Mariners beat writer Geoff Baker has a new blog post up this morning about the team's trade candidates. In a well thought-out piece, Baker names Arthur Rhodes, Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, Raul Ibanez, and Adrian Beltre as the most likely to go (in that order). A few highlights from the post:
- Solid lefty relievers are available - mainly Brian Fuentes and Damaso Marte. But the price is reportedly high for both, leaving the 38 year-old Rhodes as a fine alternative. Plus, the '08 Mariners can live without him.
- Baker indicates that both Bedard and the Mariners favor a trade. However, Baker believes Bedard will have to take the mound at least one more time and maybe twice before the deadline to satisfy a suitor. Bedard is said to be 50/50 to make his July 22nd start.
- Washburn has about $14.4MM left on his contract, which runs through '09 with limited no-trade protection. The M's would trade him for salary relief rather than prospects.
- Ibanez and Beltre are down on Baker's list because he believes the team owes it to the fans not to put a Triple A offense on the field. While neither player has an .800 OPS, trading either without a big league replacement could lead to an even more embarrassing second half. Additionally, the Mariners like Ibanez's leadership skills. Baker finds the Beltre-to-Twins idea improbable. Interesting note: Beltre is thought to want to return to the L.A. area when his contract ends.
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