Mariners Insider Blog

It's a bit early, but are you ready to make a deal?

Nothing important in baseball happens until the World Series ends - the commissioner's office frown upon news breaking during the postseason - so the Seattle Mariners won't be making trades any time soon.

They will, however, be chatting up other teams and fielding calls of interest.

Talking to a veteran scout this morning, my first question was 'Who are other teams interested in?'

The answer came in two parts: The Seattle players other teams might covet - from Felix Hernandez to Michael Pineda to Dustin Ackley - and then those who might be packaged to make a winter deal.

Brandon League has value after a 37-save season, but is there a market? Not a big one, apparently, and there's still a theory among some teams that saving games for a 95-loss team isn't pitching under pressure. League, the scout said, is viewed by many as a setup man. That doesn't mean he's not imminently tradeable, just that the return wouldn't be huge.

Similarly, bullpen arms like Tom Wilhelmsen, Chance Ruffin and Shawn Kelley are all attractive pieces.

"Velocity never goes out of style," the scout said.

Velocity without command? Every team has a project like Dan Cortes or Josh Lueke. Similarly, Mike Carp, Casper Wells and Kyle Seager might bring a return, but only as a package, and probably only to a low-payroll team that needs players and depth and likes their salaries.

Unless the Mariners want to move one of their building blocks, like Pineda or Ackley - and even then, it likely would take a package of players - they're not likely to get back a  middle-of-the-order bat, even a young hitter who might become one.

"They had Cliff Lee, and the best they could do for him was Justin Smoak, who's one of those maybe-he-will, maybe-he-won't young hitters," the scout said. "They could have gone for the Yankees catcher, Jesus Montero, but he hadn't proven anything in the big leagues, either. Teams don't give up those kind of bats for good players. It's got to be something special."

One scout's perspective is hardly universal. General manager Jack Zduriencik may be hearing interest from any of the other 29 teams, and if not will be once the World Series ends.

He might also have targeted potential free agents, whose signings would free the team to move players they wouldn't move otherwise. The off-season is one long chess game, with GMs making moves and offering pieces an opposing team might find irresistable.

So here's the questions of the day: Are there untouchables on the Seattle Mariners roster or in their minor league system? And - thinking realistically - who would you be willing to put front and center on the table and see what they'd bring in return?

Like the Z-man, you've got to be creative. Come up with a package another team might covet: Pineda and Franklin Gutierrez or League. Seager and Carlos Peguero.  Just how attractive can you make it without hurting the team more than a trade might help it?

We can't make a deal, but we can certainly put together some offers ...

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