Blue Jays: The American League teams most likely to come calling in trade talks

TORONTO, ON - MAY 24: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim arrives safely at second base in the eighth inning during MLB game action as Devon Travis #29 of the Toronto Blue Jays cannot handle the throw at Rogers Centre on May 24, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 24: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim arrives safely at second base in the eighth inning during MLB game action as Devon Travis #29 of the Toronto Blue Jays cannot handle the throw at Rogers Centre on May 24, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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SEATTLE, WA – JUNE 14: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after a pitch in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field on June 14, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA – JUNE 14: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after a pitch in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field on June 14, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

Seattle Mariners

Speaking of the Mariners, they’re the next team that I’d like to take a look at as a possible trade partner for the Blue Jays. As I mentioned on the last page, the Mariners have been playing some excellent baseball lately, currently 44-24 and at the top of the AL West standings. They’ve even passed the Astros, so at this point if you’re not taking them seriously, then you’re not paying attention.

I do think they’ll come back to earth a little bit though, which is one of the reasons I could see them as serious buyers at this year’s deadline. They’ve got a veteran laden roster and the longest absence streak from the playoffs in baseball, so the hunger is there for the Mariners and their front office to be aggressive.

Their offence is actually pretty solid, and will be even better once Robinson Cano comes back from his 80 game suspension later this season. Barring injuries, the team should be pretty covered in that area, other than a possible tweak here or there. I would expect their focus to be squarely on the rotation, and them to be another team with eyes for J.A. Happ’s services.

Beyond the Canadian-born James Paxton, the Mariners really don’t have a lot of upside in their rotation, even when you include Felix Hernandez’s name value. They’ve had a serviceable effort from the group that includes Mike Leake, Wade Leblanc, Marco Gonzales, but going into a playoff series with the Houston, Boston, or Cleveland would be an immediate disadvantage. Adding Happ to the top of the group would be a big, and important upgrade for their chances.

It’s possible the market could take awhile to play out, but if i were to put my money on the most aggressive team this summer, I’m going to guess it’ll be the Mariners. They already brought in Denard Span and Alex Colome in a deal with the Rays, and I’d be really surprised if they were done.