The non-waiver trade deadline has passed, and while trades can still technically be made over the next two months, this deadline is the most meaningful one. On deadline day, theelected to stand pat, although that makes it sound like the Mariners just didn't do anything. I'm sure the Mariners were very very busy, and it's just that nothing materialized with Jason Vargas, Kevin Millwood, or anyone else.
Of course, it's not like the Mariners were completely inactive. Last night they traded Brandon League to the for two prospects. They traded Steve Delabar to the for Eric Thames. And they traded Ichiro to the , which you might have forgotten about. Trades in advance of the deadline end up feeling separate from the deadline, but we'll pool these together. In the days leading up to the trade deadline, the Mariners swung three trades.
There's probably a sense of disappointment and frustration that the Mariners didn't do more. That they didn't unload Vargas for prospects, or that they didn't bring in a proven cost-controlled hitter. The Mariners were said to be active in talks for hitters over the last several days. I'm sure the Mariners were looking for an impact bat, but we just can't know what was out there. We can't know which players were discussed at what prices. It would've been exciting to land Justin Upton. But what would Upton have cost? Probably a lot. It would've been exciting to land Allen Craig. But what would Craig have cost? Probably a lot. I don't know why I'm saying "probably." Definitely, yes, a lot. A lot a lot a lot. There are moves, and then there are smart moves, and it might well have been in the Mariners' best interests to just do what they did.
Similarly, who's to say what might have been offered for Millwood and Vargas? The Mariners got calls on them, because of course they did. But I can't imagine that much was put on the table. If somebody offered legitimate value for Millwood, he would've been traded. If somebody offered more value for Vargas, he would've been traded. The Mariners can't control the market, and if teams didn't really want Millwood or Vargas that bad, there's no point in trading them just to say you traded them. That doesn't help the team in any meaningful way. Now Millwood and Vargas can help the team play well down the stretch, winning some games and maybe inching closer to .500. Vargas is arbitration-eligible and could return in 2013. Or he could be traded in the offseason. Plenty of possibilities. We know that Vargas can be effective in his present role, and the Mariners are not as deep in starting pitching as you'd like to think.
The Mariners' actual deadline day was kind of boring. They weren't even involved in rumors that I came across. Not that the Mariners are always present in rumors before they make a move. They did make those two moves last night, and Thames is an interesting sort of fringey bat. The 2012 Mariners are now all but out of room for fringey bats. There's Thames, Casper Wells, Michael Saunders, and Franklin Gutierrez in the outfield. Kyle Seager's at third, Dustin Ackley's at second, Mike Carp's at first, Jesus Montero and John Jaso are at catcher and DH. Justin Smoak is around, and so it's not like another fringey bat would've had a place. It's worth finding out what the players the Mariners already have can do in the final months. Getting, say, a Brandon Belt would've been interesting, but assuming Belt had a high price tag, I'm okay with seeing what Carp does, and seeing what Smoak does in Tacoma. Then things can be re-evaluated in November and December. Thames will get at-bats that were going to Carlos Peguero, and those were really the only at-bats being wasted. Once Gutierrez is back, Trayvon Robinson will go down.
And there's the Ichiro move. The Ichiro move was hugely significant. It helps in the short-term, because it clears up playing time in the outfield, and it helps in the longer-term because it clears up what would've been an offseason mess. Granted, Ichiro initiated the Ichiro trade, not the Mariners, but that's one huge looming question that the Mariners managed to answer before the deadline arrived. Preventative measures might not be as exciting as reactive measures, but consider what the Ichiro trade might have prevented. That might've been the best move the Mariners could've made. With Ichiro gone, the outfield picture is clearer and younger.
It's been a pretty good month for the Mariners off the field. And hell, it's been a pretty good month for the Mariners on the field, with a 14-11 July record going into tonight. They have a +25 July run differential, which is terrific, even accounting for the eight games against the. I know that many of you wanted to see the Mariners bring in a proven dinger-hitter. That would've been exciting, and we like to be excited. But consider what a guy like that would've cost. Consider that hitters can be added again in just a few months' time. The Mariners have two months to evaluate what they have, and what they have is already interesting.
Maybe Jack Zduriencik was offered Dylan Bundy for Jason Vargas and he turned it down without even making a counter-proposal. I don't know, because I wasn't there. In that event, congratulations Jack Zduriencik, you are literally the dumbest anything on the planet. Presuming that didn't happen, I'm comfortable saying the Mariners did fine. I have no problem with two more months of what the Mariners have already built.