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Are the Mariners looking at Alex Avila?

The second half of the baseball season resumes Friday following the All-Star break. Teams have a little over two weeks until the trade deadline, and this season has been relatively quiet on the forefront as far as actual deals being made.

There have been a boatload of rumors swirling in the rumor mill all season long, in what is sure to be a market with a lot of teams looking to assume the role as buyer. Whether the Detroit Tigers are buyers or sellers remains uncertain, but there is a rumor going around that the Seattle Mariners are on the hunt for a starting catcher. Some have suggested that Tigers catcher Alex Avila could be a potential target.

Seattle has gotten virtually no production this season from their catchers. Starting catcher Mike Zunino is hitting just .160 in 81 games played this season for Seattle, with an incredibly low OPS of .515. Seattle’s backup catcher Jesus Sucre is just 1-for-26 on the season. While Avila is hitting a shade under .200 this season, his career .345 OBP and .748 OPS overall would be an upgrade to say the least for former Tigers hitting coach and current Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon.

This could be a possible trade where both teams are ideal trade partners. The Tigers are one of many teams in baseball that need starting pitching help, and Seattle is a team that can offer than in exchange for an extra bat. But who on Seattle’s pitching staff would Detroit consider as a return for Alex Avila?

Seattle offers two veteran pitchers who are impending free agents this offseason. Starter J.A. Happ, 32, has a career 4.23 ERA in nine seasons in the majors, and posts a 4.14 ERA in 17 starts for Seattle this season. Happ was recently optioned to Seattle’s Single-A team for a short stint to make room for an extra bat. Happ was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year in the National League in 2009 when he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Starter Hisashi Iwakuma, 34, has only been pitching state side since 2012 and was 3rd in the American League Cy Young voting in 2013. However, in 2015, he has been fighting injuries in 2015 and has only made five starts, amassing a 5.22 ERA.

Seattle also has a young starter that is considered to be their 6th starter at times of an injury or another struggling starter, 26-year old Roenis Elias. In 13 starts made this season, Elias has a 4.27 ERA

A trade involving these two teams would certainly make sense for both sides. The Tigers are in need of starting pitching help. With Alfredo Simon trending down faster with each start he makes, and Shane Greene still proving to be untrustworthy to be a member of the rotation for a whole season, having a guy like Iwakuma or Happ would certainly be an upgrade right now for the Tigers.

Alex Avila is also an free agent to be following the 2015 season, and with the solid work from rookie catcher James McCann this season both behind the plate and swinging the stick, the Tigers could be ready to move on and give McCann the reigns to run the pitching staff for years to come.

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