By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
CLEVELAND — Alex Rios? Josh Willingham? Chris Denorfia? Marlon Byrd? Could one of those outfielders be wearing a Mariners’ uniform by the weekend? What about left-handed pitcher and Tacoma-native Jon Lester?
Someone else? Utilityman Emilio Bonifacio, maybe?
The rumors keep circulating around the Mariners as the hours count down to the non-waiver trading deadline at 1 p.m. PDT Thursday.
The Mariners — no secret, here — are trying hard to bolster their attack. Their clear preference, also well-known, is to obtain a right-handed-hitting outfielder. But they are also looking for upgrades in other areas.
“I don’t know what else will happen,” said general manager Jack Zduriencik, who is on the trip along with most of his senior staff. “We’ll continue to have conversations. … Who knows what’s around the corner?”
The Mariners have been linked to nearly every right-handed hitter believed to be available — plus Lester, Tampa Bay ace David Price and others.
Officials from rival clubs say the Mariners have the necessary prospects to make deals for immediate help.
So far, though, it’s just talk — lots of talk and much of it is conflicting. Example: There were two reports Wednesday from Boston, within minutes of each other, contending the Mariners were “in” and “not in” on Lester.
“Right now, nothing is imminent,” one club official said before adding: “But that could change.”
In other words: stay tuned for a few more hours.
Trades can take place after the deadline, but the players involved must first clear waivers. Players must be on a club’s roster by Sept. 1 in order to be eligible for post-season play.