Are Mariners up to something big?

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The Mariners’ acquisition of Jack Wilson and Ian Snell from the Pirates for five players, including former No. 3 overall pick Jeff Clement, puzzled many.

In appearance, the trade makes Seattle look like a buyer, when at 7.5 back in the AL West and 6.5 back in the wild card, it might seem more prudent to be a seller.

But Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times thinks that the Mariners might have something else up their sleeve:

Here’s another reason why this move might have been made. We’ll know by Friday if it was the reason. And that is the idea that perhaps the Mariners now have another deal in the works, a much bigger one involving Washburn, where they can land a top young shortstop prospect.

One problem with this idea is that the market for Washburn seems to be shrinking. The Brewers’ recent fade may have convinced them to pull out of the market altogether. Same for the Rays. The Phillies, obviously, don’t need him.

That leaves who? The Yankees, perhaps. The Rangers? Not so likely seeing as how the teams are in the same division. The Red Sox? Maybe, if they fail to land Roy Halladay.

Also a possibility, as Buster Olney reports, is that the Mariners will hold onto Washburn and try to sign him to a contract extension, maybe the most likely scenario of all.

Let the head-scratching continue.

The deadline is 8 PM ET Monday for Shohei Ohtani situation to be resolved

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Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.

Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.

Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.