Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 7/10/14
Outfielder, Shortstop, Maybe A Starter? The Seattle Mariner’s offense continues to be streaky.  For a couple nights it looks as if they are crossing a line and hitting consistently then we go right back to where we started and they get shutout again. Cleary if the M’s are going to legitimately try to make a run with this excellent season they have going they are going to need some help on offense. While that sounds easy I assure you that it is not as easy as it sounds.  After all, the other team has to agree to something in exchange for the bat Seattle desires.  Let’s take a look quickly at what the M’s have to offer in exchange for that bat. Shortstops When you look at the M’s farm system you have Nick Franklin who most M’s fans are familiar with and then you have a non 40 man roster player in Chris Taylor who is also having a fine season.  In the bigs you have Brad Miller who for the most part is not hitting. Miller not batting +.200 in 3/4 months so far. Yes, I realize Brad had a nice month of June batting .298 for the month after he posted .173 and .136 averages in April and May respectively.  The problem is that in July, Miller has cooled off and reverted to his early season numbers batting .174 so far. That’s not going to work and I’d say any of those 3 are available for a bat, preferably a right handed one with some pop behind it. Pitchers Not that you could get much for him but I suspect Erasmo Ramirez is available after posting an ERA near 7.00 but maybe he could be that “and we’ll throw him in too” kind of a guy. A pitcher that might be more interesting to potential M’s trade partners would be Brandon Maurer.  After failing twice as a starter Maurer has demonstrated to other teams that he can be a quality reliever with a flame thrower for a right arm. Also available should be Tom Wilhelmsen.  Big Tom, like Maurer throws hard and would be a great and cheap addition to any teams bullpen. Outfielders Am I throwing in the towel too soon?  I just might be when I say Dustin Ackley needs a change of scenery.  He’s most likely the guy replaced in the outfield for a new, incoming bat anyway.  I suppose the Mariners could send him down as he does have options left but I think it’s time to part ways. Will Ackley survive 2014 in Seattle? That said, Ackley has hit well over .400 in July so far after his usual slow start in April, May and June.  Why it takes him till the All-Star break to get going every year is a mystery, one that a team besides Seattle should try to solve. Who can the M’s get? Who’s available is something of a mystery but I have some educated guesses. Shortstop As far as a new shortstop is concerned I don’t think the M’s have to look any further than the guys they faced last week in Chicago. Alexei Ramirez is having a fine sunset of a season in his long career batting over .300 and playing well in the field.  He’s in the final year of his contract too and since the White Sox are out of it at this point, he’s definitely worth considering. Outfielders There are far more options in terms of available players to replace Ackley in left. Again, Chicago comes to mind with a young player in Dayan Viciedo.  His average is not so flashy at .252 but he has a plus arm in the outfield and has hit 11 homers on the year.  All of those things make him an improvement over Ackley. The salary rich Los Angeles Dodgers also come to mind with their plethora of outfielders.  Matt Kemp is a name that came up during the winter for the M’s but a deal never materialized.  Perhaps a hot young pitching prospect in exchange for Kemp and a portion of his monster contract paid could work into something. I’m thinking James Paxton and Maurer for Kemp.  Bold?  Certainly, but these are the types of chances the M’s are going to have to take to make a run. Another name that the M’s should be coveting can be found right in their own division down there in Texas.  Alex Rios is currently a member of a fading Ranger team that if smart, considers themselves done at this point. Rios is 33 years old, hitting over .300 and can still play the outfield well.  He has roughly $4 million still due him this year that the M’s would have to pick up.  At the end of the year the M’s would also get an option to keep him for $13.5 million or buy him out for just $1 million. Is he worth the gamble?  Why not! Another player I think the M’s could look at is in San Diego in Chris Denorfia.  He’s a near perfect fit for Seattle.  Denorfia can play left field, bats right handed but the best part about his offense is his ability to hit left handed pitching well.  He’s batting over .300 against lefty starters this year. Denorfia is also relatively cheap.  He’s only due about $1 million of the remainder of 2014 and then is a free agent– a classic late season rental scenario for the M’s. Are there still more?  Sure! Other names I can throw out there would be Marlon Byrd, Matt Joyce, Ben Zobrist, and Seth Smith but it’s the ones that I mentioned first that I think fit the M’s team the best. Who will Jack Z ultimately go with?  Maybe just one, maybe none of them. We’ll all know one way or another in about 3 weeks.
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