Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Nice knowing you guys The hot stove is already cranking out deals, and it’s not even time for the annual December winter meetings. Heck, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.  Were’ getting the offseason fire cranking early this year, and the Seattle Mariners are not going to be left out for long. The Mariners have been linked to virtually every free agent out there and even a few trade deals.  We’ve already had one blockbuster trade in baseball in anticipation of the 2014 baseball season. Who do you suppose are the likely Mariners that will get shipped out before spring camp opens in March?  Here’s 5 likely suspects. Dustin Ackley He’s such a nice, quiet guy too.  The problem with Dustin Ackley is that the M’s are not likely to have a spot for him to play. Think about it for a second. He lost 2nd base to Nick Franklin because he could not figure out his swing to save his life.  That resulted in Ackley being sent down to AAA to re-learn to play in the outfield for the first time since college. Upon his return he did hit a bit better, but the M’s are actively pursuing free-agent outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and have also been linked to Carlos Beltran.  Where does Ackley play if the M’s land one or both of these guys? A different town is the answer. Michael Saunders it’s time for the Mariners to move on from Dustin Ackley, says Brian… I think you could call Michael Saunders something like Ackley 2.0.  Saunders is another outfielder who has been very inconsistent at the plate.  Michael does have one advantage over Ackley. He can actually play A+ defense. The downside to Saunders over Ackley is payroll.  Saunders is headed for his first year of arbitration, which means he’s still cheap — just not as cheap as you’d like to see on your roster for your 4th outfielder. Sorry kid, but I think you might want to keep your bags packed. Tom Wilhelmsen Remember that guy two seasons ago who was lights out when it came to getting the last three outs of a Mariners win?  He had a 99 MPH fastball that looked unhittable? Tom Wilhelmsen, the former M’s closer — aka “The Bartender” — not only fell off the wagon, he seems to have fallen off the Mariners “keeper” list thanks to his seemingly unbelievable loss of control in 2013.  Wilhelmsen could not buy a strike at times. I really think Tom’s problems are above the neck, but it appears the M’s are shopping hard for a new closer, and that’s going to limit his chances of sticking around in Seattle for a recovery. Kyle Seager Stop laughing because it wouldn’t shock me at all.  I think Kyle Seager is a great player for the M’s, but let’s be serious about this for a minute. Kyle has hit .258, .259, and .260 in his three seasons as the M’s 3rd Baseman.  He’s steady with the glove and probably will improve at 3rd since he’s been learning that position the past couple years.  I really just don’t see much more ceiling above Kyle when it comes to his bat, though. Kyle’s a guy that will knock in 15 Homers, and hit .260.  Is that really what you want out of a guy who plays 3rd?  Besides, the M’s No. 2 overall prospect is a guy named DJ Peterson who plays 3rd base.   It wouldn’t shock me in the least to see Kyle get moved for another M’s need that would allow Peterson to have his shot. Justin Smoak The Freak from Goose Creek, Justin Smoak, is the same boat as Kyle Seager.  DJ Peterson is at AAA and the M’s might want to give him a shot.  Maybe they move Smoak and put Peterson at 1st leaving Kyle at 3rd? It’s certainly a possibility, but I personally think the more likely scenario is Smoak stays and Seager goes if the M’s do in fact want Peterson up with the big club. Smoak seems to have that knack for doing just enough to stick around, and those 20 homers he hit in 2013 likely bought him another year. Smoak, like Saunders , is also headed for arbitration this offseason, so look for 2014 to be Smoak’s last season in Seattle if he doesn’t finally put it all together. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MARINERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
  • How about some middle relief? Watching the starters turn the game over to middle relief is like watching a rat ready to chew off your foot.

    Is there a stat for called third strike (by a pitcher)?

    How about team holds?
  • Trade Jack Zduriencik before he totally destroys this franchise. At the same time get rid of Lincoln and Armstrong they bear the responsibility for a decade of downward spiraling.
  • Carlos Beltran will never sign with Seattle and it is irresponsible to even link him to the Mariners. He will want to sign with a team that he can return to the World Series with and not finish his career with a rebuilding team. Given that, Ackley is still in the mix. Seager's numbers are average for a 3B but if he was returned to his natural position of 2B his numbers would be All-Star level. Doing that would open up a whole new discussion though.

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