These are the Mariners' most likely trade chips
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- The Mariners are taking an aggressive approach this offseason, as general manager Jerry Dipoto will consider trading several of the team's veterans.
According to a source, Seattle could trade a number of its key players, though Mitch Haniger, Edwin Diaz and Marco Gonzales are apparently not among those that could be moved.
"It moved around the industry very quickly," one executive said of the Mariners' intentions.
James Paxton, Jean Segura and Mike Zunino figure to be the three most talked-about names given their age, positions and contractual situations.
"Any team would want Paxton," another executive said. "Seattle's farm system isn't very good; Paxton is the kind of player that can help rebuild a system quickly."
The White Sox did just that with the Chris Sale trade two years ago, while the Yankees did the same with their July 2016 trades of relievers Andrew Miller and Albertin Chapman.
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Haniger (entering his age-28 season) and Diaz (entering his age-25 season) would probably bring back a large haul of prospects if the Mariners chose to move either or both, but Seattle sees both players as key players in its future. Neither Haniger nor Diaz are even eligible for arbitration yet, leaving them under club control through the 2022 season.
"I don't know why they wouldn't move Diaz," a third executive said. "Haniger makes sense, but as good as Diaz is, you can always get a closer later. He's young, he's dominant and they could probably get a ton for him."
Here's a look at the three players most likely to be moved and what their markets could look like:
James Paxton, LHP
Paxton, a left-hander who turned 30 on Tuesday, is under club control for two more seasons, arbitration-eligible in both 2019 and '20. He went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 28 starts last season, throwing a career-high 160 1/3 innings.
Paxton made headlines early in the season, striking out 16 batters against Oakland on May 2 and throwing a no-hitter against Toronto in his next start. Paxton also had a memorable encounter with an eagle in early April.
A back issue, a line drive off Paxton's pitching arm and a case of pneumonia limited him to only eight starts after July 12, continuing an injury history that has included a strained lat muscle, a torn tendon in his middle finger, a bruised elbow, a strained forearm and a strained pectoral muscle -- all since 2014.
Still, Paxton's talent would make him the object of nearly every team's desire, giving the Mariners a prime trade chip.
Possible suitors: Yankees, Astros, Braves, Brewers
Jean Segura, SS
A shortstop entering his age-29 season in 2019, Segura had his second All-Star campaign in 2018, hitting .304/.341/.415 with 10 home runs, 63 RBIs, 20 stolen bases and 91 runs scored in 144 games.
Segura is entering the second season of the five-year, $70 million extension he signed with the Mariners in June 2017; he has four years and $61 million remaining on the contract. The deal includes a full no-trade clause, but perhaps he would be willing to waive it to move to a contender -- or if his new team was willing to guarantee his $17 million option for '23.
Several teams are expected to make a run at Manny Machado this offseason, so perhaps Segura could serve as a Plan B for those that miss out on him.
Possible suitors: Phillies, Twins, Yankees
Mike Zunino, C
Zunino, a catcher entering his age-28 season, is an inconsistent offensive player, though he's hit 20 or more home runs in each of the past two seasons and is a solid defensive presence behind the plate. He has two years of club control remaining, as he's arbitration-eligible in 2019 and '20.
Several teams are searching for help at catcher, giving Dipoto a number of options for a potential trade. Wilson Ramos, Yasmani Grandal and Kurt Suzuki are all free agents, but Zunino would provide another alternative to spending on the free-agent market.
Potential suitors: Rays, Mets, Nationals, Braves