The trade deadline is in four days. It's on July 31st every year, but this year it's on Sunday and apparently Branch Rickey made the rules around the trade deadline or something, so NO TRADES ON THE SABBATH, and this year's deadline falls on August 1st. The Mariners have a team within spitting distance of the playoffs, and a general manager who has shown the ability and willingness to shake up a roster in his short time on the job. With an aging core nearing the window of any semblance of contention, this feels like a chance for Jerry Dipoto to make a splash.
Well, I'm terribly sorry to tell/remind you, but that's just not going to happen. The Mariners may very well make more deals between now and Monday, but I'd be willing to wager, say, a Safeco Happy Hour beer that the team doesn't acquire someone you're currently thinking you'd like them to acquire. This article isn't meant to be comprehensive, or in depth, but here's a few reasons why:
1. The Mariners' thin farm system necessitates that any player acquired at the cost of a premium prospect has to be an elite player. There is no excess of talent from which to deal, despite the farm's improvement this year. If a player is going to cost Tyler O'Neill, Kyle Lewis, or some other wait no those are the team's only Top 100 prospects, then whomever they get back needs to offer a massive improvement over whatever the team's in house options are. Jay Bruce, despite prospect pedigree, and a nice offensive season, simply does not offer that.
2. In addition to the cost to acquire, the Mariners playoff odds are, at best, probably somewhere around 1 in 4. This isn't a situation where Billy Beane is going crazy adding Jon Lester and Jason Hammel to push the playoffs in 2014 (whoops). This is a team that needs multiple factors to fall exactly its way over the season's final two months to even have something to play for by season's end. While Mariner fans as a whole are desperate to make the playoffs (and believe you me, do I ever understand), this simply isn't the season to spend the farm in a desperate grab at a one-game playoff.
3. The Mariners' primary playoff competition is probably the AL West. Despite being six games out for the division instead of four and a half in the Wild Card, Seattle trails only two teams to win the division, rather than four for the Wild Card. Houston and Texas are both active in trade talks, and both organizations bursting at the seems with major and minor league talent. Any halfway decent trade partner the Mariners may attempt to strike a deal with will most likely attempt to use them as leverage to acquire a richer package from the Astros or Rangers. Again, there just isn't that much desirable in Seattle that the team can give up without robbing Peter to pay Paul.
4. Jerry Dipoto's admittedly small track record in Seattle indicates he has no interest in paying a premium, be it talent or money, to acquire talent. His entire offseason was dominated by a philosophy centered around buying low in bulk, and hoping to sift out enough bounce back candidates to fill in the roster's holes. That has continued through the season, all the way up to this week with the acquisition of former Blue Jays closer Drew Storen. No good executive sticks to the same, narrow player acquisition model, but when Dipoto's preference for dumpster diving is held in concert with the points 1-3 of this article, it's hard to see him breaking form now.
I do think the Mariners have one or two more moves in store before Monday, and I wouldn't at all be surprised to see them vulture all over the August trade period, when players must first clear waivers before they can be traded. But the kinds of players acquired aren't going to appreciably shift the balance of power in the AL playoff race. This team is largely going to be what it is, and they will succeed or fail based on the Seager/Cano/Cruz, dinger-crazed offense that has carried them this far.
The time may come when a Jerry Dipoto team is dealing from a talent-rich farm system, and attempting to put the finishing touches on a World Series contender. 2016 is not that year, however. This year the Mariners are largely stuck hoping what they have is enough for one final hot stretch. If you disagree that's fine, let me know. I'll be at a game soon, and I can drink a lot of beer.