Mariners have good week as trade deadline looms
July 29, 2021
After dropping the opening game of the Oakland series in Seattle, the Mariners rebounded with three straight wins by one run to win the series. They also beat the Astros on Monday, coming back from an early seven-run deficit to win 11-8. This stretch has moved them up to one game behind the A’s for second place in the division and one game out of the second wild-card spot. With the trade deadline coming up on July 30th at 4 p.m., it’s surprising the Mariners haven’t been more active trying to improve the team for this year and beyond.
The Twins traded former Mariner Nelson Cruz to the Rays for prospects. Even at age forty, Nelson Cruz would have made a fantastic addition to the team as he is still hitting .289/.367/.542 with twenty-one home runs on the season. In his four years with Seattle, Cruz hit .284/.362/.546 with one hundred sixty-three home runs. He averaged a home run every 13.8 at-bats. In his time with the Twins, Cruz hit .304/.386/.598 with seventy-six home runs. He averaged a home run for the Twins every 12.3 at-bats.
Cruz will be a free agent at the end of the season, so it wouldn’t have been a long-term commitment for the Mariners. He currently has four hundred thirty-eight home runs in his career. If he can play a few more full seasons, he has a legitimate chance at the Hall of Fame.
Baseball writer Ken Rosenthal reported on Twitter last week that the Mariners were interested in Pittsburg’s Adam Frazier. Unfortunately, Frazier was traded to the Padres this Monday. Frazier is having a breakout season at age twenty-nine, hitting .324/.388/.448, and leads the major leagues in hits with one hundred and twenty-five. Primarily a second baseman, Frazier can also play the outfield, which would have provided the Mariners with some extra flexibility. Frazier won’t become a free agent until 2023.
With Frazier no longer available, there is speculation that the Mariners are looking at acquiring the Royals' Whit Merrifield. This would be a move that doesn’t make sense to me. It seems like Merrifield has already begun his decline phase as a baseball player. Now thirty-two years old, his batting average, walk rate, and slugging numbers have all been on the decline since his age twenty-nine season when he hit .304/.367/.438. This year he is currently hitting .272/.319/.403 and is under contract next year and has a team option for 2023.
The Mariners are only a game out of the playoffs, with a winning record against the teams in their division this season. With the sixth-lowest payroll in the major leagues, the Mariners can’t afford to stand pat during the trade deadline. The teams they are competing against won’t.