The perverse (some would say "reverse") logic among non-pennant-contenders, as the Seattle Mariners have been since about early April, may have never been better demonstrated than on Sunday, July 27. Three of the M's oft-mentioned trade-bait guys had stellar games. Those who are unfamiliar with the work of Lewis Carroll would then probably say: "Great! Let's keep 'em!" Instead, as I write this the day of the game, they're as good as gone, probably to New York.
Indeed, the better they play the more likely they are to be swapped before the July 31 trade deadline. Given what we know about M's player commerce the past few seasons, those who leave for other teams will flourish and their replacements will fail. That's why Seattle front-office types had to be gleeful about the performances of an M's trio in effect auditioning during Sunday's game.
Exhibit A: Jarrod Washburn. The lefty, lapse-prone since his 2006 Seattle arrival, tossed one of the most impressive games of his career, giving up just four hits and one earned run in eight innings of the M's 5-1 victory against the Jays. If the Yankees, who are said to covet Washburn (still just 5-9 with a 4.50 earned-run average), didn't consider his pitching gem a deal-closer, there was Exhibit B: Jose Vidro. The one-time 20-plus home-run producer, who became a slap-hitter extraordinaire, is still batting just .226. But one of his two hits was a long ball, certain to impress Yankee skeptics who would accept Go Away Jose as a trade throw-in with Washburn.
Then there was one of the M's most reliable guys, Exhibit C: Raul Ibanez. The left fielder was three for four with a double, raising his average to a playoff-healthy .280, on a pace for 95 runs batted in and 22 home runs. New York Mets managers now no doubt lust after him all the more and, of course, he's considered eminently expendable in Seattle.
The better question given this sort of logic: Who isn't expendable? Last week one might've hastened to say Ichiro Suzuki. But his recent zip-for-14 skein had some wondering whether even the team's all-time work-ethic exemplar might be tiring of a career with a non-playoff team. Others among the untouchables: right-handers Felix Hernandez and Brandon Morrow. And that's it.
Some of us continue to marvel that fan support — based on game attendance, anyway — has remained so high. Maybe it's all part of the same kind of logic alluded to above, something like: "If they're this bad we might as well keep watching because they can't possibly get any worse."