Jul 5, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins left fielder Josh Willingham (16) celebrates his home run in the 7th inning to tie the New York Yankees at Target Field. The Twins win 2-1 in 11 innings. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners Trade Rumors: Josh Willingham, Alex Rios could be targets

The MLB Trade Deadline is just around the corner which means we’re going to start hearing more and more rumors about players switching teams to help contenders or be assets in a fire sale. The Seattle Mariners usually aren’t buyers at the deadline but their upswing this year has given them hope they can make the postseason and they’re shopping for some right-handed hitting to help them out.

Recent reports have suggested that Marlon Byrd is high on the M’s list of players they’d want to acquire at the deadline but he has them on his no-trade list which complicates matters a bit.

According to Jon Heyman from CBSSports.com, the Mariners hunt for right-handed hitting could lead them down a path that sees them target Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham or the hot bat of Alex Rios from the Texas Rangers.

Seattle may prefer a player on an expiring contract anyway, and Willingham is a free agent after the year and Rios a team option for a reasonable $12 million. Willingham is expected to hit the market after the All-Star Game in Minnesota, and Rios could be part of a selloff by star-crossed Texas, which has been decimated by injuries. However, with that team option and an expectation to contend next year, Texas may be reluctant to part with Rios.

Either player seems like they’d be a fit for the Mariners as Rios provides a hot bat at the moment while Willingham is a power hitter that Seattle could slide into their lineup and improve right away. Both have contracts that the Mariners wouldn’t be married to beyond this season which is also a big plus in acquiring either one.

Seattle may stand pat at the deadline as well, but they’re no doubt looking at their options and a trade happening wouldn’t be the most shocking thing ever,.

Tags: Minnesota Twins Seattle Mariners Texas Rangers

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