Dave Cameron of FanGraphs joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Salk" and discussed how he thinks the Mariners should approach the trade deadline. Below are some highlights.
A lesser-known bat. Cameron identified outfielders Josh Willingham and Marlon Byrd as potentially available bats that could upgrade Seattle's offense without costing too much. However, the 36-year-old Byrd may want an additional year added onto his deal, Cameron said, which could make the Mariners shy away him. Another option Cameron mentioned was Justin Ruggiano, a 32-year-old outfielder who's hitting .292 with four home runs, 20 RBIs and an .815 OPS for the Cubs.
Cameron said Ruggiano "isn't a big name but is playing really well for the Cubs. He's never really got an extended shot, isn't going to cost you a ton, really. I think that's the kind of guy that maybe the Mariners should be targeting."
Dearth of arms. Cameron believes the Mariners could use one and perhaps two pitchers to bolster the back end of their rotation. Problem is, there aren't many options.
"I think that's one of the reasons the A's asked for Jason Hammel in the Jeff Samardzija trade – because Jason Hammel, who is not spectacular, was going to be the most coveted arm besides Samardzija and David Price out there because there aren't that kind of middle-rotation, quality back-end guys this year. Teams that are selling are selling because their pitching is atrocious, they don't have any pitching to sell. It's really David Price, and maybe you could get the Phillies to talk about Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee. These are big-name, big-money guys. I think if you're looking for a back-end guy, maybe you're calling the Phillies about Kyle Kendrick, but he's not a huge upgrade over what they already have. There's kind of a dearth of quality No. 4 starters at this trade deadline because the teams who are selling don't have that."
Anyone untouchable? Pitchers James Paxton and Taijuan Walker and infielders Chris Taylor and DJ Peterson are among the Mariners' biggest trade chips. Cameron was asked which of them have too much potential to give up in exchange for a short-term upgrade.
"I'm honestly not sure any of them are. I think all of them are pieces that you could move," Cameron said. "Peterson's probably the toughest one ... because hitters are a lower-risk thing than a pitcher. With Taylor, there's still questions about how much he's going to hit. I wouldn't give any of them away certainly, but none of them are the kinds of guys where you're like, 'This guy's off limits. I'm not trading him.' I would have all of those guys on the table in the right deal; I'm not sure the right deal is out there to be made."