BY SPNW Staff 02:53PM 07/17/2014

Report: Mariners seeking Zobrist, maybe Price

According to multiple reports, including one by, the Mariners are discussing a potential deal with the Tampa Bay Rays involving acquisition of switch-hitter Ben Zobrist. The Mariners have also talked to the Rays about star LHP David Price. The talks have been underway for weeks as the Mariners seek to bulk up for a playoff run.

Price, a former Cy Young Award winner, would significantly boost Seattle’s rotation that includes Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. But Price’s agent, Bo McKinnis, told at the winter meetings, when the Mariners first inquired, that Price doesn’t seek a trade to Seattle and wouldn’t sign an extension if traded. Price is signed through 2015 at $14 million, and would become arbitration-eligible this winter.

Zobrist would augment Seattle’s meager lineup of right-handed batters. Not having his best year, he’s still hitting .266 with six home runs. Zobrist is a career .263 hitter who hit 20 home runs in each of the 2011-12 seasons. He can play infield as well as outfield. And he’s affordable, making $7 million this year and $7.5 million next season.

When the Mariners discussed a trade for Price last winter, they refused to part with pitching prospect Taijuan Walker. But with the Mariners among playoff contenders, that position could change. Infielder Nick Franklin, who has been unable to secure a roster spot in Seattle and currently plays for the Tacoma Rainiers, has also been mentioned as a Seattle trade possibility. Franklin is a Florida native.

Another right-handed bat coveted by the Mariners, Marlon Byrd of Philadelphia, is not, according to CBS, a likely trade option for Seattle. Byrd has a four-team non-trade clause, and the Mariners are one of the teams.



  • jafabian

    Zorbist is an interesting option. He’s a great all around player though I question if hitting in Safeco Field could be like culture shock to him and he’d bring back memories of Jack Wilson. Zorbist has a career BA of .263 and a OBP of .354. That could drop at Safeco. I would rather not see the team go after Price if he has such an aversion to coming here. We’ve seen with both the Sounders and Seahawks how their recent success can be attributed to players being on board with the their team is trying to accomplish. Like with Kendry Morales, if Price doesn’t want to be here then why keep going after him?

    • art thiel

      Because success can change everything. But it can’t bring his native Tennessee closer to Seattle. Or is there an app for that?

  • Big

    No, no, and hell no. Jack, you are reaching big time.

    • art thiel

      We don’t know what the cost is yet for Price. If it’s Walker and and another top prospect (other than Peterson and Jackson), I could live with that. Walker’s ceiling may be lower than many believe.

  • RadioGuy

    If Price is not willing to commit to the Mariners beyond this season (sign-and-trade, perhaps), it’s not worth giving up Taijuan Walker for a rent-a-pitcher. Besides, pitching is not the problem in Seattle. Batting is.

    Zobrist IS an interesting option, as jafabian says. If the Mariners can get him for Franklin it would be worth it. He’s a version of Willie Bloomquist with some power, although at 33 he’s pretty much done what he’s going to do…that’s not an age where you consider a guy’s upside. At any rate, it’s July, Tampa Bay is a seller and they’d probably be glad to move that $7 million contract for Frankin. who’s 10 years younger and only making $510K.

    • Dreaded Marco

      I’m not sure there’s a right-handed hitter on the market right now that’s going to drastically improve the M’s lineup. But adding Price to Felix and Iwakuma makes a formidable rotation that no one wants to face. If you can’t score just don’t let them score either.

      And if I’m correct and Price is under contract for the next 1.5 years then I think JZ needs to seriously consider the move.

      • jafabian

        He’s said repeatedly he doesn’t want to be here. I’d rather not get a player who comes here against his will. An unhappy pitcher gets you the 1998 Randy Johnson of the Mariners. Not the 1998 Randy Johnson of the Astros.

        • art thiel

          If he gets in the playoffs with Seattle and not Tampa, things can change. That’s Felix and Cano come in to play.

      • art thiel

        I don’t think drastic improvement is needed; just major league average. And you’re correct about Price’s deal through 2015.

        • Trygvesture

          Well, average would be almost as good as Jack generally does. Still, no matter the zillion reasons why they do and M’s don’t, the A’s upgrade– have, do and will. Angels,too. The questions to be answered soon will be
          Will They? ( Lincoln? He wouldn’t even do it for Lou and aim for a legit WS shot: Not in the Lincoln biz plan=not happening)
          Can They? ( Z? Dismal record as a tradeZman would predict a net loss of talent)
          We’ll see.

    • art thiel

      Tampa can do a lot better than Franklin for Zobrist. He can play either corner outfield as well as second and short. He could fix multiple holes, and has been to the playoffs. As a buyer at the trade deadline, no team is looking much past one season.

  • Dreaded Marco

    Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t Price under contract for the next 1.5 years? So not a half-season rental?

    • art thiel

      Right. Signed through 2015. Fixed. Thanks.