As we explore the possible trade partners for the San Diego Padres, we turn towards the Seattle Mariners. After the Padres split the two game series with the Mariners the team heads back home to play the Washington Nationals in an important National League match-up.
The San Diego Padres are well aware of the lack of offensive production from the short stop position. Alexi Amarista has been above average defensively, but has struggled at times this season to have quality at bats. He presently owns a .183 batting average with a .302 on base percentage. The lowly batting average is troubling but Amarista has walked more this season. A positive sign, but the low average and prolonged slumps eliminate him from being a viable starting shortstop in the major leagues. That’s just a fact.
With all that being said the Seattle Mariners have two decent options available at short stop. Brad Miller and Chris Taylor are both quality shortstops in very different ways. Taylor is known for his superior range and decent but work-in-progress bat. Miller is known for offense while defensively he is adequate but not superior. In my eyes both would be an upgrade over Amarista. Not a huge upgrade, but still an upgrade.
The Mariners are very much in the thick of things and both players are important members of their team. Miller is currently hitting .239 with one homer and nine RBI’s in 30 games and 92 at bats. He started the year as the Mariners shortstop while Taylor was healing from a broken wrist he suffered in spring training. Miller logged in 219 inning at short early this season and made four errors resulting in a .963 fielding percentage. That is average for a major league shortstop so far this season.
The right-handed hitting Taylor returned last week and has played six games. He is hitting .182 with seven strike outs in 22 at bats. The 24-year-old shortstop is returning from a wrist injury, so it may take him some time to get back into form. Last season for the Mariners, Taylor hit .287 in 136 at bats while providing exceptional defense. The former 5th round pick in 2012 has a quality major league glove.
The left-handed hitting Miller is a better fit for the Padres, though his defense will not improve the teams overall defense. The Mariners are desperate for relief help and there is even word the team might bring in free agent pitcher Rafael Soriano who remains unsigned. The names of Joaquin Benoit, Dale Thayer, Shawn Kelley and even Robbie Erlin could be of serious interest to them.
For any deal to happen the Padres would have to be really impressed with what they see from either Miller or Taylor. To move a valuable closer, the Padres would probably want a young minor league pitcher in return. The Mariners and Padres have a quality working relationship. Both teams share the complex in Peoria Arrizona during spring training. The two teams have also come together recently on trades.
Most recently Brandon Maurer was acquired from the Mariners for Seth Smith. The two teams could conceivably match up on a deal but it would have to be beneficial to both teams. The Padres can most definitely fuel the relief pitching need of the Mariners, but it’s really a matter if the Padres view Miller or Taylor as a shortstop of every day ability. A more interesting option from the Mariners is Ketel Marte. The 20-year old shortstop has been on the fast track since being signed in August of 2010.
The switch-hitting Marte is currently in AAA Tacoma and hitting .346 with 12 stolen bases in 33 games and 136 plate appearances. He is described as a quality major league talent. Marte has the range and hands to play in the major leagues right now, however his arm is deemed a little weak and inconsistent. Though at the age of 20, he can easily improve his arm strength with hard work. Marte does have speed and his bat is improving every year. At 6 ‘ 1”, Marte has great size for a shortstop. He could blossom into a major league regular with a little more cultivating.
Marte would be a nice addition to the Padres, but to count on him to perform right away at the major league level is unfair. A.J. Preller is more than aware of Marte and what he brings to the table. He could be an interesting choice for the Padres as they look for a future shortstop. Marte can bat lead-off, he has exceptional defensive ability and he is a switch hitter. Sounds like a great combination and exactly what the Padres need to fill out their roster.
There will be a trade and more likely a series of trades. The Padres are going to make moves one way or another. A.J. Preller has already indicated that the current roster is in no way what the team will look like when it comes to September. He is currently evaluated, as in reality, he has only been on the job for nine months. I personally cannot wait to see what he comes up with next.