According to multiple sources, including Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports and Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, the Seattle Mariners have heavy interest in acquiring a catcher, presumably to supplement the overmatched Mike Zunino. Their incumbent backstop is hitting just .160 on the year with a .515 OPS, so the Mariners are likely looking for a better-hitting option who can mentor the 24-year-old. The Tigers have several catchers who have a good track record with the bat, and have a history of deadline dealings. Could the teams be trade partners?
It's worth noting that Zunino has more team control after this year, so the Mariners could be looking for a 2015-only rental. If that's the case, the Tigers could attempt to move Alex Avila in their direction. Avila's value as a half-season rental is moderate at best, but he could be used to pick up a piece or two for the future. Seattle's top pitching prospect, Edwin Diaz, dominated High-A pitching before an ambitious promotion to AA at just 21 years old. He would likely be ready to move into the rotation by 2017 and could play a key role if Detroit goes down the dreaded "sell" route.
It's also likely that Detroit is going to buy, especially this early in the trade season. If so, they may be interested in an established major league starting pitcher. Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker are undoubtedly out of the question, so don't even ask. The other young pitching talent the Mariners have, however, would be an excellent addition to the team. James Paxton is young and sports a 3.70 ERA on a league-minimum contract. Roenas Elias is also on a league-minimum deal and averages six innings per start this year. Although his peripherals are the definition of mediocre (4.27 ERA, 4.46 FIP), he eats innings and would be a huge upgrade over the Kyle Ryan/Buck Farmer/Shane Greene combination we've seen lately. Both of these guys would be available from the Tigers' surplus of catchers.
If the Tigers really wanted to dumpster dive, J.A. Happ was just optioned to Triple-A. He's posted a healthy 1.6 fWAR on the year and isn't under contract after next year. Detroit could probably get him for a Bryan Holaday and a smile.
Pitching isn't the only area the Tigers have a need in. Logan Morrison fills several needs -- left-handed bat (check), power hitter off the bench (.156 ISO, check), and the ability to play first base. With Miguel Cabrera out, Morrison represents a potential upgrade over Marc Krauss and Jefry Marte. He also could slide to the outfield in a pinch as well. Basically, consider Morrison a more established Tyler Collins.
Talks regarding the Mariners are still in a very speculative stage, as evidenced by the latest update from Divish. Still, the theoretical fit between Detroit and Seattle exists, and it remains to be seen if the trade potential there is fulfilled.