The Mariners have been connected to Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for quite some time. Seattle was reportedly interested in Jeff Samardzija in the off-season and the Sun-Times reported two weeks ago that Seattle was the likely landing spot for Jason Hammel at some point before the July 31 trade deadline.
Jon Heyman reported Wednesday morning that the “Mariners have been in fairly frequent contact” with the Cubs and “the two players most connected to Seattle trade talks are pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.”
It is unclear what direction Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik will go before the deadline. The Mariners are said to need offense, but the Mariners have been connected heavily to Jeff Samardzija and David Price for months and most recently to Jason Hammel. Zduriencik admitted he is “wide open” and “if something makes sense” that would help his club get better he would consider it.
The Mariners are six games over .500 for first time since 2009 (prior to Wednesday’s game), there is a lot of pressure on Zduriencik to deliver a winner and for Seattle to participate in the post-season.
Zduriencik is hesitant to “part with top young pitchers Taijuan Walker and James Paxton” according to Jon Heyman. Walker is back on the mound after dealing with injuries this season and threw a complete game shutout in his last start for Triple-A Tacoma. Prior to his last outing, with one exception, Walker has really struggled at the Triple-A level this season. In 30 2/3 innings over six starts for Triple-A Tacoma, Walker has allowed 22 hits with 10 walks and 29 strikeouts. Walker gave up four hits over nine innings in his last start (June 24) with one walk and eight strikeouts.
In regards to Taijuan Walker being part of the Mariners’ future, Jack Zduriencik said, “He’s going to be around for a number of years, and if you think he’s the real deal … we’re not selling the farm. We’re not doing anything foolish.”
Jack Zduriencik “mentioned the organization has done too much of that in the past to emphasize Walker and Paxton very likely aren’t going anywhere” according to Heyman’s report.
The Mariners are not the only team in the AL West that has been connected to Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The Angels are also thought to be interested in both Samardzija and Hammel. And Jerry DiPoto might be able to scrape together enough for Jason Hammel but he would figure to fall short in the high end pitching prospects it would take to acquire Jeff Samardzija.