Everyone has a theory on what interim general manager Lee Pelekoudas and the Seattle Mariners should do next – including a couple of scouts lunching in Toronto on Saturday.
Both thought Pelekoudas was probably not going to win the permanent job, but not because he shouldn't.
"No matter who he trades at the deadline, what he's going to get back are prospects," one scout said. "And you can't evaluate deals like that for a year or two. He could trade Adrian Beltre and Raul Ibanez and J.J. Putz and get a bunch of young players back.
"But if he does, how does ownership evaluate that in October? It's just too soon."
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The other scout, who's followed the Mariners for a few weeks, said the Mariners have lots of pieces, but they don't fit together.
"You take your middle infielders," he said. "They're both good players, but not together. Betancourt is a free swinger in a lineup of free swingers – why should he change if no one else does?
"I'd move him, because he has value, but he probably won't reach his potential in Seattle.
"The problem Lee's going to have is if he moves some of these guys, fans won't know the players he gets back and they may not have an immediate impact in the majors. That doesn't mean they won't. It just means if you evaluate Pelekoudas on what happens between June and October, it's not a fair amount of time."
The Mariners, both scouts agreed, need help at first base, center field and throughout the rotation.
"And this team doesn't have a No. 3 or No. 4 hitter," one scout said. "Ibanez, Beltre, they're probably best suited for hitting fifth of sixth in a good lineup. Their best hope for a heart-of-the-lineup hitter is probably (Jeff) Clement. He has the swing to hit 30 home runs at some point."
As for trades, they said Pelekoudas doesn't have the luxury of time to make deals.
"Some trades are better left to the off-season, not the trading deadline," one scout said. "If Lee doesn't make them now, though, will he get an off-season? I don't think so."