Josh Hamilton reflects on his memories of what the Mariners are - Ezra Shaw

Josh Hamilton Not Available No More

The Seattle Mariners thought about making a play for free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, but he wound up signing with the Angels for five years and $125 million. Zoinks!

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Getting Josh Hamilton Closure

It's never fun to miss out on a desirable free agent, unless that desirable free agent winds up costing entirely too much money, which one might say about Josh Hamilton going to the Angels. It's never, I don't know, something else to miss out on a desirable free agent. But at least, when it's all over, the parties involved finally open up about how things were going. Jack Zduriencik refused to be candid about the Hamilton negotiations while they were going on. This is because Jack Zduriencik refuses to be candid about anything and actually frustrates telemarketers more than telemarketers frustrate him. But with Hamilton having signed elsewhere, Zduriencik was free to finally be honest and open on the radio earlier Thursday.

Here's a link to the interview. To tell the truth, there's not a whole lot in there we didn't already know, and there's certainly nothing earth-shattering. But it turns out I derive satisfaction from hearing Jack Zduriencik actually say things and it's illuminating to hear about how Hamilton wound up in Los Angeles, and how close he might've been to committing to Seattle.

When Zduriencik said the Mariners probably wouldn't be big players for Hamilton, he meant it, and he didn't have an ulterior motive. It was only after that that he consulted with ownership and was given the go-ahead to put on the full-court press. Which Zduriencik did, unless "full-court press" means "offer everything, literally everything the Mariners have in order to get this guy signed." Zduriencik made a real good offer, that the Angels simply exceeded.

It's interesting to hear that Hamilton requested from the Mariners more than he wound up signing for with the Angels. It's also interesting to hear that Hamilton was intrigued by the Mariners' present organizational situation. Yet he went to the Angels because (A) they offered a lot, and (B) they stand a good chance of winning in the short term. These are obvious factors. What free agents care about the most are money and winning now. Money, usually, more than the winning now. But free agents are also conscious of teams who might have better futures than recent pasts. The Mariners right now are not that unappealing. They're littered with young talent and they have the changing ballpark. It's not like the Mariners stood no chance of getting Hamilton to come. They just had to offset the Angels' better odds of winning with more money. They didn't. I'm just going to guess that, instead of a four-year contract with two vesting options, the Mariners would've had to guarantee all six years. I wouldn't have wanted them to do that.

Hamilton didn't call the Mariners to give them a chance to top the Angels' offer. He didn't call the Rangers, either, implying that he got what he wanted from the Angels and feels strongly about the opportunity he's been given. If the Angels hadn't gotten into the picture, Hamilton might be a Mariner today, but once they got involved it seems they were probably Hamilton's top choice. Which, as noted before, makes perfect sense.

Statements made on the radio are thoroughly considered before they're spoken, and Zduriencik has always been one to put a positive spin on things. But he emphasized the strength of the Mariners' offer, and he emphasized the ownership's willingness to pay for a big-time player if said big-time player fits what the Mariners seek. Josh Hamilton legitimately almost happened, and while I know that isn't enough for those of you who desperately wanted Josh Hamilton, I find it encouraging the way things went, and I find it encouraging also that Zduriencik held his offer where he did. Responsibility pays off in the long term, even if that's sometimes hard to imagine.

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Josh Hamilton Still Not A Mariner

It has become readily, irrefutably evident Tuesday evening that free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton still has not signed with the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners are thought to have some degree of interest in the middle-of-the-order slugger, and the rest of his market is presently unclear. The Rangers are considered a possible favorite to get Hamilton to put pen to paper, as they failed to sign Zack Greinke and also failed to acquire James Shields. Hamilton, to date, has not signed with anybody. He remains an unsigned free agent.

Asked for comment, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik would say "we're evaluating all of our options and at the end of the day, it takes two to tango, and we have a number of irons in the fire," probably. Asked for comment on why people ever ask him for comment, Zduriencik replied "no idea," demonstrating unusual candor.

Asked whether Hamilton is rapidly approaching a decision point, a philosopher remarked that of course Hamilton is approaching a decision point, but no faster or slower than anyone else, since we all move forward in time at the same rate. Hamilton is drawing closer to a decision because there exists a decision in his future, and one may advance only into the future. The philosopher continued, saying that, if there were evidence that Hamilton were going back in time, his answer would have been the exact opposite.

Hamilton's camp would probably issue no comment, except that Hamilton is taking everything under consideration, and he has faith, and he hasn't dismissed the possibility of returning to Texas, where he's had a great career and developed great relationships. Asked for meaningful comment, nobody involved or thought to be involved would say anything, on the record.

Expectations are that eventually Hamilton will sign a contract with a team that covers multiple years. That team could be the Rangers, or the Mariners, or somebody else. Hamilton can make a decision pretty much whenever he damn well pleases, and it isn't up to Hamilton to make things maximally convenient. Hamilton could sign before Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, or after them. He probably will not sign simultaneously with them. That would be incredible.

In conclusion, with regard to the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, the latest public developments are nothing.

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Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton, And The Mariners

We are selfish people, every last one of us. We are all varying degrees of selfish, some more and less than others, but we all care mostly about ourselves, and the kind things we do for other people we do because they have the side effect of making us feel good. We are selfish. Altruism is selfish. When something happens, we want to know how it affects us. We are selfish and self-centered and we might as well just embrace these truths and make the best of ourselves going forward.

The evening's news is that the Dodgers are signing Zack Greinke for six years and $147 million. Greinke still has to pass a physical before the contract is official, but that shouldn't be any kind of problem, unless Greinke recently swallowed a grenade and the pin comes loose in his bowels. It's interesting, because Zack Greinke is interesting, but the Dodgers aren't in the American League West. The Dodgers aren't even in the American League. So a natural follow-up question is "so how does this affect us, as Mariners fans? Why ought I care?"

You should care because the Greinke sweepstakes were recently down to the Dodgers and the Rangers. It was thought that, if the Rangers signed Greinke, they would be out on Josh Hamilton, further limiting Hamilton's pool of suitors and would-be suitors. With Greinke staying in Los Angeles (Anaheim joke), the Rangers aren't out on Josh Hamilton, at least as far as we know. It's been said that Hamilton will give the Rangers an opportunity to match any contract offers before he signs his life away elsewhere, and we can't now eliminate the Rangers from consideration.

This doesn't mean the Rangers are suddenly the automatic Hamilton favorites. Hamilton might not necessarily be the Rangers' fallback after the Greinke option. The Rangers might still continue exploring a Justin Upton trade, and/or they might pursue Anibal Sanchez or Ryan Dempster or whoever, or they might focus on R.A. Dickey or James Shields or any number of guys. Greinke going to Los Angeles doesn't pave the way for Hamilton to stay in Texas. The Rangers' response to this development is going to be fascinating to watch.

But for now the Rangers remain a player for Hamilton, instead of getting crossed out. That could at least be used as leverage in Hamilton's contract negotiations. That could at most mean Hamilton is as good as being a Ranger going forward. If Greinke going to Texas meant that the Hamilton situation would be resolved in short order, Greinke going to LA indicates that Hamilton might not make a decision so soon. This could conceivably drag on for some while yet.

Still, a Hamilton resolution is approaching, and this is unlikely to go the way of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. Let's say that, yesterday, based on what we knew, the Mariners stood an X% chance of signing Josh Hamilton as a free agent. That was with Greinke still available, and possibly leaning toward Texas. Now, with Greinke joining the Dodgers, the Mariners stand a Y% chance of signing Josh Hamilton, with Y < X. We don't know the difference between X and Y, but we can presume that a difference exists since the Rangers are still out there, with money and Hamilton-specific familiarity.

Thankfully, you know who isn't the only available high-level position player? Josh Hamilton! Because there's also Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, if you're into that sort of thing. This isn't Josh-Hamilton-or-bust, and I'd be delighted to end up with Swisher, myself. Now that Greinke has made a decision, the rest of the market should get going in earnest. We'll still have to sit and wait, which is what most of the offseason is, but that's also what most of life is. Come to think of it, we should do less sitting and waiting. At least stand and wait. At most, stand and do. This country is so out of shape. Do something. If you insist on waiting, at least wait and do jumping jacks.

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M's, Josh Hamilton Have Opinions Of One Another

It would be an exaggeration to say that the Seattle Mariners have been linked to every single available and potentially available hitter in the major leagues. It would be less of an exaggeration to say that about the Mariners than it would be to say that about anybody else. Michael Bourn is a new name that people are talking about, since the Mariners met with Scott Boras and Boras represents Bourn and also lots of other players too. Raul Ibanez is a name that makes some sense and that isn't far-fetched. Today's Nate McLouth link is weird and probably garbage, as is today's Brennan Boesch link. Justin Upton could still be traded and the Mariners could still be involved or have the potential to become involved.

But the big geode is Josh Hamilton. Toward the start of the offseason, some writers speculated that the Mariners could be in on Hamilton to the end. Not long ago, Jack Zduriencik downplayed the Mariners' interest. Now, bam! Accept Josh Hamilton rumors back into your life!

The Mariners have met with Hamilton here at the meetings. By definition, that's exactly what's done at the winter meetings. And because whatever:

The Mariners do have a chance at Hamilton, because Hamilton hasn't signed anywhere yet and the Mariners aren't literally and thoroughly uninterested. The Mariners have said their whole piece about how they don't want to give Hamilton too many years, but nobody wants to give Hamilton seven or eight years from the looks of things, so then that wouldn't be the factor. If the Mariners have a certain range, Hamilton is seemingly not yet out of that range.

But the Mariners have been linked to so many players already that you have to presume certain things are being overstated, exaggerated, or simply made up. It works to a lot of peoples' interests to have the Mariners thought to be interested in an available player. The Josh Hamilton market is unclear, and things could accelerate if other teams think the Mariners are hot in pursuit. Maybe the Mariners are hot in pursuit. Maybe they're tepid in pursuit. Maybe they want the Hamilton market to hurry up so that other markets can also hurry up. Everything that goes on is interconnected.

For the Mariners, Nick Swisher seems to be a more likely acquisition than Josh Hamilton. That's relative, and neither is an actual likely acquisition in isolation. There was a rumor today that Swisher's favorite city is Seattle, and that might or might not be meaningful or complete bullshit. There's talk that Hamilton will be guided by God and won't just go to the high bidder, and that might also be meaningful or complete bullshit. What we've learned so far today is that the Mariners are highly interested in adding offense to their baseball club. If we were goldfish, we would think, wow, that is fresh and fascinating information! Then we would think, wow, that is fresh and fascinating information! Then we would think, wow, that is fresh and fascinating information! twice was enough

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