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Would signing Tanaka make a Walker trade viable?

By Shannon Drayer

First of all, thank you for all of the interaction on the last post . I usually do not deal in "what ifs" but I found the possibility of trading Taijuan Walker if the Mariners land Masahiro Tanaka an interesting one.

Make no mistake, I don't move Walker unless I get exactly what I am looking for. At that point it is a matter of determining whether the team could go further with a rotation of Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tanaka, James Paxton and Walker or fill-in-the-blank at No. 5 and a significant addition to the lineup.

What if you could get the offensive equivalent of Walker or an established player under contract for three or more years? What is the bigger need: the No. 5 or help for the lineup?

Of course, Walker is much more than next year's No. 5, although that is where he most likely would be slotted because of an innings limit. Your top prospect in the eyes of most of baseball is much more than what he is at the moment. There are others that could be traded as well, but the return would not be as great. Maybe that is enough. Something else to take into consideration. It would be a tough decision to make and we will know in the next two-and-a-half weeks if it is one they can consider.

M's add a catcher

One small bit of business was taken care of today as the Mariners signed Humberto Quintero to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Depth at catcher was much needed last year (they went through seven at the big-league level). Even with the addition of Quintero, with only Mike Zunino and Jesus Sucre on the 40-man roster they probably could still use some help.

Jesus Montero is not an option as he will have to earn his way back to the big-league level as either a designated hitter or a first baseman. That does not look likely out of spring training as he did not get the work in winter ball the club hoped he would.

Notes

The Mariners Caravan hits the road Tuesday with stops at various locations in Pierce County. An autograph and photo session open to the public will take place Wednesday in Lacey at the Worthington Center at Saint Martin's University from 4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. with Danny Farquhar, Dave Sims and possibly Charlie Furbush (who has been running into travel problems getting out of Maine) scheduled to appear.

Finally, "The Hot Stove League Show" makes its return Tuesday night from 7-9 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle. There will be plenty of Mariners and baseball talk with Rick Rizzs, Aaron Goldsmith and Mike Blowers joining me in studio with guests to include Larry Stone, Danny Farquhar, Furbush, and new bench coach Trent Jewett. Join us!

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