Mariners Talking With Hamilton, Deal Apparently Not Close

Dave · December 6, 2012 at 8:28 am · Filed Under Mariners 

After the late night rumor mill got lit on fire with reports that the Mariners were “very close” to signing Josh Hamilton, this morning brought buckets of water, as Chuck Armstrong told Ryan Divish that the two sides hadn’t discussed terms or numbers. Of course, that means that they are talking, and they could have essentially agreed that they’d have significant mutual interest once Texas was out of the picture. Clearly, the Mariners declarations from a few weeks ago that they wouldn’t be involved weren’t true, and given that there aren’t a lot of obvious other destinations for Hamilton, it makes sense for him to engage Seattle if they are willing to make a significant offer.

It sounds like this whole thing hinges on what Texas decides to do with regards to Zack Greinke and Justin Upton, so all these moves will probably happen in fairly close proximity to each other. It’s the domino effect, essentially. Once Greinke picks a team, everything else can start to happen. Whether that goes down today, tomorrow, or next week, it sounds like these teams got to a point where they have a general feeling of where everyone fits, and now they just have to wait for the lynchpin to get pulled.

I’m sure people will be disappointed that the organization didn’t do anything here, but give it a week or so – this stuff will break free pretty soon. And it’s certainly possible that Hamilton ends up in Seattle. It seems clear that the Mariners are looking to land either Hamilton or Swisher, and given the teams left in the OF market, they’ll probably get one of the two.


96 Responses to “Mariners Talking With Hamilton, Deal Apparently Not Close”

  1. Jamison_M on December 6th, 2012 9:08 pm

    I think getting Hamilton on a three-year deal means a lot of GMs, including the one who signs him, think he will be just about finished in three years – maybe two for those who didn’t sign him.

    I love the idea of getting Hamilton and Swisher on back-loaded contracts so the big chunks will come out after Cho-nee and Guti are off the books. But that will never happen. I’m a big supporter of signing Swisher and trading for Wil Myers; and Hamilton signs with a National League team. That would be my dream (yet somewhat realistic) off-season. Of course, I’d also like a decent starting pitcher without helping Texas acquire Justin Upton.

  2. marcus_andrews on December 6th, 2012 9:17 pm

    So if the Mariners sign Bourn or Hamilton but miss out on Swisher what would any of you guys say to looking in to a trade for Corey Hart? I know he’s not a superstar but he provides a little bit of what Swisher does but via the trade route as opposed to free agency.

    He’s not as good of a hitter, nor does he bat from both sides, but he can play first or a corner outfield at least passably and he has had some really strong years offensively and has averaged out to 3.5 WAR the last two years.

    The problem obviously, is that Milwaukee is a team that fancies themselves a contender so they would probably want more MLB ready talent. However their bullpen was awful last year so I feel like they might value a Capps or Pryor a little more then their “market value” and could be a piece for a trade. Any thoughts?

  3. Luther on December 6th, 2012 11:53 pm

    Payroll shouldn’t be too much of a problem the next couple of years. Backloads, along with salary dump of Guti and figs next year. Now even, we may find a cheaper option over Vargas projected 7-8m(Holland 3.2m) and save some money. We could save another 3m and trade Ryan. Roll w/Andino until Franklin-Miller are ready.

    Or would it be all that crazy to sell off Guti this year for someone who will take half his 2013 deal. 3.5m for a possible if healthy elite defensive CF w/ team option for 14′ really isn’t all that inconceivable. Sizemore like deal last yr.

    M’s can def find ways to fit in 2 if not 3(choo-morse) hitters if they are creative.

  4. mssuperfan19 on December 7th, 2012 3:54 am

    I think Hamilton is great don’t get me wrong but I think for the Ms to really be competitive they need two bats. I would prefer Swisher and why not swing a trade for Granderson? Also as far as pitching and bench I would like to see Jair Jurrjens and Casey McGehee. Swisher has position flexibility,Granderson plays good d hits for power and can run,Jurrjens seems like a low risk high reward if he can come back healthy he’s been pretty steady,McGehee can play 1st,2nd, or 3rd and Jack is familiar with him could come cheap if he doesn’t perform no big deal but he could be Mark McLemore with pop

  5. ivan on December 7th, 2012 5:51 am

    Yeah, Granderson. I mean why not? How about Trout? Or McCutcheon? Or Pujols? Joey Votto, didn’t we discuss him once?

  6. Westside guy on December 7th, 2012 7:31 am

    If you trade Gutierrez for “a bat”, you’re likely giving away a lot of that increased offensive value by adding a guy with a brick for a glove in the field. Defense has value. Not to mention that, with Guti’s history, you’re selling low – other GMs know his history just as well as we do. Not much is going to come back.

    And some of these trade ideas sound… A bit far fetched. These other teams exist to win, not to provide the Mariners with talent. Ask yourself if you’d make the deal if you’re sitting at the other end of the table.

  7. Typical Idiot Fan on December 7th, 2012 7:57 am

    Getting Hamilton on a 3 year deal might seem great, but I think it means that there are a lot of GM’s who think he is just about finished.

    I don’t see it this way at all. I do think that GMs are less willing to take the risk on Hamilton long term, but that’s not the same thing as saying they think he’s “just about finished”. There’s a difference between being willing to sign a player for 5+ years with an injury and drug history like Josh’s for ~$15m a year than ~$25m a year. By demanding the big money, Hamilton has priced himself out of a lot markets for extra years.

    This is especially true when you take the annual big spenders out of the equation. The Yankees aren’t doing any major contracts over 1 year; the Red Sox got their guys early; the Phillies might make a run at him but seem interested in other directions; the Dodgers have a loaded outfield already; and the Tigers don’t seem interested. That pretty much leaves Texas, and they are trying for Greinke first and Hamilton second, and can’t afford both. Without a big market for outfielders, the quality ones that were trying to get paid have been left kind of in the cold.

    That is why Hamilton, as well as Swisher and Bourn, are all still looking for jobs. It’s also why they probably wont get quite what they want.

  8. jwgrandsalami on December 7th, 2012 8:56 am

    If rumors of the Mariners’ offer to Hamilton being 3 years at $20 mil or $25 mil are accurate and Seattle is not willing to increase it, I doubt he signs with the Mariners.

    Even if Texas signs Greinke and won’t match the offer, I have to think that the agent then goes around to other teams and says “Hamilton doesn’t really want to play with Seattle, please match this offer or give me a one-year deal for $30 mil.” Gotta think with the Yankees needing a RF, but trying to get under the luxury tax for 2014, would jump at the opp to land Hamilton for one year.

    If the Rangers really do have Hamilton “on hold” waiting for a Greinke deal, an increased Mariners offer of say 5/120 might entice him to sign without waiting for the Rangers to finish their other business (since it’s clear that Texas won’t go to five years). That’s a reasonable deal and the M’s need Hamilton. I wish they’d stop lowballing him and just do what it takes to get it done rather than being a fallback option in case Texas signs other players.

  9. bookbook on December 7th, 2012 9:02 am

    I wish the M’s would just sign Swisher for 5/$71 or the like. They can then make their best offer to Hamilton and let the chips fall where they may. At this point, when the M’s don’t get either Hamilton or Swisher, I’ll be disappointed. (Bourn is not a satisfying consolation prize. At all.)

  10. vertigoman on December 7th, 2012 9:11 am

    I’m definitely not opposed to Hamilton on a 4 year deal.
    A 5 year deal is getting scary.
    Being that you can probably sign both Bourne and Swisher for the same amount as Hamilton I’d rather go that direction.
    Let Saunders, Gutz, Smoak and Montero fight over the remaining ABs in LF and RF/1B and DH.

  11. Nate on December 7th, 2012 9:20 am

    Hardballtalk printed something about a 3 year deal?
    If only you could believe stuff you read on the interwebs…


  12. downwarddog on December 7th, 2012 10:05 am

    If the Rangers let Hamilton leave, that will be three teams that divested themselves in the Josh Hamilton business. The dude is a cancer everywhere he goes. He drugged his way through his years in the Rays organization. By many accounts he was not particularly liked in the Reds clubhouse and now with his late season swoon in Texas, it appears the Rangers are disenchanted with him. Why anyone would want him at a top shelf price as he begins his decline is beyond me.

  13. JasonJ on December 7th, 2012 10:16 am

    I can’t imagine Hamilton would be pleased with his agent only getting 3 years (especially with the Mariners). Moreover, his agent’s reputation could take a hit as well if he can’t get more than 3 years for a former MVP who hit 43 HR’s last year during an economic boom for the sport.

    They went into this expecting 6 or 7 at $25 M/year and I have the feeling that somebody (hopefully not the M’s) is going to lose their restraint and give it to him. Sluggers always seem to get what they want because the owners can’t resist.

  14. codybond31 on December 7th, 2012 11:14 am

    Why don’t the M’s get into the Justin Upton talks, for Upton?

    Would you rather have Upton at $8M/yr and sign Borne at $13M/yr and a Veteran SP for $4M/yr at $25M/yr total. With giving up Nick Franklin and Maybe James Paxson.

    or just Josh Hamilton at $25M/year?

  15. djtizzo on December 7th, 2012 1:03 pm

    Love Hamilton, but would much rather have the combo of Swisher and Bourn with a combined 9.5 WAR as opposed to Hammys 3.4 WAR based on last year. That leaves the M’s with way more options when it comes to trades. Z could get a guy like Dee Gordon or Asdrubal Cabrera via the trade market for their young arms.

  16. Liam on December 7th, 2012 1:25 pm

    Upton is $10M, $14M, $14M the next three years, not $8M.

    or just Josh Hamilton at $25M/year?
    You’re leaving out the part where we still have Nick Franklin and James Paxton in this scenario.

  17. TumwaterMike on December 7th, 2012 1:52 pm

    Now the Yankees in the mix…interesting!!!

  18. msfanmike on December 7th, 2012 2:17 pm

    Nick Swisher and Edwin Jackson could probably be acquired for what they might be considering paying to Hamilton. I would rather see the team spread the money out to 2 or 3 good players rather than one ‘great’ player with a lot of baggage and heading toward his own baseball related decline.

    The team needs a talent like a “top-of-his game” Hamilton has previously provided, and if they do get him I will be more happy than sad, but I would rather see the team spread the money around in a smarter/less risky way.

    For all we know, Texas could end up with both Greinke and Hamilton.

  19. MrZDevotee on December 7th, 2012 2:25 pm

    AND… Now Red Sox are in on the Hamilton thing too (per SI)… I think hearing the numbers “3 years/$20 million per”, perked up some ears, versus what we’d all been hearing he wanted initially…

    And definitely not leaked by the M’s, who we KNOW are tight lipped on this stuff. He’s got a good agent, evidently, letting the rest of the league know: “really? You guys will let Seattle have him for $20 million a year, 3 years?”

    The window of opportunity may have closed on that deal. (If only the Rangers had signed Greinke during the meetings/frenzy.)

  20. amnizu on December 7th, 2012 3:32 pm

    >The window of opportunity may have closed on that deal. (If only the Rangers had signed Greinke during the meetings/frenzy.)

    Hamilton’s agent did a great job of negotiating in the press and spurring interest from other teams by mentioning 3 years. Now they can get a couple teams in at 4 years and push one to 5 years.

  21. hoffphil on December 7th, 2012 4:24 pm

    Why aren’t we talking Michael Bourn? Younger (less contract length risk), equally good offensive skills if not a good edge over Swisher and Hamilton in year 2 and3 of the contract, can run the bases and has the position flexibility. I don’t get it. Are the Mariners playing the game of ‘please lord let me win by losing’.

  22. marcus_andrews on December 7th, 2012 4:31 pm

    Just a few thoughts here-

    One, when I mentioned trading for Corey Hart and brought up Stephen Pryor, I by no means meant a one for one swap, just meant Pryor is a guy they might value slightly higher than other teams or than we do internally (we have a lot of good bullpen arms now and on the way).

    Secondly, I don’t know that this is some miraculous play by Hamilton’s agent. While yes, it is great to get more teams interested, I don’t know that getting them interested by setting the bar extremely low is the best way to go about this. Of course everyone will be interested in him at three years, but that was always the case. Perhaps he will get more AAV on a 4 year deal because of this leak, but I think it greatly lowers the odds that he signs a longer term deal. I view that as a move of desperation, not genius on the part of his agent.

  23. Typical Idiot Fan on December 7th, 2012 4:44 pm

    The dude is a cancer everywhere he goes.

    Jesus Christ, people.

  24. ThanatosK on December 7th, 2012 7:42 pm

    Although Jesus certainly stirred the pot and riled folks up whereever he went….I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call him a cancer.

  25. greentunic on December 7th, 2012 11:35 pm

    And “cancer” doesn’t usually refer to players that produce like Hamilton. Those are reserved for the Figgins’ and Bradleys of the world.

    I’d be just fine with this “cancer” in my lineup.

    Re: ThanatosK,
    I’m guessing you meant “Josh,” and not “Jesus,” though he certainly stirred the pot riled up folks wherever he went too 🙂

  26. ThanatosK on December 8th, 2012 9:44 am

    No, I was referencing the post ahead of me, I meant Jesus, it was supposed to be a joke based on the wording of his post. The way he wrote it made it seem like he was introducing Jesus to an audience. It seemed funny.

  27. msfanmike on December 8th, 2012 1:10 pm

    It was both funny – and clever. I “got” it.

  28. msfanmike on December 8th, 2012 1:12 pm

    Young agreed to be traded to the Phillies – while picking up an extra 1.2M along the way for his troubles. Texas pays $10 M of overall 17.2M salary. I assume this means some other dominos will start falling, soon.

  29. Westside guy on December 8th, 2012 1:27 pm

    Part of me wants those dominoes to all fall right away; but the other part of me realizes how dreary winter’s going to be if we’ve got nothing baseball-related to talk about come New Year’s Day.

  30. Typical Idiot Fan on December 8th, 2012 3:09 pm

    The Michael Young trade probably means we wont get Hamilton now. If Texas ‘couldn’t afford’ both Greinke and Hamilton before the trade, maybe freeing up another six million or so means they can.

  31. 300ZXNA on December 8th, 2012 3:27 pm

    While it would be frustrating to see Hamilton AND Greinke go to a division rival that is already pretty darn good, that would still mean we would have a shot at Swisher and/or Bourn. With all of the risk surrounding Hamilton, I don’t think that having Swish as a ‘consolation’ prize would be that huge of a drop off from Hamilton. Of course, no guarantees that either of them would sign here if Hamilton doesn’t . . .

  32. vetted_coach on December 8th, 2012 3:47 pm

    The difference between Hamilton and Swisher is huge. I like Swisher, would love to have him, but the either/or presumption is bush. The Mariners could aquire both and still be a bat or two short.

    The kind of move that Hamilton represents is what matters, especially for a franchise bankrupt of credibility. The Mariners need to start getting serious about wanting to contend, and it wojld be nice for a prestigious headliner to demonstrate a genuine willingness to come to Seattle.

    Smart money says it won’t happen. I’d love to be wrong.

  33. sonichound on December 8th, 2012 4:19 pm

    Any thought on if Viciedo would be worth a shot? Just saw that the Sox are listening to offers and the M’s may be interested.

  34. lalo on December 8th, 2012 5:25 pm

    Forget about Hamilton. The Dodgers signed Greinke and now the Rangers have a lot of money to pay Josh Hamilton… Maybe we´ll end with Bourn or Cody Ross

  35. ireportyoudecide on December 8th, 2012 6:49 pm

    Hamilton wasn’t coming anyways. People just use the Mariners for leverage. I am expecting a 75 million dollar payroll for opening day.

  36. greentunic on December 8th, 2012 6:57 pm

    It behooves JZ (and ownership) not to enter the season with a $75 million payroll. The media, and the fans (and I think in this case, the casual AND the hardcore) will all be upset.

    I’ll be upset.

    “Patience” is a plan that only works so long, because “patience” implies waiting for something, not just perpetually waiting.

  37. lalo on December 8th, 2012 7:46 pm

    If the Rangers sign Hamilton, I think the M´s should consider trading for Nelson Cruz…

  38. Slippery Elmer on December 8th, 2012 9:44 pm

    Pretty sure the M’s have already considered trading for Nelson Cruz, as well as Trout, Verlander, Cano and Votto.

    Difficult to get a deal done with only one side interested.

  39. ireportyoudecide on December 8th, 2012 11:03 pm

    I was curious just how much spending does make a difference in the win column. Thanks to my friends at USA Today and Wikipedia I can tell you the following.

    Over the last ten years, teams in the top 5 of salaries made the playoffs 23 times, that would be 46% of the time for those of you who are math challenged. Those in the bottom 5 made the playoffs 5 times, that would be 10%.

    46% to 10%, that’s a big difference. You don’t have to spend to win, but it sure does help.

    Spend Mariners, as my Dad used to say, you can’t take it with you.

  40. stevemotivateir on December 9th, 2012 6:26 am

    ^And how about all the teams in between? I’ve done the math for you… You covered 10 teams, that leaves 20 teams unaccounted for;)

    Seriously, the issue of payroll vs. results have been discussed here many times over. Probably a good idea to lose the arrogance.

  41. Typical Idiot Fan on December 9th, 2012 7:19 am

    Why don’t we wait until the offseason is over to overreact to stuff instead of doing it now and overreacting to phantoms and paranoia?

    Oh wait, we’re M’s fans. Silly me!

  42. greentunic on December 9th, 2012 10:07 am

    And because it’s boring not to react.

    This is how I fill my MLB needs in the offseason too.

    Follow every rumor, weigh the validity of its truth, hypothesize about the potential implications around baseball if it were true.

    It’s no fun not to discuss it!

    In the words of Tyrion Lannister “But it’s fun! Look at all the FUN we’re having!”

  43. Typical Idiot Fan on December 9th, 2012 10:37 am

    Fun is fun, but it does tend to get annoying after a while reading it.

  44. ireportyoudecide on December 9th, 2012 1:53 pm

    stevemotivateir on December 9th, 2012 6:26 am

    ^And how about all the teams in between? I’ve done the math for you… You covered 10 teams, that leaves 20 teams unaccounted for;)

    You would see a diminishing % of teams making the playoffs at each level. I love how some just pretend spending doesn’t matter.

  45. MrZDevotee on December 9th, 2012 2:01 pm

    I don’t get your point (as it relates to reality). Should the Mariners just quit, and not be a baseball team anymore? Because they’re NOT realistically going to be a top spending team (you could argue “they COULD” but that’s pointless too, because they’re NOT going to be).

    So you can either keep writing your “you have to spend, because it matters” points, and being sarcastic to anyone who doesn’t care, or you could join the rest of us in contemplating the ways the Mariners can be competitive without being one of the teams that spends the most money.

    I mean, sure, it would be fun to take an Xbox approach and just pay whatever you want and force through whatever trades you want– but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.

  46. stevemotivateir on December 9th, 2012 4:00 pm


    You completely missed the point, though MrZD laid it out even more clearly. It’s not as easy as just ‘spending’ money.

    Not every team has the same payroll flexibility, so spending isn’t always an option, BUT…. that doesn’t mean you can’t be competitive with less money. The Braves, Cardinals, Orioles, Nationals, and Athletics, all made the playoffs last season. And guess what… they’re all in the bottom have of team payrolls.

    Let’s take this a little further, though. Of the top five spending teams this year, only the first and fifth made the playoffs. Most of the teams came from that grey area you ignored.

    And that’s important moving forward. If teams know they can be competitive without spending tons, why would they? Even the Yankees are recognizing that. Smart moves aren’t always the most obvious or popular. Having the dough to blow doesn’t guarantee you anything either. Look how well that worked for the Marlins and Angels.

    Having said that, I’m not suggesting the Mariners shouldn’t spend a little. Nobody is. I simply want them to be smart about it. We don’t need a repeat of the Bavasi era.

    Again, good idea to lose the arrogance.

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