Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/8/12
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. 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. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MARINERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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