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Hot Sexy Seattle Mariners Trade Rumor

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you know you want this
you know you want this

I'm just kidding, this doesn't really count as a trade rumor at all. Nevermind how it's being sold. This is a pure play for site traffic! On their part, and on my part! Let's proceed!

This is coming from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi, who seem to be at the heart of just about everything. That might be true, or that might be because I don't follow that many baseball journalists because they're redundant and frequently insufferable. The ones I do follow are often annoying but I have to pay attention to a bare minimum, lest I suck at my job. This post is about the St. Louis Cardinals and the starting pitcher market. It connects the Cardinals and the Mariners through a Jason Vargas-shaped link, which is one unfortunate shape for a link. Here's where Vargas comes in:

Among the starting pitchers who could interest the Cardinals: Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas and Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.

BAM! See that? It's not that the Cardinals are unquestionably interested in trading for Vargas - it's that they could be interested in trading for Vargas, maybe. Which I could've told you yesterday, just from guessing. Of course the Cardinals would be interested in adding a starting pitcher. There's no reason why Vargas wouldn't be available, and landing in the National League might cancel out removing him from Safeco Field. Vargas wouldn't be that expensive. Anyhow, we move on:

The Mariners scouted one of the Cardinals’ top pitching prospects, Class A right-hander Tyrell Jenkins, on Monday night, according to a major-league source. It is not known whether the teams are in active discussions on Vargas or anyone else.

This is a situation where, on a message board, some Mariners fan might assert "where there's smoke there's fire." But for one thing, where there's smoke there might just be something smoldering, and sometimes what you think is smoke turns out to be steam. And for another thing, you know who the Mariners have been scouting recently? Lots of guys. Not because those guys are involved in discussions, but because those guys might become involved in discussions, and it's important to be informed. I'd guess that the Mariners have scouted dozens of minor leaguers. Reading the name of one of them in particular can play tricks with the mind. Look at what that paragraph says - a source said the Mariners scouted a guy. That's it. That's all anyone knows.

But, aw hell, as long as we're here, Jenkins was ranked by Baseball America as the #94 overall prospect before the season. He's 19, and he's almost 20 - he might be 20 by the time you actually read this. He's right-handed and he's down in single-A and he does some things right but not enough of them. He was the 50th pick in 2010. Not the Cardinals' 50th pick, but the league's 50th pick. The Cardinals' 50th pick was Hector Acosta-Carrillo, in the 48th round. He's not even in the minors so he'd be a terrible player to trade for! Although he's from a place called Coffeyville so you can see how a team in the Northwest might be interested.

Vargas is out there, not unavailable, and his name has surfaced in trade talk as a second- or third-tier inexpensive innings-eater. The Cardinals could be interested, the Tigers could be interested, the Orioles are rumored to be interested, and who knows who else might be interested or end up interested. Jason Vargas could get traded within the coming weeks because teams like durable starters who are left-handed, even if they aren't especially tremendous. What might Jason Vargas bring back? Not a haul, which makes this sweepstakes a little less thrilling than previous sweepstakes. But people love talking about potential trades, so go nuts with this one. It's something to think about so you don't spend more time thinking about the Mariners' offense at home.