COMMENTARY | A recent hot streak has seemingly changed the philosophy about a so-far quiet trade deadline for the Seattle Mariners.
About a month ago, the Mariners looked like clear sellers. But lately the word from general manager Jack Zduriencik is that the club will consider standing pat as it approached .500.
However, the latest rumor from FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi is that the Mariners have shown some signs that they might even be buyers. The most notable player they have been linked to is pitcher Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox.
There are numerous reasons why going after Peavy, or any short-term player for that matter, would be a mistake. I personally believe the Mariners should sell a choice few of their assists, but standing pat and letting the current roster ride out the hot streak is not a totally unreasonable course of action. The one thing they absolutely should not do is buy.
As of this writing, the Mariners are 7.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second American League wild-card spot, which isn't an impossible deficit to make up but would require a lot of things going right, along with collapses from multiple teams ahead of them. Seattle should be focused on 2014 and beyond when it has a much stronger chance of contention. Thinking about now rather than the future is the sort of philosophy that makes clubs like the Mariners get stuck in perpetual rebuilding mode.
Peavy would certainly be an upgrade in the Mariners' rotation over Aaron Harang or Joe Saunders, but not enough to make that much of a difference in the wild-card chase. His strikeout and walks numbers have been good in 2013, but a career-high home run rate is a major concern. Peavy's WAR is .3 better than that of Saunders in 8 fewer starts, so a trade would clearly be an improvement, but the couple extra wins he could provide would ultimately not be enough to push the Mariners over the top.
Some appeal comes from the fact that Peavy is signed through 2014, and he could help the Mariners next year. However, a big problem with that notion is that Peavy has had some injury problems throughout his career. He has only made 13 starts this season due to a rib injury and has made more than 20 starts only once since 2008. The cost wouldn't be of nearly the same magnitude, but the last thing Seattle fans want to see is Eric Bedard trade 2.0.
The cost would be something, though, and that's why the Mariners need to be careful. They wouldn't be sending over a top-line prospect -- any of the guys in the big leagues now, Taijuan Walker or Danny Hultzen -- but a couple of B-prospects that could be solid major-league players. Some combination of James Paxton, Stefen Romero and Brandon Maurer would be likely trade candidates. The Mariners would be better suited trying to sign a pitcher in the offseason at a cost-effective price rather than making a trade now.
Even with the rumor, this deal seems unlikely. A team who wants to win now like the Atlanta Braves would probably be willing to give up more value than the Mariners would for Peavy. Still, the fact that Zduriencik is even making indications that he is considering being a buyer certainly raises some questions.
Nathaniel Reeves is a lifelong Seattle sports follower who is studying journalism at the University of Washington. He currently covers sports for The UW Daily.
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