— CONCACAF (@CONCACAF) August 20, 2015
It’s safe to say things haven’t gone exactly as planned this season for the Seattle Sounders.
The Sounders sit sixth in the Western Conference with 35 points. They trail fifth place FC Dallas by three points and are eight behind the first place LA Galaxy.
Much of the team’s current place in the standings has to do with a recent slide that saw the team lose seven of eight games, claiming only three points out of a possible 24. The Sounders recently broke out of that slump in a big way thanks to an Obafemi Martins–fueled 4-0 home win Sunday versus Orlando City SC.
During the game, fellow new additions Nelson Valdez, Erik Friberg and Roman Torres also shined. The relatively new Thomas also showed well. Valdez added a goal of his own on a perfectly executed set-piece while Torres played solid defense at the back while also setting up Thomas’ goal with a deftly-played long ball. Not to be outdone, Friberg handed out an assist and won Man of the Match honors (at least according to WhoScored).
The additions of Valdez, Friberg, Torres and Thomas (likely) bring an end to a busy stretch for the Sounders. The team experienced quite a bit of turnover after last season’s triumphs. DeAndre Yedlin, Jalil Anibaba, Djimi Traore, Kenny Cooper, Josh Ford and Marcus Hahnemann were among the team’s more notable departures. Indirectly replacing them in the first team are not only the aforementioned quartet, but also Tyrone Mears, Cristian Roldan, Troy Perkins and fellow new arrival (though he didn’t play against Orlando) Andreas Ivanschitz. Younger players Oniel Fisher, Darwin Jones and Andy Craven were also added.
What has been crucial (at least when you consider the future) is that the team was able to keep its core together while also adding pieces that may end up being members of that core moving forward. This meant keeping the band (i.e. Martins, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Stefan Frei and Osvaldo Alonso) together. Going on Sunday’s result alone, it would seem that Valdez, Friberg and Torres are all going to have large parts to play in Seattle’s success. Ivanschitz could also join that group. After all, you aren’t dubbed the Austrian David Beckham for nothing.
The Sounders will be hoping that this newly formed team will be able to go places and achieve things (cough…MLS Cup…cough) that no other Sounders incarnation has. With all the talent assembled, its safe to say the fans will be doing a great deal of hoping as well.
Interested in Seattle Sports? Head on over to Kingdome of Seattle Sports.
The Seattle Mariners came into the season with a realistic chance at contending. They added Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith to an offense that already features Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. The team also brought back many of the same standout pitchers that helped propel the team on the mound.
Things haven’t gone as planned.
Only the white-flag waiving Oakland Athletics sit below Seattle in the American League West, so it may be time for the team to trade some pieces.
The team isn’t going into full rebuild mode, but rather “reload” mode. Expiring contracts who aren’t likely to stick around are some of the more likely players to be dealt. Consistently underperforming players should be shopped as well. In other words, Felix Hernandez, Cano and the rest of the team’s core aren’t going anywhere.
Here are some of the players who could be traded.
Logan Morrison, 1B
First base is a power position—or rather, players with a significant of power/run-driving in ability play there. Presenting Logan Morrison, a first baseman with only 12 home runs and a paltry .222 batting average and a .665 OPS.
Seattle should be selling teams on Morrison being a quality bench bat, because he hasn’t worked so far as a Mariner. The former Miami Marlin owns a .242 batting average and 23 home runs in 193 games with the M’s. That’s simply not cutting it, especially for a team in need of offensive-minded players.
Austin Jackson, CF
This one is tough. Jackson has the potential to be an impact offensive player, as well as a plus defender, but like Morrison he hasn’t hit in Seattle. Throw in his impending free agent status at the end of the season and you have two prime reasons to deal the former Detroit Tiger.
The M’s did well to acquire Jackson for Nick Franklin, but the centerfielder has struggled in the Emerald City. He entered Seattle as a career .277 hitter. This has translated to a disappointing .243 batting average and .598 OPS with the M’s.
He’s likely going to cost a good deal of money, so Seattle would be best off trading him for a good (but probably not great) return, and invest in another centerfielder in free agency.
J.A. Happ, Hisashi Iwakuma SP
Another impending free agent, J.A. Happ has been solid for the Mariners this season. He owns a quality 3.77 FIP (second lowest to Felix on the team) and has been a stabling presence in the rotation.
Iwakuma, on the other hand, hasn’t posted the numbers that saw him net Cy Young and MVP votes in 2013. He hasn’t posted the numbers that helped him win 15 games and post a sub-4 ERA/FIP (3.52, 3.25) last season.
Still, Seattle needs to make room in the rotation. Felix is an obvious lock and Taijuan Walker, Mike Montgomery, James Paxton and Roenis Elias aren’t going to fit into three spots. As it stands, the team’s rotation in four years is going to be Felix and the previously mentioned four. It’s plausible to keep Iwakuma around for another year or two, but he would bring much more in a trade than Happ given his track record. Seattle should be actively shopping Happ, while listening on Iwakuma.
Fernando Rodney, RP
This one is obvious. Rodney has been abysmal out of the bullpen for the Mariners, and dealing him will free up more innings for relievers like Vidal Nuno and Tom Wilhelmsen. Rodney is a free agent at season’s end, so the team should trade him for whatever they can get. Carson Smith, Mark Lowe, Joe Beimel and a soon-to-be-healthy Charlie Furbish leave the team with enough quality relievers so that Rodney wouldn’t be missed.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.