The Seattle Mariners have long been linked to free-agent Nick Swisher as a could-be serious suitor. The Swisher sweepstakes took some time to get going, but now that Josh Hamilton has signed with the Angels, Swisher's going on a grand tour of the country. He's meeting with people who want him, and if you actually think about this, it's basically grown men asking a grown man to come be their friend, and they'll pay him for it. There's so much desperation in sports.
Well, today, Swisher met with the Indians in Cleveland. He hung out with the executives, he hung out with Jim Tressel, and they put his face on the Progressive Field scoreboard. The Indians seem to be going all-out in their pursuit. The Mariners were not prepared for this, and in fact at the moment I don't think they even have a scoreboard to put Swisher's face on if they wanted to. How do you even compete with something like that? (This is how you compete with something like that.) It hasn't felt lately like the Mariners are actually deeply in there on Swisher, and Jon Heyman tweets as much:
the swisher tour does not currently include the #mariners. get feeling they want to do protect that No. 12 draft pick— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 18, 2012
Taken as is, Heyman doesn't get the vibe that the Mariners are a real player for Swisher. He's not alone in that regard, and if Swisher is meeting with his serious suitors, and if Swisher isn't meeting with the Mariners, it follows that the Mariners probably aren't a serious suitor. If the Mariners aren't a serious suitor at this stage, they're probably not a serious suitor at all, and teams who aren't serious suitors of good players tend to not end up with those good players.
So the Mariners might be focusing elsewhere, after losing out on Hamilton. Elsewhere could be Michael Bourn, or Andre Ethier, or out the window. Or at their shoes. The Mariners might just be staring at their shoes. On the other hand, we don't know that for absolute sure. Note that Heyman writes "the Swisher tour does not currently include the Mariners". The Mariners could conceivably make themselves included. Or the Mariners might have already said what they want to say to Nick Swisher. It isn't impossible that the Mariners have already made their pitch, that Swisher knows exactly where they stand. Maybe a visit this week isn't considered necessary. The chances of Nick Swisher signing with the Mariners right now, based on what's known, are not zero percent.
But realistically, we can probably think about the Mariners getting other players who aren't this player. For better or worse, since the pickings aren't tremendous. I like Bourn more than most of you guys probably do but I have no idea what that market's like and it's not like Bourn's going to come as a bargain. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this offseason but I was expecting something, and so far there has not really been something.
Bourn, of course, like Swisher, would cost the Mariners that first-round draft pick. Heyman doesn't think the Mariners want to surrender that pick, and sure, the Mariners don't want to surrender that pick, but they were willing to do so for Hamilton, so it's not like this is black and white. The Mariners will surrender that pick for a player they think is good enough, and I'm not sure if they think Bourn is good enough. They evidently don't think that Swisher is good enough. Zduriencik has noted a few times that the qualifying offer is a consideration but that it won't determine a course of action on its own.
Nick Swisher: probably not a 2013 Seattle Mariner. Or a Seattle Mariner any time after that. But the book isn't closed entirely, because when a guy is being courted heavily by Cleveland, he'll be aware of what he'd be getting himself into. I honestly don't know what the Mariners would do if they missed on Swisher and Bourn, since they have intentions of spending but no easy way to spend, but that's a separate topic worthy of its own post. Possibly on Lookout Landing! A Seattle Mariners blog for Seattle Mariners fans!