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Mariners Need, and Can Get, a Centerfielder

Spring training couldn't start much worse for the Mariners. Hisashi Iwakuma is injured and won't open up the season with the Mariners. Franklin Gutierrez recently announced he won't play at all in 2014. Mind you both of these pieces of news came out before either player reported to spring training.

Forgive me for my lack of excitement around pitchers and catchers reporting. I only wonder what further horrors are in store once the Mariners actually play ball.

The Mariners roster had flaws before these injuries, but flaws have become open wounds already. The starting rotation really needs Taijuan Walker to step up, and he just might be able to do it. He kind of has to because the outfield is an utter mess that the Mariners would be smart to address.

Right now, the starting outfield is...what exactly? Logan Morrison, Michael Saunders, and Corey Hart? Maybe Dustin Ackley somewhere in there? Regardless, that could very well be the worst defensive outfield in Major League Baseball. What's even worse is that Safeco Field is one of the bigger outfields in the major leagues. I had my fingers crossed that Guti could somehow become the regular center fielder, because his defense alone would have saved the Mariners from a nightmarish scenario. The nightmare is reality as of now though - the Mariners simply aren't going to play outfield defense this year, apparently.*

*I will say that I like Michael Saunders, and I'm okay with him playing centerfield on occasion, or playing center regularly with strong corner defenders. Right now he has to save the entire outfield, and he's simply not Mike Trout out there.

The Mariners need a center fielder and I am convinced they can get one at a decent price. They need to call the Toronto Blue Jays.

Colby Rasmus
Toronto has a pair of center fielders on their roster, Anthony Gose and Colby Rasmus. Gose is unproven but has tremendous speed with questionable hitting ability. Rasmus is a borderline five-tool talent with only one year left before free agency.

The Blue Jays also have some holes up the middle. Ryan Goins is slated to be their opening day second basemen. The Mariners have guys like Dustin Ackley and Nick Franklin who might be able to fill that slot.

There's a deal to be made somewhere in there. Ackley for Gose? Ackley for Rasmus? Maybe the Jays would prefer Nick Franklin? Some other pieces would likely be needed, but the core framework for this deal might work.

The main focus for the Mariners seems to be on Nelson Cruz and getting another power hitter in general, but that outfield defense is the biggest hole on the Mariners roster right now. It can be improved too. Rasmus, as an added bonus, could be the power bat the Mariners want.

I don't like to make hypothetical trades because I don't have any information to really be able to tell what talks are going on or how other teams value Mariner players. I am pretty confident that the Jays and Mariners could find a deal that works for both teams though, and the Mariners look way better with Colby Rasmus or Anthony Gose in centerfield than they do without either of them.