't unreasonable to speculate that the team could value that more than the lackluster returns they're being offered.

Hisashi Iwakuma is a player who could net a nice return, but dealing him would be a move of a rebuilding franchise, which I believe (and also think the Mariners believe) the team has graduated from. With Iwakuma under control for two more seasons at a reasonable cost, they'd have to be blown away with talent ready to quickly contribute. The rotation needs Iwakuma more than the lineup needs a hitter at any spot.

It becomes evident after some analysis that the Mariners aren't particularly motivated to make any major deals outside of Oliver Perez. As the deadline approaches, I have a feeling he may be the only one moved. There's been a lot written about establishing a culture of winning, and how important it is for young players. Maybe it's true. Maybe it's not. There's too much at play that we can't know, too many individual personalities.

buyer's remorse hurts more than something most may never know about.

Is there importance in maintaining a roster for a season without selling a bunch of players off? That's an issue the Mariners are faced with. Does keeping the gang together suggest to the rookies that this is a group that can win together for a long time? It doesn't really make sense given all of the expiring contracts that will likely be gone next year, but is it a mental aspect among the core to grow confidence through consistency? To send a message that this franchise has moved past the "seller" stage of it's existence, and plans to win today and tomorrow alike?

Maybe it's as simple as waiting for the right offer, and declining those that aren't likely to make a bit of difference going forward. There's wisdom in not trading just to trade, as buyer's remorse hurts more than something most may never know about.

Two days remain until exactly none of these questions will be answered. But hey, fascinating speculation on organizational philosophy!

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