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Seattle Mariners Trade Rumors: Brett Gardner Trade With New York Yankees Close?

Seattle Mariners trade rumors about Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees have surfaced. These Mariners trade rumors indicate that the team could possibly deal James Paxton to the Yankees. A report from Sports Illustrated states that Taijuan Walker has been taken off the table by Seattle after New York expressed interest in the young starting pitcher.

A report in the New York Post also states that discussions have taken place between the Mariners and the Yankees. Baseball analyst Joel Sherman called Brett Gardner a player who Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has liked for quite some time. Sherman writes that the interest goes back to when he was an executive with the Arizona Diamondbacks, even before Dipoto went to the Anaheim Angels.

These Seattle Mariners trade rumors have also been posted on Twitter by baseball analysts Ryan Divish and Buster Olney, suggesting that there is something tangible going on here. The question becomes whether Dipoto is ready to give up a good young pitcher for a corner outfielder without much power. Could Brett Gardner be a good top-of-the-lineup hitter at Safeco Field?

Brett Gardner Makes Great Catch

Last season with the New York Yankees, Brett Gardner was selected to his first All-Star team. He finished the season with a .259 batting average, .343 on-base percentage, and 45 extra base hits to his credit. He stole 20 bases again, making it the sixth season he has had at least 20. Playing in 151 games for the Yankees, Gardner had 656 plate appearances and mostly played left field. He could also play center field and has seen time in right field as well.

At one point, Gardner was considered one of the better defensive outfielders in Major League Baseball. During the 2010 MLB season, he posted a defensive WAR of 3.3, while also batting .277 at the plate. The defense ranked him first in the American League among all position players. He would also be a big step up from what the Mariners have in the outfield currently. As for his numbers in Safeco Field, Gardner has a .276 batting average and .360 on-base percentage over 87 plate appearances there.

Giving up James Paxton could be a tough “sell” for fans of the team after he has shown flashes of brilliance on the mound. It isn’t the first time that Seattle Mariners trade rumors have involved Paxton, but the recent acquisition of Nathan Karns in another trade could mean the team has the ability to deal a starting pitcher now. In 30 career starts, Paxton has a 3.16 ERA and 12-8 record to his name, but he has yet to pitch a full Major League season.

James Paxton Pitches Against Angels

The New York Yankees are looking to add inexpensive pitching and hope that they can acquire youth during the offseason. Clearing a spot in the outfield could also allow the Yankees to pursue a big free agent like Yoenis Cespedes. Clearing Gardner’s salary becomes important, though, as he will make $13.5 million in 2016, $12.5 in 2017, and $11.5 in 2018. There is a team option for $12.5 million in the 2019 MLB season with a $2 million buyout attached.

The catch for the Seattle Mariners is that the team would be adding another left-handed bat to the top of the lineup. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager looked good batting second and third in the batting order, but a trade for Gardner could just bump Seager back to fifth (behind Nelson Cruz). The Mariners could also elect to have Gardner bat ninth in order to have him right before Ketel Marte as the lineup turns over.

Currently, there has been no recognition from the front office in Seattle that discussions have taken place. It could turn out that these Seattle Mariners trade rumors are a smokescreen in New York for the team to lure another buyer. It wouldn’t be the first time, even though Seattle does need to add another outfielder before Spring Training.

[Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]