As the days count down to Friday’s non-waiver trading deadline, the emerging vibe throughout baseball is the Seattle Mariners show no inclination to deal their pending free agents for future help.
Conversations with officials from four contending clubs say the Mariners exhibit a no-sell mode despite their position near the bottom of the American League West standings.
“We’re hearing they want to play it out with the group they have,” one rival club official said. “It’s strange, but they really don’t seem interested in seeing what they can get for (Hisashi) Iwakuma or (J.A.) Happ.”
Some rival club executives find it surprising that Iwakuma and/or Happ, who are pending free agents, aren’t being shopped because the Mariners have lefty Roenis Elias at Triple-A Tacoma.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes,” another rival club executive said. “A lot of times, these things develop late. We get close to the deadline, and somebody decides they need a pitcher.
“Maybe they offer the Mariners something that’s too good to turn down.”
Happ and Iwakuma each dismissed trade speculation in recent days.
“It’s not really on my radar,” Happ said. “I think if something happens, it’ll happen. I’m not worried about that.”
Iwakuma said much the same thing after his start Wednesday in Detroit.
“I don’t worry about the future,” he said. “I just have to take care of one game at a time. I missed a lot of baseball in the first half — 21/2 months — and I need to make up for that.”
Center fielder Austin Jackson is also a pending free agent.
The Mariners, in contrast to selling, are believed to be trying to add a catcher and a right-handed relief pitcher.
The non-waiver trading deadline is 1 p.m. (PDT) Friday.
Thereafter, players must clear waivers before they can be traded. Players must be on the roster of their new club prior to Sept. 1 to be eligible for postseason.
LEFTY I: FURBUSH ON HOLD
Reliever Charlie Furbush is still limited to flat-ground throwing in his recovery from biceps tendinitis, which surfaced just prior to the All-Star break.
The Mariners had hoped Furbush would be ready to pitch a simulated inning last week while the club is in Detroit. But manager Lloyd McClendon said Furbush isn’t even yet ready to throw a bullpen session.
“I’m concerned about it,” McClendon said. “Obviously, it’s a setback. Hopefully, he’ll feel better with his flat-ground (throwing) over the next few days. Then we can get him back out on the mound and get him going.”
Furbush hasn’t pitched since July 7. He is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 33 appearances and has stranded all 16 of his inherited runners.
LEFTY II: PAXTON’S PROGRESS
James Paxton’s recovery is also dragging. He hasn’t pitched since leaving a May 28 start against Cleveland because of a sore middle finger that was later diagnosed as a strained tendon.
“It’s healing,” Paxton said, “extremely slowly.”
Paxton said he’s throwing on flat ground but doesn’t have a target date for getting on a mound. Once he does, the normal rehab routine for a starter would be at least four weeks, including rehab starts.
That suggests Paxton won’t likely be ready to rejoin the rotation before September.
LEFTY III: HULTZEN ON SHELF
Danny Hultzen isn’t expected to pitch again this season after experiencing continuing shoulder fatigue during a recent rehab assignment at Peoria in the Arizona Rookie League.
Hultzen, 25, could return to pitch in the Instructional League, which begins in September, or the Arizona Fall League, which begins in October.
Club officials made the decision to shut down Hultzen after he underwent a recent examination by Dr. James Andrews, a shoulder specialist, in Alabama.
Hultzen missed all of last season after undergoing major shoulder surgery on Oct. 1, 2013. He showed encouraging signs of recovery in spring training and made three starts in May for Double-A Jackson before fatigue set in.
The Mariners selected Hultzen with the second overall pick in the 2011 draft. He was 14-8 with a 2.82 ERA in 28 minor-league starts prior to his injury.
Hultzen is out of options after this season. That means he can’t be sent to the minors next season unless he clears waivers.
It was one year ago Sunday — July 26, 2014 — that Fernando Rodney became the 45th pitcher in history to record 200 saves when he closed out a 4-3 victory over Baltimore.
Rodney currently has 236 career saves, which ranks 37th on the all-time list. He ranks fourth among active players behind Francisco Rodriguez (370), Jonathan Papelbon (342) and Huston Street (300).
Jesus Sucre was 1 for 28 this season before he hit a homer in the second inning. It was his first career homer, and it came in his 126th plate appearance. He has 21 homers in 2,059 plate appearances over 10 minor-league seasons. … Robinson Cano has eight homers in his past 28 games, including four in his last eight games. He had just two in his first 67 games. … The Mariners lost for an American League-leading 16th time in an opponents’ final at-bat. … Toronto broke a five-game losing streak at Safeco Field. … Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista has a 16-game hitting streak at Safeco. … Felix Hernandez made his 323rd start Friday, which ties him with Jamie Moyer for the most in franchise history. Hernandez will own the record outright if he makes his scheduled start Wednesday against Arizona. … Hernandez leads the American League with 12 starts of seven or more innings while allowing two or fewer runs. Washington’s Max Scherzer leads the majors with 13.
The Mariners and Blue Jays conclude their three-game series at 1:10 p.m. Sunday at Safeco Field. Right-hander Taijuan Walker (7-7, 5.06 ERA) will face Toronto lefty Mark Buehrle (11-5, 3.23). The game can be seen on Root Sports and heard on 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM. The Mariners open a three-game series Monday against Arizona.