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'Desperate' trades, contentious lease: Controversy still swirls in Mariners' offseason

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
In this photo taken Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, photos of recently-traded Mariners players pitcher James Paxton, left, catcher Mike Zunino, and closer Edwin Diaz stand along a sidewalk at the team's ballpark, in Seattle.

The Mariners' troubled offseason continues. The team made another trade this week and signed a controversial new lease agreement. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about some of the recent negative headlines.

Thiel says this week's three-team trade, the latest in M's fans' frustrations, is definitely not typical offseason wheeling and dealing. 

"This is a team that's desperate," Thiel says. "There's just so much going on with this team that's negative, I think (GM Jerry) Dipoto is moving parts out of desperation to get lucky."

Thiel says Dipoto's company line is that they are working to assemble a team with controllable contracts that will "blossom" down the road at an unknown time in the future.

Thiel also discusses the controversy swirling around the new lease agreement, as well as the large amount of public money associated with it.  The King County Council approved a $135 million contribution to the stadium over 25 years. "They are obliged as a public facility to maintain this," Thiel says.

He noted that the optics are problematic amid the homelessness crisis in Seattle, and stressed that this kind of controversy isn't good for a team that's rebuilding: "You're giving people an excuse not to show up."

They also talk about the impending stadium name change, and Thiel's idea for a possible nickname to follow. Listen to the full conversation above. 

Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Sports With Art Thiel with iTunes orGoogle Play now. You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.