The Seattle Mariners aren’t trade deadline “buyers” in the traditional sense. They are last in the American League West with a 46-57 record. They have no reasonable chance to reach the playoffs this year.
Yet, they want to “buy” hitters.
The Mariners have the American League’s worst offense – 3.9 runs per game entering Sunday – and general manager Jack Zduriencik is looking for hitters who could fit into their lineup for the next two or three seasons, according to major-league sources.
With Ichiro Suzuki gone to New York, the Mariners can seek a power hitter to play right field for the first time in more than a decade. Seattle has the second-worst production in right field of any AL team.
Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo and Philadelphia’s Hunter Pence are two of the most desirable outfielders on the midseason market, but both are eligible for free agency after the 2013 season. So unless the Mariners believe they have a chance to win the division next year – a longshot, at this point – Choo and Pence would be unlikely fits for them.
So, sources say, the Mariners are more focused on the likes of Twins left fielder Josh Willingham (signed through 2014) and Cardinals first baseman/right fielder Allen Craig (under control through 2016). The Twins and Cardinals are known to want major-league pitching, which the Mariners possess. Craig’s playing time could decrease over the coming weeks, with Lance Berkman back from the disabled list.
-- Jon Paul Morosi