Fix needed: M's have 4 pitchers to trade

Normally, you would never consider trading good pitching, even when you have it to spare like the M's do. But these aren't normal times.

Much to my surprise, no one has taken seriously the obvious two "solutions" (detailed here earlier this week) to the Seattle Mariners' woes — this after yet another two losses during this 0-6 home stand. Short of changing the team moniker to one syllable, then, or acquiring Paul Konerko (the White Sox slugger now leads the M's in dingers 12 to 10), how 'bout the more conventional approach toward an upgrade:

Package and trade players.

Nobody here worth trading, you say. This is an easy conclusion to draw, given a club second to last in the majors in team batting average (.230) and runs scored (91 in 28 games, which averages ... you do the math).

In fact, the Mariners organization has four pitchers who are doing little if anything for the big-league club but who could immediately help any number of other teams and might even bring the offensive bling the M's desperately need.

Perhaps the best of the four is Erik Bedard, said when he was acquired two seasons ago to be the miracle lefty of every G.M.'s dreams. Recovering from well-reported injuries, Bedard has been making rapid progress toward returning to a rotation-caliber performance level. But the M's already have three superb starters and two more who are capable. The team doesn't need more starting pitching or, put differently, the M's need so much more than that just now.

Then there's Ian Snell. He was the odd man out of the starting rotation when Cliff Lee joined the team a week ago. Snell has been solid if not spectacular and is certain to interest teams not nearly deep enough in starting pitching.

The third and fourth on the skein of trade bait are playing for Tacoma. Garrett Olson's earned-run average isn’t impressive but the relatively young (26) lefty actually lowered the stat last year after arriving in Seattle from Baltimore. Some of his spring outings in triple-A surely have been impressive enough to interest rival-team execs.

Then there's Luke French. The brawny 24-year-old right-hander is 4-0 for Tacoma after having thrown eight innings of five-hit, one-run ball Thursday (May 6). His e this season is just 1.35.

Under normal circumstances no general manager (short of, say, the unlamented former M's front-office boss Bill Bavasi) would even consider dealing any of the above.

Anybody who believes the current condition of the Mariners constitutes normalcy obviously hasn't toted up the six-game home-stand run count. It's nine in four games because the other two were shutouts.

Since 1994 Senior Lecturer Mike Henderson, a veteran writer and editor for The Times, Post-Intelligencer, (Everett) Herald, Seattle Weekly and Crosscut, has been a member of the faculty of the University of Washington Department of Communication. He considers himself to be the only journalist ever to interview actor Gene Hackman inside San Quentin prison while wearing a pair of Hackman's pants. He can be reached at mikh48@hotmail.com.


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