Seattle being aggressive in meetings
With plenty of noise in the Mariners camp, we’re recapping recent Seattle rumors coming out of the Winter Meetings.
M’s are targeting outfielders
About this time last month, it was reported that the Mariners were surprise suitors for Josh Hamilton. Now that other big market teams seem to be back in the running, Hamilton looks like more of a long shot.
But that’s not deterring Jack Z and crew from seeking other help in the outfield.
As speculated for quite some time, Seattle seems to be making a hard push for leftfielder Jason Bay. Bay is coming off a horrific three years with the Mets, in which he posted a .687 OPS and 26 home runs in 288 games. Even on a low contract, what’s the appeal here?
More bearable is the M’s desire to upgrade at center, as they’ve shown interest in Michael Bourne. The speedster is a career .272/.339/.365 hitter and averages over 30 steals per season. He would be an ideal leadoff man for Seattle.
But the biggest news in the outfielder search seems to be the Mariner’s interest in Justin Upton.
The 25-year old rightfielder is coming off a somewhat disappointing season, but is just one year removed from a 30/20 season in 2011. The M’s don’t pair up well on the trade front with Arizona (the D-Backs have plenty of pitching), but with a hard enough push could get something done.
Mariners want Felix for life
Despite constant speculation of a trade, Jack Zduriencik has been adamant that Felix Hernandez isn’t going anywhere. Now he’s looking to put an exclamation point on that statement.
Recent news out of the front office states that the M’s plan on making King Felix a Mariner for life.
The 28-year old Hernandez is coming off a phenomenal 13 win season in which he sported a 3.06 ERA and a career high 3.98 K/BB. The right-hander is still under team control for two more years.
“Life-long” contracts are becoming a trend in baseball when it comes to young stars.
In 2010 Troy Tulowitzki signed a six year extension with the Rockies to keep him in Colorado through 2020—at which time he’d be 36 years old. Most recently, the Rays extended Evan Longoria through 2023—he’ll be 38.
If Seattle is serious, the extension would have to be in the 10-12 year range. Seeing how good Felix has been, that seems like a worth while risk to take.
Making a push for Billy Butler
Rounding out today’s recap is the report that the Mariners are showing strong interest in Kansas City first baseman/DH Billy Butler.
The 26-year old is coming off his best season to date, hitting .313/.373/.510 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI in 2012.
Though he’s mostly been a DH in Kansas City, the Mariners would undoubtedly have interest in keeping Butler at first. The right-hander doesn’t play great defense, but makes up for it with his bat. He’s signed through the 2015 season.
Apparently, the Royals see the Mariners as their “back-up” plan. Given the wealth of talent Seattle could offer, they must have a pretty rich front-runner.