Mitch Haniger
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The Mariners aren’t likely to trade Mitch Haniger or Edwin Díaz this offseason

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While the Mariners have already shaken up their core group of players after dealing Mike Zunino to the Rays and James Paxton to the Yankees, ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that the team is unlikely to entertain offers for All-Star outfielder Mitch Haniger and closer Edwin Díaz. Per Olney, they would have to be “completely overwhelmed to consider a deal for either.”

It’s not an entirely out-of-the-blue statement to make considering that both players turned in career-best performances with the Mariners last year. Haniger, 27, became one of the team’s top producers at the plate after he slashed a robust .285/.366/.493 with 26 home runs, an .859 OPS and 4.6 fWAR across 683 plate appearances. In addition to securing his first All-Star nomination, he experienced a significant second-half surge and placed 11th in AL MVP votes at the end of the year. He’s currently slated to remain under team control through the 2022 season and will enter free agency prior to his age-32 season in 2023.

Díaz, likewise, is coming off of a remarkable run in Seattle. The 24-year-old reliever and first-time All-Star dazzled with a league-leading 57 saves in 2018, complemented by a 1.96 ERA, 2.1 BB/9, 15.2 SO/9 and 3.5 fWAR through 73 1/3 innings. His performance earned consideration for the AL Cy Young Award and MVP honors, and he’s given no sign of slowing down as he approaches his final four years under team control, either.

No interested parties have been linked to either of these star players just yet, though it stands to reason that they would each command a hefty return if the Mariners decide to go full steam ahead on the rebuild they’re reportedly considering. Previous comments from GM Jerry Dipoto suggested that the team is open to offers on everyone else (with the possible exception of southpaw Marco Gonzales) as they try to suss out whether another run at the postseason will be feasible in 2019 — or whether it’s better to start stockpiling fresh talent in order to contend further down the line.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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