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To sell or not to sell: Mariners face deadline decisions

By Brady Henderson

An eight-game winning streak has added further difficulty to a decision the Mariners will be facing for the next week.

Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse – all free agents after this season – are three of the Mariners' biggest trade chips. A look at each player's 2013 stats:
Raul Ibanez
Slash line: .262/.315/.561
Home runs: 24
RBIs: 56
Games: 78
Age: 41
Kendrys Morales
Slash line: .282/.341/.466
Home runs: 15
RBIs: 57
Games: 95
Age: 30
Michael Morse
Slash line: .251/.313/.454
Home runs: 11
RBIs: 23
Games: 56
Age: 31
Trading veterans like Raul Ibanez or Kendrys Morales could net a highly-regarded prospect who may help the Mariners' rebuilding effort and ensure Seattle gets at least something in return for a player who could otherwise leave in free agency once his contract expires at season's end.

But it would also mean losing someone who has been a key cog in a suddenly potent offense and essentially conceding that while the Mariners are the hottest team in baseball, there's still too much ground to make up to have a realistic shot at a playoff run.

That's the quandary in which general manager Jack Zduriencik seemingly finds himself a week away from the July 31 trade deadline, and it was among the subjects covered when ESPN baseball analyst Jim Bowden joined "Bob and Groz" on Tuesday.

The Mariners entered Wednesday's game at 48-52, seven games behind the Rangers and 10 back of the division-leading Athletics. Bowden, a former MLB general manager himself, said the Mariners would be sacrificing their future by retaining veteran assets like Ibanez, Morales, Michael Morse and Oliver Perez in an attempt to make up what he thinks is an insurmountable deficit.

"You can't look at this short term," Bowden said. "You've got to figure out a way to win, you've got to build a middle of the lineup not with 40-year-olds, you've got to build a middle of the lineup like Oakland has [with] guys that are 26-30. That's when you're going to have a streak here. You're not going to be raising a divisional championship flag in Seattle with Ibanez and Morales in the middle of the lineup. That's not going to happen."

Bob Stelton and Jason Stiles pick up the conversation there, discussing in the video below what they think the Mariners should do before the deadline.

You can listen to Tuesday's show here.

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