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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

M’s may be dealing

They have plenty of bait available

By TIM BOOTH Associated Press

SEATTLE – The names are hanging out there, just waiting for word they’re headed out of Seattle: Jarrod Washburn, Raul Ibanez, Erik Bedard and Arthur Rhodes, among others.

With the Mariners’ season of high expectations having sunk long ago, with a miserable 37-58 record at the All-Star break, the second half of Seattle’s 2008 campaign will be defined by who is still hanging around and who gets shipped away before the trade deadline arrives at the end of July.

Mariners executives say they won’t be trading off key parts simply because this season has become a failure. They want value for what they might be giving up.

But beyond stalwarts like Felix Hernandez, Brandon Morrow and most likely Ichiro Suzuki, nearly everyone else on the roster seems to be available to teams contending for the playoffs.

The Mariners’ best solution will be answered by management in the days before the July 31 trade deadline. If interim general manager Lee Pelekoudas decides decimating the roster and starting from scratch is the best method in making Seattle a winner again, then the next two weeks will be filled with moves that could bid farewell to the likes of Washburn, Rhodes and Bedard, all left-handed pitchers that playoff contending teams covet.

Washburn may have made himself the most marketable with his performances over the last two months. Washburn has allowed four earned runs or less and pitched at least 51/3 innings in his last nine starts, most times pitching into the sixth or seventh innings.

But any team interested in taking on Washburn would also have to absorb a contract that still has one-year remaining, the final year of the $37 million, four-year deal he signed before the 2006 season.

Bedard has failed to live up to the expectations that came with him from Baltimore when Seattle sent away five players – including All-Star reliever George Sherrill – in exchange for the starter the Mariners felt would put their staff over the top.

He’s been littered with injuries, the latest a tight shoulder that made Bedard miss a start and may seriously hamper the team’s ability to dangle him to contenders.

Rhodes and Ibanez may be the hottest targets as proven veterans. Ibanez is hitting .273 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs at the break, and Rhodes’ resurgence from a serious elbow injury last year has been one of the few bright spots for the M’s.