Oakland’s Andrew Bailey isn’t necessarily the only big-name closer left on the trade market.
Some within the industry believe the Mariners are willing to move Brandon League — if not now, then perhaps closer to spring training. A number of teams have contacted the Mariners to express interest, sources say.
It would be difficult for the Mariners to trade League, an All-Star this year, while attempting to convince free agent Prince Fielder that they are serious about winning. But if Fielder signs elsewhere, the Mariners will likely reconsider League’s trade value — particularly considering he will become a free agent after the upcoming season.
Sources say the Reds, Red Sox and Angels are interested in acquiring a closer, although it’s not clear if any of them have had serious talks with the Mariners about League.
The Dodgers inquired about League’s availability during the winter meetings, but their interest is not believed to be serious.
For now, League’s status with the Mariners seems analogous to Heath Bell’s situation in San Diego entering the 2011 season: He will be closing for a team that’s not expected to contend and therefore should have greater value to other clubs. If anything, the Mariners should be more motivated to trade League than the Padres were with Bell, because of the changing nature of draft-pick compensation under the new collective bargaining agreement.
— Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi