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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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August 3, 2009 7:32 AM

Sources: Mariners nixed three-way Felix Hernandez trade sending Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez to Seattle

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Lots of stuff has been leaking out in recent days about discussions between the Mariners and Boston Red Sox about a potential Felix Hernandez trade. From what we've pieced together, things were a little more detailed than just a simple phone call or two between the Mariners and Boston.

Here's what I've heard after working sources from my end.

I'm told the Red Sox apparently approached the Mariners and first tried to do a Hernandez trade with Seattle exclusively. Boston wanted Hernandez and gave the Mariners a list of eight prospects, from which Seattle would be allowed to pick any five.

They included:

RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Daniel Bard
RHP Justin Masterson
LHP Nick Hagadone
RHP Michael Bowden
LHP Felix Doubront
OF Josh Reddick
SS Yamaico Navarro

Seattle turned that down. But that was just the warm-up act to the blockbuster proposal that followed.

When the Mariners rebuffed the Red Sox and it became clear the two sides could not get a deal done on their own, Boston GM Theo Epstein apparently got on the phone to his longtime close pal. San Diego Padres GM Kevin Towers.

It has since come out that Epstein and Towers were discussing a trade that would send home run slugger Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. But wait. Apparently, Epstein wants Hernandez more than anybody, even Gonzalez.

So, the three teams start discussing a possible three-way deal with Seattle that would send Gonzalez to the Mariners, along with Buchholz and a couple of other Red Sox prospects.

The Red Sox would get Hernandez.

And the Padres would get Brandon Morrow, Phillippe Aumont and Carlos Triunfel from Seattle, along with a couple of other top Boston prospects.

A creative proposal, to say the least. And one that obviously would have blown away anything else at the July 31 deadline. Would have been the talk of future deadlines for years to come.

But it never happened. The Mariners apparently nixed it, feeling it would not benefit them in the long-term. Boston then turned around and dealt Masterson and Hagadone to the Indians for catcher Victor Martinez.

From what I'm hearing, the Mariners didn't think any of the packages they were being offered would go down much in substance over the next 12 months, when they'd only have another year-plus of Hernandez under control. Why give up the extra year, their reasoning went, if they could still get a similar offer at the 2010 deadline?

So, that was apparently Seattle's initial foray into the world of trading Hernandez.

It was an educational experience to say the least, and one that should serve them well should they choose to explore this further next winter or a year from now. And they still don't have to deal him. Once again, this was only their first venture into what they could possibly acquire if Hernandez doesn't sign a long-term deal with them over the next 12-to-18 months. Remember, Hernandez is under club control through 2011, but his arbitration years are about to get rather pricey. You'd think the club would like to buy some of those out at a lesser price starting this winter.

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