Mariners keep Jason Vargas at trade deadline | Notebook
It seems the Mariners will wait until the winter to make impact moves, like a package of pitchers for a major league bat.
Seattle Times staff reporter
For all the calls he kept taking, none of them made Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik want to keep talking.
At least, not long enough to make it past Tuesday's 1 p.m. PT deadline for non-waiver trades to be finalized. And with that decision, the Mariners effectively stood their ground, content to let their two trades of the prior night and last week's swap of Ichiro constitute their only moves.
"There are certainly general managers calling and wanting to talk about different things," Zduriencik said. "But I thought that we were in a position now, where you're not in a position to give players away. And you're just not going to do that. And if there's not a real nice match, then I wasn't motivated to do something that would take away from where we're currently at."
That stance means the Mariners will keep starting pitcher Jason Vargas through to next season and perhaps extend him to a longer deal for less money per year than he'd get in a 2013 arbitration settlement. They will also be hanging on to all of their younger prospects and players — Tom Wilhelmsen, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen, to name a few — that have attracted interest from other teams.
The Mariners could still move some other pieces by the Aug. 31 deadline to make trades in which players would have to pass through waivers first. This would apply mainly to players with a hefty contract, like Chone Figgins, where the team would be dumping him for salary and not care whether he is claimed or not.
But as far as the potential for larger, more impact moves, like a package of young and old pitchers for a major-league bat, the Mariners will have to wait until the winter.
The Mariners did complete two minor deals Monday night, acquiring outfielder Eric Thames from Toronto for relief pitcher Steve Delabar and shipping Brandon League to the Dodgers for a minor-league outfielder and closer.
Thames joined the team Tuesday from Toronto's Class AAA affiliate. He'll see time in the outfield corners, primarily against right-handed pitchers for now.
"I'm excited," said Thames, who was hitting .330 with an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .935 in AAA. "We've got two months left, this is a building year for this organization, and I'm excited to get to know these players and this team and be a driving force with them."
Thames spent 46 games with the Blue Jays this season before the AAA stint.
• Also arriving Tuesday were flamethrowing relief pitchers Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor, who arrived from AAA. Pryor was up for a June stint before straining his groin. Capps appeared in only one AAA game this week before the Mariners decided his 100 mph stuff could cut it in the majors.
• Zduriencik said he didn't feel pressure to answer deadline moves made by the Texas Rangers or Los Angeles Angels to "keep up" with division opponents.
"They're in a completely different situation than we are," Zduriencik said. "Financially, number one.
"... But let's not kid anybody. We knew what we were going into this year. I don't think there was a point in time where we said anything where we were misleading anybody. We were here trying to build this club, build this foundation, get young kids up here to play, and take the lumps and bumps."
• Class AAA pitcher Danny Hultzen will have his workload eased the final month of the minor-league schedule so as to not overdo it in his first pro season.