During the Winter Meetings, rumors fly about like fire flies on a hot summer night. And most of them get batted down as though there’s a kid with a Wiffle ball bat running through the lobby.
It’s tough to tell which of them are true and which of them are just the creation of today’s over-saturated market of media coverage (you’re welcome), but when a rumor is reported by a beat writer for a big city newspaper, it likely has some truth to it.
For those of you not familiar with Walker, he is a highly touted pitching prospect, considered to be among the best in the entire minor leagues. The 6’4″ right-hander sits in the mid-90′s with his fastball and can hit 97 effortlessly—and he has the potential for a plus curveball. He spent the entire 2012 season in Double-A, despite not turning 20 until August. He is among the most talented pitching prospects in baseball, and while the Mariners are by no means shopping him around, they are listening to requests for Walker and their other top pitching prospects Danny Hultzen and James Paxton in exchange for an impact bat.
Garrett Jones is not an impact bat.
Jones can be a nice piece for a competing team, which the Mariners are not. What Jones is not is an everyday player.
There are few hitters in baseball with a bigger platoon split than Jones. Against righties he’s good, but not great. His .274/.317/.516 line last season is decent, but as a first baseman, it’s barely average. He has good power, but doesn’t walk, and since he routinely hits below .300, his on-base percentage is sub par.
And then there’s what he does against left-handed pitchers.
In 2012, Jones posted an .888 OPS against right-handed pitching, but against lefties, he hit just .189/.235/.297. Against lefties, Jones hits worse than even average-hitting pitchers.
With the Mariners still being a year or two away from being competitive, there is little reason to believe they’d be interested in Jones, but even if they did want him, there’s no way they’d give up one of the best pitching prospects in the game for him.
If this rumor is true, I have to believe it was met with laughter at the other end of the line.