Both the Red Sox and the Yankees have glaring needs in the bullpen and the Mariners have the goods. With Bill Bavasi's off the hook, he has focused his attention on maximizing the value of a couple very valuable pieces of the Mariners puzzle.
Eddie Guardado's trade value is beginning to skyrocket due to several reasons. First, he is a top five MLB closer with a proven track record of success. Despite his lack of an overpowering fastball, Guardado has been dominant in 2005. The numbers don't lie - 1.55 ERA, a four to one K to BB ratio and an opponents batting average of .173. Additionally, he's a lefty, and maybe most importantly, the Red Sox are in dire need of a closer due to Keith Foulke's recent placement on the disabled list. The Mariners hope these factors will drive up "Every Day Eddie's" market value immensely.
Ron Villone is another valuable piece of trade bait for the Mariners. As a versatile lefty with an above average fastball, the Mariners have two of the most valuable commodities at the deadline.
Do names like Melky Cabrera, Jon Lester or Henley Ramirez ring a bell? The players the M's will most likely receive in exchange for veteran players are going to be mostly unrecognizable, borderline top prospects unless quality MLB starters are available (highly unlikely this time of year.)
The Mariners are in a position to deal Guardado for top shelf prospects, while Ron Villone and Randy Winn should also net solid MLB prospects. Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Jeff Nelson could bring decent prospects as well. As far as Jamie Moyer's trade value goes, word around the league is that the Mariners would have to eat much of his salary to move him and it is unlikely he will net anything in return.
Adam Dunn, Cincinnati Reds, outfielder
Why he would be a good fit? Dunn possesses a massive left handed bat and serviceable glove. His $4.6 million salary is reasonable, and he would give the lineup such much needed pop, though he and Richie Sexson could end up striking out more than the rest of the team combined.
Why he wouldn't fit? Dunn is on pace to strike out 180 times. Range in left field is merely mediocre. Still, if he's available the Mariners would be foolish to not at least place a phone call for one of the top young sluggers in the game.
Why might the M's have a shot at the Reds' biggest bat? A bevy of middle infield and MLB ready catching talent, that's why.
Why might the M's not have a shot? The relationship between the Mariners and Reds has been strained since the Griffey deal, though Bavasi wasn't around when the deal went down. The Reds are also looking primarily for pitching prospects in return, which the Mariners currently can't offer.
Jacque Jones, Minnesota Twins, outfielder
Why he would be a good fit? Another left handed hitter with loads of raw talent, though he would need to be willing to permanently switch to left. Could hit 25-30+ home runs if he can develop some patience, though the Twins have been waiting for that for years.
Why might he not fit? Jones is prone to prolonged slumps and will swing at just about anything. He is currently in his prime and has yet to fulfill his vast potential.
Why might the M's have a shot? The Twins understand the value of quality prospects and could use a back-up for injury prone phenom, Joe Mauer.
Why might the M's not have a shot? The M's are looking to acquire young players in it for the long haul, and Jones is probably not a good long-term answer.
Aubrey Huff, Tampa Bay, outfielder
Why might he would be a good fit? Huff is a left-handed bat with power and a solid batting average and is getting too expensive for the Devil Rays to carry him much longer. Huff is willing to move positions for the betterment of the team and would probably be willing to DH as well as play left field.
Why might he nott fit? Huff's stroke seems to have lost some power this season and his sweet swing doesn't seem as fluid. Does he still have it?
Why might the M's have a shot? Tampa Bay loves to trade for prospects. It's the only thing the organization is good at and Huff is getting to be too expensive to play in Tampa Bay.
Why the M's don't have a shot? Bidding may be high for Huff's services.
Joe Kennedy, Colorado Rockies, left-handed starter
Why he would be a good fit? Kennedy is a rising star in Colorado, though he has struggled this season. Has a good fastball and a solid change. He also features a 12-6 breaking ball that he only throws away from the thin air at Coors Field. He's young, though somewhat expensive (2.2 million in 05'), which is why the Rockies could make him available. Also, he destroys left-handed hitters.
Why might he not fit? His stellar 2004 Colorado debut may have been a fluke, and had three so-so years in Tampa Bay before moving to the Rockies. He lacks confidence in his curve ball though anyone would at Coors.
Why might the M's have a shot? The Rockies are regular trade partners with the Mariners and have a great relationship with the front office.
Why might he not be a fit? The Rockies will be reluctant to trade a pitcher who has had good success at Coors.
With Felix's return to the mound on the horizon, how long can the shortstops hold onto the top spot…