Look for Mariners to make a deal

With less than three weeks before spring training begins, this is the time of the baseball year when most of the big deals already have been made.

This isn’t your average baseball year, however, and in a free agent and trade market that have developed slowly — if at all — the Seattle Mariners continue to angle for a big deal.

Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi told reporters Thursday that there’s a good chance he’ll make a trade or free agent signing before spring training begins Feb. 14.

“We have tried to keep all of our lines in the water for premier guys out there,” Bavasi said during the Mariners’ annual preseason media preview at Safeco Field. “We have been involved in several of them out there and have stayed involved.”

While Johan Santana of the Twins remains available for a sizable price, the Mariners’ most realistic trade target is Baltimore Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard. The Orioles are rebuilding and hope to land a package filled with top prospects. The Mariners have made an offer, but Bavasi made it clear he isn’t willing to strip the minor league system bare.

“We are prepared to move, but there is a limit,” he said. “On more than one pitcher out there that’s available, we have provided deals that I don’t think anybody is going to beat.”

The most recent reports say the Mariners have offered outfielder Adam Jones, pitcher Chris Tillman and infielder Carlos Truinfel, with some mentioning left-handed setup reliever George Sherrill, for Bedard.

So far, Bavasi has drawn the line at right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow and catcher Jeff Clement.

Andy MacPhail, the Orioles president of baseball operations, hasn’t wavered in his demands but he has altered his timeline. Three weeks ago, MacPhail said that if a trade wasn’t competed by the end of January, Bedard would remain with the Orioles.

Thursday, in the Baltimore Sun, MacPhail extended his timeline.

“I’ve been telling everybody by the end of the month,” MacPhail told The Sun. “But it’s not necessarily a calendar issue. There is no magic date between Jan. 22 and Feb. 2. The date that probably matters more is Feb. 13.”

That’s the day pitchers and catchers for both the Mariners and Orioles are required to report for spring training.

“With all the clubs we have talked to, we have taken our best shot,” Bavasi said. “We have dropped everything on them we can drop on them. Now, maybe they are thinking about the finer points of the deals. We know we are still in them, but we don’t know where the finish line is, yet.”

As for the Orioles’ desire to get all of the Mariners’ best prospects — particularly Morrow — Bavasi isn’t willing to let that happen.

“I don’t think you can give a club its terms and its price. You can give them their price or their terms, but not both,” Bavasi said. “We can move a premier prospect and some numbers, but not a high number of premier prospects.”

With the Angels favored to win the American League West again, Bavasi was asked if the Mariners are closer to competing with them in 2008.

“We did that last year, but competing isn’t what we want to do,” he said. “We want to win it.”

The Mariners won 88 games last year, a big improvement on three straight last-place finishes, but they fell from contention because of an August-September skid when they lost 15 of 17 games.

“Last year we were able to compete and, at the wrong time, we stopped competing,” Bavasi said. “We want to get to the point where they are competing with us.”

To do that, Bavasi knows it will take better starting pitching.

“We feel we have to make one move more, whether it’s a big one or small one,” he said. “We are not done. We want to turn the tables a little and get better enough that we are not just competing, but winning our division.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Glacier Peak's Aidan Davis is yells while being fouled by Mariner's Dakota Joseph during the game on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Associated Press high school basketball polls for Jan. 26

Six local teams are ranked in the top-10 of their respective classification. Four others received votes.

Prep results for Wednesday, Jan. 26

Prep results for Wednesday, Jan. 26: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Mariner's Naser Motley is able to get around Glacier Peak's Bobby Siebers to make a layup during the game on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mariner boys beat GP in battle for 1st place atop Wesco 4A

The Marauders ride their defense to a 53-43 win over the No. 7-ranked Grizzlies in a key league clash.

LSU defensive lineman Ali Gaye celebrates after a turnover by Missouri during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
Community roundup: E-W grad Gaye to return for final season at LSU

Also, nominations for the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2022 start Tuesday.

Prep results for Tuesday, Jan. 25

Prep results for Tuesday, Jan. 25: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Arlington’s Keira Marsh gos for a layup against Snohomish on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 at Arlington High School. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Arlington girls fend off Snohomish in pivotal league showdown

The Eagles ride their defense to a 57-44 win over the Panthers in a clash of 3A state top-five teams.

Olen Zellweger
Tips prevail during light week despite being short-handed due to COVID

Three players tested positive for COVID before Everett’s only game, but the Tips still won 5-3.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Jan. 17-23

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Jan. 17-23. Voting closes at… Continue reading

The Shorecrest bench reacts to a missed shot in the final seconds of regular time to send the game against Arlington to overtime on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 in Arlington, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Wave of cancellations wreaking havoc on winter prep sports

‘It’s just been so hard’: Canceled games and program shutdowns have been commonplace for local teams.

Most Read