Mariners rumors: Seattle seeking another starter through trade or free agency

USA TODAY Sports

Taijuan Walker could miss the beginning of the season, and the M's were already missing a veteran in the middle of their rotation.

With the recent news of Taijuan Walker's setback and Hisashi Iwakuma's finger injury the Mariners appear to have shifted their primary focus to adding another starting pitcher, as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. The team was reportedly considering a deal for free agent slugger Nelson Cruz earlier this week, but the question marks in the rotation have caused the team to begin considering external options.

Cruz could still be a target. The effect on the team's interest in Cruz is "unclear," according to Rosenthal.

Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez are the most prominent free agents remaining. Both of them will cost Seattle a draft pick, but their first rounder is protected and they already surrendered their second-round pick to sign Robinson Cano. A third-round pick is still a significant ancillary cost -- especially considering that they would lose the slot money assigned to the pick as well -- but the Mariners don't have many other choices.

Santana and Jimenez have been languishing on the open market now for months. The discounted contracts they might accept at this point might be enough for the M's to consider taking the draft-neutering plunge.

As far as the trade market goes, Seattle has been linked to Rays ace David Price this offseason, but Tampa Bay has been operating as if they intend to keep the former Cy Young winner as they attempt to get the cowbells ringing again in 2014.

Seattle could have some trouble finding a significant number of trade partners this close to the season. Many clubs have already begun their camps this spring, and don't appear to be in a position where they would consider moving an impact starter.

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