Itís going on eight years now since the Mariners used free agency to go after big offensive improvement. There has been speculation, based at least somewhat from the teamís own comments that the massive profits they have made for years may finally be getting hot enough in the pocket to demand some spending. Now we have our first major rumor with esteemed/reviled reporter Jon Heyman of CBS indicated the Mariners may enter the fray with Josh Hamilton.
Since I donít have the free months necessary to exhaust the possible angles that would come from a comprehensive Josh Hamilton commentary I will simply note that heís possibly the most interesting player in the game and capable of maybe the widest variance in performance. His talent allows him to go stretches performing as the best hitter in the game and his lack of plate discipline leads to stretches of him hitting like Rey Ordonez with a strikeout problem. Couple in the myriad addiction/fragility questions along with his age (31) and rumored contract demands (7 years, $175 million) and youíll twist yourself into pretzels trying to figure out how to feel about the idea of Josh Hamilton: Seattle Mariner.
The Mariners have spent the Jack Z era largely pinching pennies and attempting to reduce payroll from the Benny Hill Gang Theme Song inspired Bavasi era. With almost all the chaff off the payroll this may be finally the year we see the team allow Jack to supplement his improving farm system with some big name free agents.
Or maybe theyíre set with Scott Cousins. Only the passing of time and scheduled press conferences will tell.