Mariners GM: We lack capital to acquire 'top-of-the-rotation starter'

by
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

The Seattle Mariners are one of three teams tied for the second American League wild-card spot, but bolstering the starting rotation doesn't appear to be an option down the stretch.

It isn't for lack of trying though, as general manager Jerry Dipoto just believes the farm system is too barren to make a deal.

Pitching "is a commodity; the league knows it's a commodity. It's highly priced. And, quite frankly, I don't know that we have the capital to go acquire the type of pitching that would satisfy the masses," Dipoto told MLB Network Radio on Wednesday.

"We're trying to figure out how to do it with volume. Because we just don't have the wherewithal to go grab that top-of-the-rotation starter. Either because he's not available, or we don't have the prospect capital to do it."

The Mariners are in a dead heat for the second AL wild-card spot, tied with the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays. Of course, the team is a long shot to battle the Houston Astros for the division, sitting 14 games back of the junior circuit juggernaut.

"We've used 15 different starters and that's been complicated enough," Dipoto continued, articulating the state of the Mariners season. "Our bullpen seems to have stabilized and then here recently we've lost - at least for a period of time - David Phelps, who we just acquired and has been great since he got here.

Whether an ace-type pitcher is actually available beyond the non-waiver trade deadline is unclear.

Justin Verlander appears to be the most available "top-of-the-rotation starter," but Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he would be shocked if their franchise ace got dealt. Even further, the 34-year-old is still on a large contract, and may not cost that much in the way of prospect capital to acquire.

The Mariners boast just one top-100 prospect, outfielder Kyle Lewis, according to MLB Pipeline.