Walks and strikeouts now available: Mariners cut Jack Cust

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As expected, the Mariners have released Jack Cust after designating him for assignment last week.

Cust is owed another $1 million for so as part of a one-year, $2.5 million contract, so predictably none of the other 29 teams wanted to take on that salary after he hit just .213 with three homers and a .673 OPS in 67 games for the Mariners.

Cust was once an underrated hitter, providing good value despite low batting averages and high strikeout totals because he drew tons of walks, got on base at a strong clip, and hit 25-30 homers. However, his power has vanished in the past two years.

He might still be a useful left-handed bench bat for teams that miss out on picking up, say, Jason Giambi before the August 31 waiver trade deadline, but Cust’s lack of defensive skills make him a pretty marginal player if he’s not hitting for power to go along with all the walks.

Nationals Acquire Ryan Raburn From White Sox

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The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.

Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.

The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.