I think that most Mariners’ fans can agree that we will have a very difficult time keeping pace with the Angels and Rangers in the AL West this next season. There is young talent on our squad that needs some more experience and there are a couple holes in the lineup that need to be addressed. Since Seattle likely has some cap room, some positions open that wouldn’t block young talent at the moment, and at least one season ahead where it will be difficult to compete; I would like to see Zduriencik take a couple gambles and trade for a player or two that are coming back from injury. These players could be major contributors to the team if they come back with the same abilities they had before, and also would not cost a great deal to acquire. If these players do contribute, they could be resigned or traded for other talent. If they don’t contribute you know that you haven’t really taken a step backwards by giving them a shot. Here are a couple examples:
Trading within the division can be very difficult, and Kendrys is coming back from a pretty severe broken lower left leg (injured while celebrating a walk off grand slam against the Mariners & Brandon League in 2010). Other than those two facts this trade basically places itself together.
The Mariners need a middle of the lineup bat with some pop and have a hole at DH. Kendrys Morales at 28 years old, is a switch hitter with more power from the left hand side of the plate which fits into Safeco Field well. He batted .302/.353/.548 with 45 homers & earning 4.6 WAR in the 203 games prior to the injury, dating back to the start of the 2009 season. Brandon League is in his final year of team control for Seattle before he is able to hit free agency, and is rumored to be available.
The Angels are reportedly in need of late inning bullpen help, and the Mariners closer could step right in. With the signing of Albert Pujols and the emergence of Mark Trumbo last season the Angels could have 3 players trying to fill the starting 1B and DH spots. Trading Morales would help the Angels to compete now and give the Mariners a low cost, middle of the lineup bat with two years of control left. Since the Angels have tendered Morales a contract this season, one could assume that they believe he is healing well to this point, but the team won’t know more until after the New Year.
This trade doesn’t quite fit as well as the proposed Morales swap, but I could see reasoning behind both sides coming to an agreement.
The Mets are currently having financial problems and likely would breathe easier if they were to dump some salary. Santana is their highest paid player making $25.5mil for the next 2 seasons with a $5.5mil buyout for 2014. After 8 full seasons and over 1900 innings of ace caliber pitching, Johan is coming off of a 2011 season where he was not able to pitch due to shoulder problems. It has even recently been reported that Santana might not be healthy before the beginning of the 2012 season. The Mets also have a hole at the top of the lineup left by Jose Reyes and a need for a stop gap to hold down second base until Reese Havens or another young player is ready to take it full time.
The Mariners currently have Chone Figgins, a player that before joining the team was one of the best leadoff hitters in the AL and could use a change of scenery. Figgins is due $17 mil over the next 2 seasons and could be a viable 2B candidate. Few people could deny that Figgins was a quality player in his years with the Angels but ever since he put on a Mariners’ uniform in 2010, he has had difficulties at the plate. The Mariners could also include Jason Vargas in the trade to fill the hole left in the Mets’ rotation after Santana leaves. I doubt that the Mariners would be willing to take on Santana’s complete salary, but some relief would definitely have to be included. Santana does have a full no trade clause, but he could step into Seattle’s rotation as exactly what fits best in Safeco Field, a left-handed fly ball pitcher.