BY Steve Rudman 06:30AM 07/24/2014

If they can, should Mariners make play for Price?

As the trade deadline nearing, the Mariners are under pressure to make a deal to keep up with Oakland and the L.A. Angels. Should they trade or not? Vote here.

David Price would add a second Cy Young winner (2012) to the Mariners rotation if Seattle can obtain him in a trade.

No one in Seattle is feeling more heat amid the first rain since May than Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. The Athletics and Angels have made significant moves to upgrade as the trade deadline nears,  Oakland importing pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in a blockbuster with the Cubs, the Angels latching on to Houston Street, Jason Grilli and Joe Thatcher to bulk up their bullpen.

White-gloved across the chops, Zduriencik has yet to respond, in part, it’s reasonable to assume, because the Tampa Bay Rays, their likeliest partner, have less incentive with each passing day to swap either star lefthander David Price or utility man Ben Zobrist, both coveted by Seattle.

Six weeks ago, the Rays languished in last place in the AL East and were considered deadline sellers. But the Rays have won eight in a row and are 13-4 in July following four consecutive losing months to start the season. Although the Rays are next-to-last in their division, they have made up 7½ games since June 10 and repose only 7½ back of division-leading Baltimore, which begins a four-game series with the Mariners Thursday night.

Zobrist, who can play any position, would aid a Seattle offense that has a league-low .687 OPS – heck, Wally Pipp would help this offense – but if the Mariners can have only one of them they might be better off with Price, 4-0 with a 0.85 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in July and neck-and-neck with Felix Hernandez in the AL Cy Young race. How the two pitchers compare:

Pitcher Team Age GS W-L ERA SO WHIP WAR BA
Felix Hernandez Mariners 28 21 11-2 2.02 163 0.899 4.9 .197
David Price Rays 28 21 10-7 3.06 173 1.041 2.5 .237

With two former Cy Young winners in the rotation (Hernandez, 2010; Price 2012), plus Hisashi Iwakuma (third in the AL Cy Young vote last year), the Mariners would feature the most daunting starting staff in the AL, not only this year but next, and one perfectly set up for any playoff series. Of course, their mostly feeble hitting won’t help, but if the Mariners can’t score enough, they can at least keep their opponents from scoring.

Unfortunately for the Mariners, they are trending the wrong way, having lost two consecutive series, and Price may have pitched himself out of their grasp. While his value will likely never be higher, the Rays may not want to trade him, preferring to stay in this year’s race. Also, Price is adverse to changing teams – he has said so repeatedly – but the decision is out of his hands.

According to Peter Gammons of MLB.com, any trade involving the Rays and  Mariners probably won’t happen until the hours immediately before the July 31 trading deadline. Both Zduriencik and his Tampa Bay counterpart will want to assess where their teams stand, making the next eight days significant for both. Zduriencik’s Seattle career may depend on the next eight days. Wednesday’s 3-2, series-losing loss to the Mets didn’t help.

If the Mariners are still in a buying mode, and if the Rays have been reduced to seller, Zduriencik will have to decide the cost of Price, or Zobrist, or both, in dollars and prospects. The way Price is pitching, the hit to Seattle’s pocket book and farm system keeps going up and will likely involve Taijuan Walker and others.

Is it worth it? (see poll below).

RARE COMPANY FOR ERASMO: In a spot start Tuesday night against the Mets, Erasmo Ramirez pitched well enough to win, but lost 3-1 as James Jones misplayed a ball in center field that allowed a run to score. Seattle batters didn’t help, going 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and stranding five.

Ramirez fanned 10, the 50th time in franchise history that a Seattle starter whiffed that many or more and lost. Randy Johnson had 18 such games during his Mariners career (1989-98) and Mark Langston (1984-89) six. The only other pitcher with more than two: Erik Hanson. He had three double-digit strikeout games between 1988-93 and lost all three.

Thirteen Seattle starters struck out at least 10, allowed two or fewer runs and lost. But only three of the 13 did that more than once: This is the trio, ranked by total strikeouts:

Year Date Pitcher Opp. Result IP ER SO
1993 June 24 Randy Johnson Oak L, 3-2 9 2 14
1994 June 25 Randy Johnson CWS L, 2-1 9 2 12
2011 Aug. 7 Felix Hernandez LAA L, 2-1 8 2 12
1998 June 8 Randy Johnson SFG L, 4-3 7 2 10
2012 June 35 Erasmo Ramirez Oak L, 1-0 8 1 10
2013 Aug. 23 Felix Hernandez LAA L, 2-0 6 2 10
2014 July 22 Erasmo Ramirez NYM L, 3-1 7 2 10

Johnson holds the club mark for most strikeouts in a losing effort. On June 24, 1997 against Oakland, Johnson fanned 19 and lost 4-1. Johnson had four other games of 13 or more strikeouts and lost. Mark Langston (Sept. 17, 1986 vs. CWS) and Hanson (May 19, 1993 vs. Texas) also had 13-strikeout games and lost.

In the June 24, 1993 game against Oakland, Johnson threw 158 pitches. In his 19-strikeout game, he threw 142, 100 for strikes.

 


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YourThoughts

  • GD

    Price would be great, but lets get some flippin OFFENSE!!!! I’m tired of watching the M’s lose 3-2, 2-1, or even 1-0.

    1. Kemp
    2. Rios

    3. THEN Price “if” you can land him, but TB will be holding him until the last day of July to see if they can overpower the Wild Card spot from the M’s.

  • Big

    Jesus, is alright by me. Bring him up for the rest of the season.

  • RadioGuy

    The Mariners are last in the AL in batting (.245), OBP (.299), slugging (.373) and OPS (.673)? Meanwhile, Seattle has the lowest ERA (3.11) and BAA (.226) in baseball. How does bringing in another pitcher, even a David Price, solve what is obviously the problem? That the M’s are even considering dealing prospects to bring in help for the one area of their team that doesn’t need any speaks volumes of their baseball acumen (unless Price is the next Babe Ruth and we don’t know about it).

  • Effzee

    Trading for Price would be dumb. Of course, that means they will probably do it. This team is not built to win now. They are about to embark on a swoon that will land them under .500 (again), with or without Price. There is no point in trading away potential future All-Stars (again) for another pitcher when the offense is not good enough (again) to make it count. It would be a move of sheer desperation and not-looking-forward-ness (again). Which (again) means there’s probably a decent chance the M’s do it.

    • Trygvesture

      Exactly Right. Button-Down Baseball is all Lincoln can do, and he won’t learn anything else.
      But, were he gone, were Z gone or magically made a capable trader and able to evaluate MLB talent as well as he does Minor League Talent ( as if we had Allen and Beane up there)– they’d go for it. They’d upgrade. They’d get Price and then get some bats– and surprise everybody with how shrewd and under the radar they are. They can even afford to do it at without going to Grocery Outlet Player Department for their shopping– they can get em on a Whole Foods budget. But, they got Kendry–apparently to get their way and end any hint of insubordinnation from any and all MLB players, managers or agents who tell them no. Lincolnland is a terrible place for a baseball team. He’s proven it over and over. Here’s hoping Kendry can overcome the trade jinx and be who he’s been up till now.

  • ollie swensen

    The argument to add talent to the M’s every time they are a couple of games over .500 with the expectation that it will be THE move that pushes them into WS contender/winner is just fodder for idle minds.
    The way they have played so far this season has resulted in a good chance at a wildcard spot. This, with basically the same team that left spring training. That’s all they need to get into the postseason, make some noise and save Jack Zs’ job.
    With the options few, the costs high, and the returns expected to produce a positive impact immediately, it would seem a move of desperation on the part of Jack Z to sell the future for a high risk move today.

  • Da Kid

    Sure! Let;s get him! Then HE can spend the rest of his career losing 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, ND, ND, ND, ND, ND.

    Hayzoos effing Doug Christie. The boobs in the front office need serious brain implants.

  • Da Kid

    “On June 24, 1997 against Oakland, Johnson fanned 19 and lost 4-1.”

    That would be the same Randy Johnson who, on November 14 of that year — less than four months later — was informed by Chuckie Cheesehead Armstrong that the M’s wouldn’t be re-signing him because he had “a bad back.” Then Chuckie traded him the following summer to Houston for two minor leaguers, after which free agent RJ wound up in Yankee pinstripes. And that would be the same Cheeseball who over saw the Heathcliff Slocumb debacle a month after Randy pitched that superb game.

    Anybody really think the F.O. mentality has changed just because Cheese Dip is gone? How about it, Steve? Is Woody Woodward still lurking around the halls at M’s Central? Ahem….from the archives:

    For Immediate Release

    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    MARINERS ADD WOODY WOODWARD TO SCOUTING STAFF.

    SEATTLE, Wash. — Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the following additions:

    Joe Nigro and Woody Woodward have been added to the Professional Scouting Staff.

    For more information, please contact the Seattle Mariners baseball information department at (206) 346-4000.

  • maoling

    Wally Pipp played 15 years, collected almost 2000 hits, drove in nearly 1000 runs, and finished with a .281 BA and a .341 OBP. Of course he would have helped. And it’s an urban legend that he complained of a headache and started Gehrig’s streak. Gehrig’s streak started the day before and he had already played in parts of the previous two seasons. Pipp went on to play another three seasons for Cincinnati. Pipp needs a little more love, he wasn’t a flunky.

  • Jeff

    if the M’s were in the position the Angels or A’s are right now, I’d be more for it.. as it is, they’re in a 3 way tie for the 2nd wildcard and their remaining strength of schedule isn’t favorable. Sure, M’s have done well against good teams and poorly against sub .500 teams, but past performance isn’t indicative of future returns. If they want to trade for a lesser guy like Colon, where the price isn’t nearly as high, sure.

  • Nick Jacob

    This poll question isn’t as simple as “yes” or “no.”

    We have some stud prospects, and we have some prospects who are struggling, but could pan out in the future. I’d make the deal for Price just so long as we wouldn’t need to give up too much. Maybe Walker and Franklin. I wouldn’t let anyone touch D.J. Peterson.

  • jafabian

    Only go for him if he’ll sign a deal with the M’s. The M’s aren’t in a position for a rent a player like they were in ’95 or even in ’97.

    • Da Kid

      Or, you know…Cliff Lee.