Mariners have wait-and-see attitude on trades

BY foxsports • July 2, 2009

The Mariners, running a close third in the American League West, will probably wait about two weeks before moving definitively on the trade market.

Already, though, they have engaged in preliminary discussions with the Padres about third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, according to one source with knowledge of the talks.

The person added that the chances for a deal — at this point, at least — are not strong. But San Diego officials have made clear to other clubs that Kouzmanoff is available.

Seattle has an obvious need at third base, now that Adrian Beltre is on the disabled list while recovering from surgery to remove bone spurs in his left shoulder. A lack of power in the lineup has been perhaps the team's greatest shortcoming this year, and Kouzmanoff is second on the Padres with 10 home runs.

The Mariners' performance between now and the All-Star break will be a big determining factor in whether first-year general manager Jack Zduriencik looks outside the organization for Beltre's near-term replacement.

Kouzmanoff is particularly intriguing because he would be a dual-purpose acquisition: He is a power threat capable of handling the everyday job now, and he could conceivably become Seattle's third baseman in 2010 if Beltre, a prospective free agent, doesn't return.

In that respect, Seattle officials could trade for Kouzmanoff without taking a clear buy/sell stance. And since he's earning close to the league minimum, Kouzmanoff would be a less complicated acquisition than Colorado's Garrett Atkins. Ty Wigginton of the Orioles is also available.

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