Here are some players that could end up in Seattle and how they would fit on the team. This list includes some ideas that will probably have changed by press time, and is ignoring the Jason Bay deal to Seattle that has happened according to all the fine folks covering the M’s.
Also, Josh Hamilton and Billy Butler have been tossed around so often on this site, this list will look elsewhere for talent (in no particular order).
1. Michael Bourn
This idea really surprised me upon hearing rumors and the initial reaction from M’s fans was probably the same.
Don’t we need a power bat?
Free Agent Michael Bournhas been one of the most consistent outfielders in the game and has stolen over 40 bases a year since 2008. He is a career .272 hitter and is 29 years old.
Although he is three years younger than Chone Figgins was when he signed with Seattle before the 2010 season, the nervousness from fans is fair. Both are players that get on base and steal bags to score runs.
Best-case scenario, Michael Bourn would lead-off and replace Ichiro Suzuki for Seattle. Worst-case, the Figgins ordeal is relived for the entirety of another dreadful contract.
2. Justin Upton
The Diamondbacks’ outfielder is only 25 years old, and was the number one overall pick in 2005, but Arizona is listening to offers to replenish their farm system.
The Mariners have the farm system to bring in a talent like Upton that they currently do not. Coming off a slightly inconsistent season for Arizona, in which he battled nagging injuries, the price tag may give the Mariners a chance.
Upton does have a no-trade clause for certain teams (including Seattle), but meetings between the clubs over the last few days suggest a possible change.
Two years ago, the Diamondbacks offered Justin Upton straight up for SP Michael Pineda and a minor leaguer. The M’s declined, but it might be time to try again.
3. Mark Reynolds
Cannot believe I wrote that name down. Mark fricking Reynolds as a Mariner would absolutely drive fans insane. This man swings and misses more than any player in the majors not named Adam Dunn.
But, when he is hot, there is no one that can lift a team quite like Reynolds can.
His strikeout numbers are unlike anything Seattle fans have ever seen, but his power numbers are unlike anything the Mariners have had since glorious 2001.
Last season, Reynolds had 23 home runs while playing first and third base for the Orioles. Would anyone want him to start every day in Seattle? No.
Would you enjoy watching him hit .778 over his 12-day hot streak? You bet.
Disclaimer: I really hope this doesn’t happen, I just think it is possible.
4. Dee Gordon
The Dodgers SS is the bizarro-Brendan Ryan. His talent at the plate and base paths can change games and would be adequate if the team craved Michael Bourn like speed but did not want to pay Scott Boras type money (Bourn’s agent).
Unfortunately, his defense is atrocious. It is absolutely dreadful, especially compared to Ryan’s defense since his arrival in Seattle.
Gordon, who was once a prime prospect, may not be as expensive now that he has tried and failed in the majors to maintain plate appearances. Perhaps a change of scenery would do him good.
5. Jason Kubel
Not as exciting as some of the other names, but Kubel has hit in great hitting parks (Chase Field in Arizona) and in bad parks (Target Field in Minnesota). His slugging numbers did improve upon his arrival to Arizona, but his OBP has hovered around .330 since 2007.
Being on base is something the Mariners desperately need. If Upton winds up falling through, Kubel could fit in nicely as an OF, 1B or DH for the club.