Seattle Mariners news: M’s in on Josh Hamilton

Mariners pursuing big bat

The Mariners’ offseason has been abuzz this week. First they extended starter Hisashi Iwakuma, and then they resigned reliever Oliver Perez.

Now it’s being reported by CBS’ Jon Heyman that Seattle is in play for the services of slugger Josh Hamilton. Hamilton is arguably the best bat on the free agent market.

This is another aggressive move by the Mariners to try and acquire a franchise bat. Many will remember that the M’s were in on Prince Fielder last winter, but ultimately lost his services to the Detroit Tigers.

While Seattle has some teams to compete with, the move could pay huge dividends. Not since the days of Ken Griffey Jr. has such a high profile outfielder played for Seattle.

Hamilton is coming off a stellar 2012, where he hit a career high 43 home runs on the way to posting a .930 OPS.

If signed to the Mariners, chances are the left-hander would move to left field.

He’s been much better there in his career, and it would give him less chances of injury.

Just like Griffey, Hamilton’s stellar career has been mired in injuries. His 148 games in 2012 was the most he’s played in four years. Before that he was averaging 114 games a season since 2009. His career high is 156 in 2008.

But in this case, the rewards are often times worth the risk.

Josh Hamilton

The Mariners are one of several surprising suitors for Josh Hamilton. (Photo: AP)

Hamilton is a career .300/.363/.549 hitter with 161 home runs and 553 RBI across six Major League seasons.

At 31 years old, he already has one MVP award and two World Series appearances. His 16.8 WAR over the last three seasons is eighth in the Majors—higher than fellow sluggers Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez.

And unlike Fielder, Seattle could have a fairly strong chance of landing Hamilton.

With Safeco’s dimensions changing, the park should no longer be as frightening to free agent hitters. It’s also speculated that Hamilton’s other big suitors are the Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers.

As long as Texas doesn’t jump back in the running, Seattle can easily outbid both teams.

In terms of liking or disliking this move, I’m split down the middle.

On one hand, Hamilton doesn’t have the best history or cleanest bill of health. It’s a risk giving someone like him a bunch of money over a bunch of years. On the other hand, he’s a franchise player who could instantly shore up that lineup.

Either way, with the rotation the way it is this move doesn’t make Seattle instant contenders. But it gets them a heck of a lot closer.

So for now, just sit back and enjoy the constant speculation.

Just keep in mind, Hamilton’s thought to be seeking a seven-year deal worth roughly $175 million.


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About Jonathan Irwin

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  • If I were Mariner’s owners, while keeping in mind the fans, I would definitely keep the Hamilton deal alive.
    However, though there is money freed up with Ichero now gone, there is lost money from underperforming Chone Figgons who became dead weight, even though he is a nice guy with speed.
    Baseball teams and owners would benefit if contracts had more incentive clauses based on performance and productivity, instead of the $ jack pot being handed to them upfront.
    Hamilton is a superstar, but he does have some past issues. He needs to keep his mind and body healthy into his 30s. Could Seattle immediately be a potential contender for a wild card with Hamilton, if he stays healthy? Yes, as long as he remains hungry to win and helps motivate teammates. And he did get a taste of appearing in the World Series!
    In my strong opinion, Mariners are better off offering him a generous four or five year
    deal with incentives built in. There are other hitters in the pipeline, if Hamilton and his agent insist on six or seven year deal. And who says a hitter has to be a superstar to be super productive for a team!
    But the most pressing thing to do before Spring training is GETTING A SOLID BAT, or even a wild card will be just another dream on the horizon. Get it done. The time is now. Fans are hungry.

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