In 12 days, the Mariners went from 2 1/2 games out to 11 1/2 games out. Not easy to do, especially when three of those days were the All-Star break.
In 12 days, the Mariners went from possible buyers to possible sellers. The Mariners have suggested to teams in the last several days that they would be willing to discuss trading some of their starting pitching in exchange for some much-needed hitting.
But not that pitcher. And not that one, either.
The names that have been floated, according to sources, are Jason Vargas and Doug Fister -- and not Felix Hernandez or Michael Pineda.
It's not certain how anxious the Mariners are to make a deal. One source described it more as "throwing bait out there, to see what interest there is." One issue is how much the Mariners value second-half wins that would make their final record look respectable, even if catching the first-place Rangers has already become a huge longshot.
In a market where multiple teams are searching for starting pitching, there could be significant interest. Fister is 3-11, but has a 3.18 ERA and good secondary numbers. Vargas has a 3.68 ERA and is tied for the league lead with three shutouts.
As to what the Mariners would be looking for in return, that's fairly obvious. In their current nine-game losing streak, the M's have scored just 11 runs.
The Tigers, Reds and Indians are all among the teams searching for rotation help. The Indians have continued to prioritize starting pitching, even as their shaky offense suffered another blow when Grady Sizemore went on the disabled list Monday.