CLEVELAND ---As Thursday's 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, the Mariners remain in conversations on multiple fronts as general manager Jack Zduriencik looks at available options to help his club contend for a playoff berth.
The Mariners have most of their top baseball people in Cleveland, where Zduriencik and his staff are working the phones and waiting to see what possibilities shake out in the final hours.
Zduriencik and assistant general manager Jeff Kingston are with the team, along with pro scouting director Tom Allison, Minor League director Chris Gwynn and amateur scouting director Tom McNamara.
Zduriencik has been talking to GMs around the league for the past few months to set the stage for potential Trade Deadline deals and the Mariners have been linked to numerous players. The most likely addition would be a right-handed-hitting outfielder, given the team's need for offense and a balance to the lefty-leaning lineup manager Lloyd McClendon has been using most of the season.
Thus, veterans like Marlon Byrd (Phillies), Dayan Viciedo (White Sox), Drew Stubbs (Rockies), Alex Rios (Rangers), Chris Denorfia (Padres) and Justin Ruggiano (Cubs) have been mentioned as possibilities, along with the higher-priced Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. Cubs utility man Emilio Bonifacio was the latest name to emerge, as the 29-year-old can play center field as well as shortstop or second base.
It seems less likely that the Mariners would give up prospects to improve a pitching staff that already leads the American League in earned run average. The Mariners have made one trade so far, acquiring designated hitter Kendrys Morales from the Twins for reliever Stephen Pryor last week, with the hope of improving an offense that ranks near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories despite the club's 55-51 record going into Wednesday's game.
McClendon has been involved with the talks with Zduriencik and his staff, but insists he's not getting too caught up in that.
"I'm focused on what I've got," McClendon said. "That's the only way you can operate."