If the Mariners were to make a blockbuster trade, the only Mariner that could bring immediate help would be Felix Hernandez, the King himself. There will be plenty of suitors in the offseason. The question is how big of a carrott will be dangled in front of Trader Jack.
Felix would be impossible to replace, but if a trade were made, at least one pitcher would have to part of the package, along with a first baseman, shortstop, and outfielder. I do not care to speculate on what teams would call the Mariners, nor what players would be offered. It is a futile exercise.
If the offer was good enough, it would be hard to turn down-if the front office wants to win. Is it more important to see King Felix in a Mariner uniform or to see the team start to win?
Justin Vargas will be a free agent. The Mariners should sign him if the price is right. He is a solid number two at 14-11, 3.94. If he walks the Mariners will be hard pressed to replace him. Kevin Millwood is unlikely to return. The rotation, short of a trade, would be filled from Blake Beavan, currently 10-10, 4.64; Hisashi Iwakuma, 7-5, 3.41; Erasmo Ramirez, 1-3, 3.42; or Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, two minor leaguers who could make the rotation with a good spring.
It is clear the Mariners rotation for next season must be addressed. There could be major shakeups and with the Mariners lack of offense, they must have strong starting pitching.
The bullpen looks exciting. Tom Wilhelmsen has proven he is a closer. They have exciting young arms like Steve Pryor, Carter Capps, and Lucas Luetge. Charlie Furbush and Oliver Perez are two lefties who have been effective and should come back. That would be the core of the bullpen. Shawn Kelley at 28 could be the be the old man in the pen. There are also minor league pitchers who will be knocking at the door next spring.
Like every offseason it will be interesting to see what the Mariners will do and how they plan to shape the 2013 team. The MUST get better.