I am obsessed with transactions that never happened. That's probably a poor choice of words because the dictionary definition of "obsessed" is pretty strong. Transactions that never happened do not dominate my thoughts. I don't have clipped out articles of transactions that never happened taped to my wall. I don't put on a hat and sunglasses and go to the mall so that I can observe transactions that never happened while they talk to their transactiony friends. But I do really like them. I eat them up, every time. They're so interesting!
And today we might have one that's relevant to the Mariners. It seems like it's all that people want to talk about this morning. The Blue Jays held a function Monday night. GM Alex Anthopoulos said that he recently turned down a trade that would have taken a player from the team's Major League roster. Jeff Blair did some digging and came up with the names Brett Lawrie and Michael Pineda.
Now, it's important to understand that this is just a rumor. We can't confirm that the Mariners were offering Pineda and looking to get Lawrie. Headlines reading "Blue Jays turned down Michael Pineda for Brett Lawrie" are presumptuous and unwarranted. There could be more to this than we know, and that needs to be indicated.
But it sure does make sense. The Mariners, obviously, traded Michael Pineda. That wasn't a hang-up of theirs. Jack Zduriencik suggested afterward that there were four young hitters for whom he would've considered dealing Pineda. Jesus Montero was one. The other three haven't been formally identified, but if Montero was one, then Lawrie was probably another one.
Further, the Blue Jays were reported to have engaged the Mariners in talks about Felix Hernandez, and while those didn't go anywhere, it'd be pretty easy to go from talking about Felix to talking about Pineda. That's how it happened with the Yankees. Lawrie's a third baseman so he couldn't be a better fit for the Mariners at this time. Geoff Baker alleges that Tom McNamara practically has a crush on Lawrie after having followed him close.
We don't know for sure that the Mariners and Blue Jays talked Pineda and Lawrie. The Mariners and Blue Jays will never publicly confirm that they talked Pineda and Lawrie. But it makes sense that they would've talked Pineda and Lawrie. Great young pitcher for a great young hitter. The Mariners had a desire. The Blue Jays had a desire. There were the elements of a fit, but ultimately there wasn't a fit.
Let's just say that this rumor has validity. For the sake of the rest of this post, let's assume that it's true. Where can we go from here? Well, for one thing, keep in mind that Pineda might not have been traded for Lawrie straight up, just as he wasn't traded for Montero straight up. The Montero trade involved two other pieces of value. Any Lawrie trade might have involved other pieces of value. Perhaps the proposal was Pineda for Lawrie straight up, but the proposal was rejected.
It's really easy to see this turning into a debate about how the merits of Jesus Montero stack up against the merits of Brett Lawrie, just like how people used to debate about how the merits of Jesus Montero stacked up against the merits of Justin Smoak. That wouldn't be fair. We don't know what it would've cost to get Lawrie. The Mariners didn't turn down Lawrie and go for Montero; the Mariners had Lawrie turned down for them, and then they went for Montero. Lawrie might have been their first choice. If it's any consolation, based on the previous example I guess this means Brett Lawrie will be a Mariner within the next two years.
For what it's worth, I think getting Lawrie instead of Montero would've made the Pineda trade easier to digest initially. People in Washington love Brett Lawrie. There's the Canadian thing, and the Danielle Lawrie thing, and the not-Chone-Figgins thing, and so on. Montero's not an unknown, but I think in the area he's more of an unknown than Lawrie. Lawrie would've been welcomed.
These are a lot of words about a trade rumor. A trade rumor where we don't know for absolute certain whether it's true, and where, if it is true, we don't know how close it came to happening. For all we know the Blue Jays were like "nope" and that was that. But it's an interesting rumor, and I know I'd really like to know the names of those four young hitters. We know one. We might - we probably - know a second. We can try to guess the others. With Montero and probably Lawrie, we have a better idea of what Zduriencik was looking for.
The Mariners have Jesus Montero. Be happy about that. Maybe the Mariners could've had Brett Lawrie. It looks like the Mariners tried for Brett Lawrie. But the Mariners didn't say no. The Blue Jays said no. So it'd be super great if we didn't have Montero vs. Lawrie subthreads for the next 18 months.