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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