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Trade Deadline

With one week left until the end of the non-waiver trade deadline, the Mariners are going to have to have put on the dreaded seller's cap and there are several players on the Mariners roster who could be wearing a different uniform come August 1st. Bavasi is seeking a return similar to what the team received last season for Freddy Garcia, with starting pitching being the primary focus.

A list of players who have drawn interest around the league and who could possibly be dealt in the next week is listed below.

Eddie Guardado
Possible Destination(s) - Boston, New York, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Cubs, White Sox and Braves

I've made my stance about keeping or trading Eddie pretty well known over the past month and a half and I still believe that the M's need to trade him. For the Mariners, Eddie is their most marketable player, a player whose value will probably never be any higher. His shoulder is still a major concern and the possibility exists that his rotator cuff tear could get worse. Eddie's contract situation for 2006 muddles the situation further. The Mariners hold a team option for $7 million next season, plus an additional $1 million bonus since Eddie will be the team's closer. If the Mariners decline to exercise their option (which would be highly unlikely), Eddie would certainly decline his player option and try to cash in on his amazing season in the free agent market. All this results in an $8 million question: Should a team with a 'chance' of competing in 2006 pay $8 million to a 35 year old closer with a torn rotator cuff who has dominated this season?

The Red Sox make the most sense as a likely landing spot for Eddie, as they are currently using Curt Schilling to close games while Keith Foulke is on the mend. If Foulke is able to return to form, Guardado could slide into a set-up role or share the closing duties. The Red Sox have the type starting pitching prospects the Mariners need and would seek in return. Any package would most likely include at least one of the following; Anibal Sanchez, Jon Lester and Jon Papelbon.

The Braves are probably the dark horse in this group, as they are currently using Chris Reitsma as their closer. While Reitsma has been surprisingly effective in that role, they may seek a more proven closer for their push toward the playoffs. The Braves have some terrific offensive prospects, but may be reluctant to part with some of the prospects from their thin pitching corps.

The White Sox emerged as a possible landing spot over the weekend, with the Chicago Sun Times suggesting that the White Sox should look at help in the bullpen first, rotation second.

Current August 1st Prediction - Mariner uniform. Seattle wants someone to overpay, but no one is going to jump at an offer higher than fair market value.

Jamie Moyer
Possible Destination(s) - New York (AL), Boston, Baltimore

The interest in Moyer figures to climb as teams who miss out on A.J. Burnett look elsewhere to fill a hole in their rotation. Moyer still has some left in his tank and could prove to be a useful addition to the backend of a rotation.

The Yankees are known to have a fetish for older players and Moyer certainly fits the bill. What the Yankees do in the next week will be dependent on the progress of Jaret Wright and Chien-Ming Wang and if Kevin Brown can rebound.

Boston is in the market for another starter and as mentioned above, have the pitching prospects that would interest the Mariners. I doubt the Red Sox would part with any of their top three prospects for Moyer, but might be enticed by a package trade with a bullpen arm.

Baltimore might be the team that makes the most sense. After dancing with the Marlins for a couple weeks regarding A.J. Burnett, the Orioles have decided to look elsewhere for pitching help. They are currently awaiting a decision from Phil Nevin and if he agrees to join the Orioles, they will have a hole to fill in their rotation and would have to trade to fill the spot. They have solid depth in the minors (although I wouldn't hold your breath for Hayden Penn) and could possibly part with Jorge Julio as a part of a package (who could fill the void at closer if the team decides to trade Eddie).  

Current August 1st Prediction - The team will approach Moyer about a trade sometime this week, alhough odds are he will decline and stay in Seattle for the rest of the year. The thought of getting a ring might persuade him to accept a trade and then return in the off-season for one more tour of duty with Seattle.  

Randy Winn
Possible Destination(s) - New York (AL), Los Angeles, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks

If Randy Winn isn't playing elsewhere on August 1st, I'll be shocked. While Winn isn't a difference maker, he is a terrific companion piece for a ball club and should draw some serious interest over the next week.

The Yankees have shown the most interest in Winn over the past month and desperately need a CF. They have expressed some concern over whether or not Winn can play CF, although those concerns may be nothing more than a negotiation tactic. The Yankees farm system has long been accused of being thin and depleted which is not true. While they may not be loaded with blue-chip prospects, they have plenty of talent that they could use to acquire Winn. Eric Duncan and Philip Hughes are obviously their top minor leaguers, although don't count on Bavasi prying either one away from the Yankees for Winn. The Yankees were also thought to be strongly considering Gary Matthews, but with Lance Nix out for the season with a torn labrum, Matthews is less likely to be dealt. And don't buy into the Winn for Pavano rumors. Finnigan is continuing his natural Finnigan reporting style, guessing.

The Dodgers believe that they are still in the race in the NL West and are considering adding a few players to make a playoff push. They will be without J.D. Drew for another 4-6 weeks and may be looking to add another OF. They have some solid minor league depth (that Bavasi is familiar with) and might be willing to move a player or two for Winn. The Cardinals are another team who has been struggling with injuries in their outfield and Randy Winn's versatility could be valuable.  

The Diamondbacks are my current dark horse pick, if they decide to make a run at the division. Jose Cruz has been battling back issues all season and has been extremely ineffective even when he is playing. They have been using Luis Terrero and my favorite player, Quinton McCracken in CF. The DBacks also are in need of some bullpen help, particularly the left handed version, so a package deal might intrigue them.

Current August 1st Prediction - Randy Winn will be traded, most likely to the Yankees, possibly in a package deal with one of the M's bullpen arms. If Bavasi is somehow able to acquire Philip Hughes or Eric Duncan, he deserves a medal.

Raul Ibanez
Possible Destination(s) - New York (NL), Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles

Raul Ibanez might be the Mariner drawing the most outside of Eddie Guardado. When Ibanez signed, Mariner fans let out a collective sigh of disgust, and we were all wrong. Ibanez has been one of the best players on the Mariners the last two seasons and is signed to a now reasonable $4.25 million next season. As the only left handed power bat in the line-up, Bavasi has expressed a reluctance to trade his only left handed power bat.

The Cards and Dodgers have been plagued by outfield injuries this season and could be searching for some stability. The Braves had to call up prospects Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson to help fill in their outfield void. The Cubs have had a rotating door in left field and if they are committed to making a run, they may be looking for another bat.

Current August 1st Prediction - Seattle uniform although I wouldn't be shocked to see him traded. If a team makes a strong offer, it will be hard for the Mariners to say no.

Ron Villone
Possible Destination(s) - New York (AL), Boston, Atlanta, Washington, St. Louis, Chicago, New York (NL), Arizona

Villone is having a terrific season and he is left handed! At the deadline last season the team elected to hold on to Villone and then rewarded him with a two year contract this off-season. This year, the team should cash in on his performance and see if the M's can't add a prospect or two for his services.

There are a number of play-off teams who could possibly be interested in adding another bullpen arm, particularly one of the left handed variety. It all comes down to how much Bavasi asks in return. With George Sherrill, Rafael Soriano and Scott Atchinson on the way back, the front office needs to clear some spots in the bullpen.

Current August 1st Prediction - Mariner uniform as of right now, although he could easily be packaged with another player to maximize the return.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Possible Destination(s) - New York (AL), Boston, Atlanta, Washington, St. Louis, Chicago, New York (NL), Arizona

Teams searching for bullpen help may be desperate enough to trade for Shiggy, but with his $3.1 million option kicking in after he pitches in 58 games, teams might be a little wary of trading for him. However, he has only pitched in 28 games this year, so he would have to be worked pretty hard for the last two months to reach 58 games.

The market figures to be pretty small for Shiggy, if a market even exists. If the Mariners will assume the majority of his contract, someone might trade a mid-level prospect for Shiggy.

Current August 1st Prediction - Mariner uniform.

Jeff Nelson
Possible Destination(s) - New York (AL), Boston, Atlanta, Washington, St. Louis, Chicago, New York (NL), Arizona

Another one of the bullpen arms who is having a pretty good year. While Nelson isn't the same pitcher he was a few years ago, his slider still has some bite left on it and he has held right handed batters in check all year (.187/.295/.213).

The usual suspects appear on this list again as a possible destination, but hemight not be moved until sometime in August. Don't expect a lot in return, but they could get something useful.  

Current August 1st Prediction - Different uniform, possibly Los Angeles or St. Louis.

This thread will be update regularly as the trade deadline nears and more news develops. I know this is an oft used cliché, but this trade deadline, if navigated correctly, could have a serious impact on the M's future.