By Shannon Drayer
Almost one week into January and the Mariners continue to pop up in trade rumors. The team still has needs, the currency to fill such needs and a general manager who has said he would like to get something done, so they remain on the radar.
A quick look at what has been said and what could happen.
The tweet that set off the most reaction came from Jon Paul Morosi on New Year's Eve:
"Mariners have contacted Marlins about Giancarlo Stanton, but one source I talked with doubts a trade will occur."
Outfielder Justin Upton still seems like a viable trade option for the Mariners. (AP)
Shortly after the Stanton tweet, Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider tweeted:
"Hearing the Mariners have progressed in trade talks for a hitter. Indications are it's Ethier. Multiple players involved."
Nothing certain here and tweets from various national writers shortly after seemed to put the Andre Ethier involvement to rest. While the Mariners like Ethier, he doesn't seem to be a fit unless the master plan is to build an all left-handed, questionable-defense team.
The final rumor most likely has the most legs. It comes from Buster Olney:
"Arizona very much open again to talking about trading Justin Upton w/other teams, and not surprisingly, their specific demands have changed. The Diamondbacks have viewed Seattle as a possible landing spot for Upton, but remember he would have to approve any deal to Mariners."
The news here is Upton is available. We know that the Diamondbacks most likely will need to trade an outfielder after the Cody Ross signing but Olney says that Upton is on the table and in a later tweet said that some officials believe the D-backs prefer to trade Upton rather than Jason Kubel.
The Diamondbacks have filled their need for a shortstop so the Mariners are now a better fit as a trade partner. Texas most likely is also interested and Olney believes that Atlanta could also look to trade for Upton. If he is available there will be a bidding war. How deep into his pocket of prospects Jack Zduriencik is willing to go is the question here. My guess would be very. This could be the move that he has been waiting for all along.
As always, we shall see.
News and notes
• Get ready for a bunch of minor-league signings and camp invites. It is that time of year. Thursday the team announced it had signed veteran first baseman Mike Jacobs to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training.
• The team also announced that D.J. Mitchell, who was DFA'd to make room for Raul Ibanez on the 40-man roster, has cleared waivers and been outrighted to AAA Tacoma.
• Franklin Gutierrez has finished up his winter ball assignment and put up nice numbers in 22 games, hitting .349/.411/.529/.934. A couple of things here.
First, whew! Gutierrez made it through winter ball unscathed. That may be more impressive than the batting line. Beyond that I will say what I said when he returned to the team last August after his concussion. I like what I have seen from him in the last year when he has been able to get on the field. He appears stronger, both physically and mentally, than when he was battling the stomach issues. He seems more committed than ever to get out on the field. I am not saying that he wasn't committed in the past, this is just a different level. He seems almost driven.
Playing winter ball was an indication of this as he and his wife had their first child in early November. I think some veterans would have balked at playing winter ball in such situations but Gutierrez put in his time on the field in the offseason.
If he can stay on the field he is a huge plus for Eric Wedge, who believes he can hit just about anywhere in the lineup. He is a right-handed bat, which is desperately needed.
Everything with Gutierrez is prefaced with "if he can stay healthy." It has to be with his history, but cross your fingers. He could be a difference maker. A difference maker that is already on this team.
• Spring training tickets go on sale Saturday at 8 a.m. and can be purchased at team stores or at Mariners.com.
• The 2013 Seattle Mariners Caravan is about to hit the road for a three-week swing across the Pacific Northwest.
The tour kicks off in South King County on Wednesday, Jan. 9 with a visit to Covington Elementary School, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and then a free autograph session that is open to the public at Saint Martin's University Worthington Center in Lacey from 4:15-5:45. Mike Carp, John Jaso, Dan Wilson, Dave Sims and the Mariners Moose are all scheduled to appear.
A schedule of other public appearances for the Caravan is available here.