Mariners asking for “an impact bat” in deal for David Aardsma

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Responding to speculation that Colorado is interested in Seattle closer David Aardsma, Thomas Harding of MLB.com writes that “multiple sources with knowledge of both teams told MLB.com that the Mariners are in search of an impact bat and there isn’t a fit with the Rockies.”

Of course, the definition of “an impact bat” probably varies quite a bit. My personal definition tends to mean something along the lines of a legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter, and there’s basically zero chance of any team trading the Mariners someone like that for Aardsma.

Seattle shopped him prior to the trading deadline in July and didn’t find an acceptable deal, and with this offseason’s abundance of quality free agent relievers it seems unlikely that anyone is going to overpay for Aardsma this time around.

With that said, he’d be a worthwhile target for teams scared of handing out three-year deals to relievers. Aardsma is under team control through 2012 as an arbitration eligible player and figures to earn around $4 million in 2011.

His control is spotty, but Aardsma has 69 saves with a 2.90 ERA, .193 opponents’ batting average, and 129 strikeouts in 121 innings over the past two seasons. If the Mariners’ definition of “an impact bat” really just means “a useful bat” then quite a few teams should be interested.

The Red Sox to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.