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Birth Of A Seattle Mariners Trade Rumor

James Paxton representing the world in a baseball game against no one
James Paxton representing the world in a baseball game against no one
Christian Petersen

What we all want is for the Seattle Mariners to make news that is interesting. Lately there has been some Seattle Mariners news that hasn't been interesting. Now, from Geoff Baker, we have something that is interesting that doesn't yet qualify as news. So we keep getting halfway to what we want, and if I've learned anything from Microsoft Excel, it's that 0.5 rounds up to 1. So, after rounding, we keep getting entirely what we want. We're so spoiled!

Relevant article excerpt:

But sprinkled in the seats around them, unremarkable to all but the most-seasoned baseball-watchers, was a plethora of scouts from the Kansas City Royals. They nodded their heads as Paxton struck out the side in the first inning, then fanned two more batters in a three-frame debut that saw him allow just a walk and a bloop single.

In this way, the Kansas City Royals are linked to Mariners pitching prospect James Paxton. Some on the Kansas City side have followed up on this. The Royals are keeping their eyes on pitching, because think of your impression of the Royals' pitching, and that's why. The Mariners are interested in hitting, because think of your impression of the Mariners' hitting, and that's why. The Royals don't have eyes only for Paxton, and the Mariners don't have eyes only for what the Royals might have to offer, but it's not like there's only one possible match for each team. If the Mariners and Royals get to talking and reach an agreement, then may the both of them be happy. May at least the Mariners be happy. I don't actually care about the Royals like at all.

Something I've been meaning to write about for some time are the results of this mid-September poll. Between Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez, Danny Hultzen, and Taijuan Walker, I asked the audience (that's you!) to pick the guy they thought would go on to have the best major-league career. Ramirez -- the least heralded of the bunch -- has had success in the majors, while none of the others have yet had success even in triple-A. Yet here's how the poll broke down:

Walker: 39%
Hultzen: 38%
Ramirez: 16%
Paxton: 7%

People still believe strongly in the Walker/Hultzen prospect hype. I'm not saying that's wrong; I'm saying that's interesting, given that Ramirez is already something of an established big-leaguer. All four of the guys are extremely talented, and bringing up the rear we see Paxton, who many consider a future reliever. It's going to come down to his changeup, probably, which remains a work in progress. Everything is always a work in progress.

It follows, I think, that people would be the least sad to see Paxton get traded. I think there's a good chance the Mariners move at least one of these guys in an offseason deal. Of course, if the Mariners traded a high-profile pitching prospect, some people would be upset and point to examples of one-time Mariners prospects flourishing elsewhere. If the Mariners didn't trade a high-profile pitching prospect, some people would be upset that the Mariners refuse to make a blockbuster and "go for it". It's not that you can't please all the people; it's that you can't please all the people when you keep finishing in last. A lot of people just like for the Mariners to make them upset, and that won't change until the Mariners are playing good baseball again. They have done it before!

So Paxton could be a guy the Mariners could trade, and Kansas City could be a Mariners trade partner. At the very least, expect the Royals to ask the Mariners about Paxton, if they haven't already. You want Alex Gordon? Good luck, because Alex Gordon is an amazing baseball player and he's under guaranteed contract through 2015. You want Billy Butler? Well he's locally beloved, he's a DH, and Jesus Montero is probably a DH. You want Wil Myers? Of course you do. Pretty much everybody is going to want Wil Myers.

So I'm not going to speculate on what the Mariners and Royals might try to do, if they try to do anything. But prepare yourself for trade rumors involving the Mariners' pitching crop. You could call this the beginning. Royals scouts were watching Paxton pitch in the AFL, and they were nodding along. They were nodding along. You don't nod along to just anybody.