Mariners open to more moves before Deadline
GM Zduriencik says team is active in discussions
MINNEAPOLIS -- After dealing outfielder Dustin Ackley to the Yankees on Thursday, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said discussions continue on other fronts as well, as Friday's 1 p.m. PT Trade Deadline approaches.
The Mariners entered Thursday's play 10 games under .500, so they are a prime target to move impending free agents in order to add prospective help for the future. Veteran pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma, J.A. Happ, Fernando Rodney and Mark Lowe fall into that category, as does center fielder Austin Jackson.
"There's always a lot of dialogue with everyone at this time," Zduriencik said. "You never know where any of them will go. We'll just see how things play out. There are some clubs out there that have interest in our players and we have interest in players. But that doesn't mean anything is absolutely going to happen."
Iwakuma might be the Mariners biggest trade chip as numerous teams are pursuing starting pitching for the stretch run. There have been reports the Mariners aren't interested in moving Iwakuma, but Zduriencik said he's open to offers.
"I know from a personal standpoint, he likes it in Seattle and probably would like to stay," Zduriencik said. "Every discussion I've had with him or his agent, this is a very desirable place for him. But we will entertain discussions and see where that takes us. And that's with all our players, not just him. We'll entertain discussions on a lot of players. Some we have no desire to trade, others we'll listen and it would have to be the right move."
Ackley won't be a free agent until 2018, but the Mariners moved him for two young prospects -- outfielder Ramon Flores and right-hander Jose Ramirez -- who have six years of team control remaining.
"We got a kid we think is a really nice little baseball player in Flores," said Zduriencik. "He's kind of a really knowledgeable, gamer-type kid and that made a lot of sense to us. And we got a big power arm in Ramirez who throws in the mid-to-upper 90s. We thought going forward we could add two pieces that could very well help our club either immediately or certainly in the near future and that was the right move to make."
Ackley was Zduriencik's first Draft pick in Seattle, the second overall selection in the 2009 Draft, but he said that didn't make it harder to deal him now.
"Not at all. I don't view it that way and never have," he said. "I respect and like our players. The first player chosen is no different than the third player chosen that year, who happened to be Kyle Seager. You do the best you can. I've been in this thing long enough to know there are heartbreaks with people at the top of the draft and surprises with people you take lower. At the end, you just have to do what's best for the organization.
"In this case, we thanked Dustin for everything he's done for the organization and we wish him the very best in New York. He's a good young man. He's given it his best, it just didn't work the way he hoped or the way we hoped here. That said, he's going to a really good hitter's ballpark, it's a left-handed hitter's paradise there. Maybe he gets a spark. At the end of the day, we hope he does well and the players we got in return do well."