MINNEAPOLIS — Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager sat at the table, staring at the mass of humanity. Reporters of every kind shuffled and jockeyed for position to ask questions Monday of the American League All-Star players during the open media session.
To his left, Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano had close to 60 people gathered in front of him, firing questions about the Mariners’ success, the decision to leave New York and, of course, starting next his longtime teammate Derek Jeter in Jeter’s final All-Star Game.
“This is kind of overwhelming,” Seager said. “There’s so much going on. There’s so many people. I’m just going to be following Cano around and have him introduce me to everybody.”
Seager is playing in his first All-Star Game. And that first experience is a surreal mixture of awe, excitement and fear.
Cano just laughed as he looked at Seager’s wide eyes and recalled his first of six All-Star appearances.
“Everyone goes through that,” Cano said. “I told him just to have fun and enjoy it as much as you can. … You never know when you will be back again.”
Was he like Seager in his first time?
“Oh yes. I was so nervous,” he said. “You can’t wait to meet the guys. And I wondered how it was going to be, what the expectations were going to be, just even where you have to go. I’m going to make sure he’s going to have fun today.”
What will help Seager have more fun is the chance to have his entire family with him, including his wife and young son. His parents flew into Minneapolis to watch his younger brother Corey, a prospect for the Dodgers, compete in the Futures Game on Sunday. The Dodgers are allowing Corey Seager to stay in Minneapolis with his parents and watch his brother play on Tuesday before going back to his team in the California League.
Rodney ready to close
On Friday, Fernando Rodney shrugged off the All-Star Game. He hadn’t been chosen and wasn’t going to lament it.
“Maybe I don’t go because I don’t have the numbers,” he said after notching his 27th save. “My teammates have good numbers. Everything I do is for my team, the Seattle Mariners.”
But those numbers were good enough to get him on the team as a replacement for Tampa’s David Price. The announcement was made Saturday.
“I’m excited to be with all these All-Star guys,” Rodney said Monday. “Lots of players from different team, people you’d never imagined to be playing with, we are all together right now. “
Now that’s on the team, he’s ready to close out the game if needed and break out his traditional bow-and-arrow celebration.
“If they give me a chance, I’m going to do it,” he said. “The arrow is coming. Don’t forget.”
Trade rumors swirl
The Mariners continue to be major players in the midseason trade market. The search for hitting help and possibly a starting pitcher to try to improve on the team’s 51-44 record has kept general manager Jack Zduriencik busy.
“We’re not satisfied with where we are at,” he told 950-AM in a radio interview Monday.
Seattle has been linked to Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd, who would fill the need of a right-handed hitter with some power. Byrd is hitting .263 with 18 homers and 54 RBI in 94 games for the Phillies.
Sources have said the organizations have had serious discussions and the basic framework of a trade has been outlined. Byrd does have a limited no-trade clause with four teams, including the Mariners, on his list. But the same source said Byrd would be willing to waive the no-trade clause for a deal to a contender.
At 36 and under contract till 2016, Byrd would likely only cost the Mariners minor league prospects in return.
Besides Byrd, the flirtation with the Tampa Bay Rays for either outfielder Ben Zobrist or pitcher David Price has also continued. The Mariners had discussions with the Rays in the offseason about Price, but a sticking point was the availability of prized pitching prospect Taijuan Walker. At the time, Zduriencik said he was unavailable. But the Mariners are now willing to listen to offers.
The Rays had two representatives among the 15 scouts at Walker’s start on Saturday at Cheney Stadium.
Price would become a free agent after the 2016 season. His agent said in the offseason that the former Cy Young award winner had no plans to sign an extension with the Mariners if traded there.
Any trade for Price would likely include Walker and possibly three more players, including second baseman Nick Franklin.
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @RyanDivish