The Winter Meetings eased to a halt today, producing a few more rumors as reporters and baseball executives packed their bags and made their way to the airport. The biggest development of the day for the Seattle Mariners seemed to be a growing sentiment that the biggest name on the market is very much within reach.
There is always room for surprises, but based on what came out of Nashville on Thursday we see Josh Hamilton's market as:
1) The Texas Rangers keeping Hamilton on the hook as their Plan B while they attempt to land premium free agent hurler Zack Greinke and a replacement outfielder instead.
2) The Mariners eagerly making their case to be his Plan
Z Y X Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B.
3) The Boston Red Sox unwilling to go for it but hanging around to keep the Mariners honest.
The consensus out of Nashville seems to be that if Greinke lands in Arlington, Hamilton is the Mariners' for the taking. Of course, that could change tomorrow. That's how these things go.
A few key Hamilton tweets from Thursday:
Josh Hamilton first choice remains Texas but if they sign Greinke & decide they don"t want to spend on both then Seattle is his fall-back.— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 6, 2012
Mariners involvement in 4 team blockbuster proposals is to utilize prospects to make sure TX gets Upton so they can actually sign Hamilton— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 6, 2012
Buzz this morning points toward Rangers zeroing in on Greinke &trading for a bat instead of signing Josh Hamilton & dealing for an arm— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 6, 2012
Sources: #Mariners have discussed three-year deals with Hamilton in range of $20M to $25M per season.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2012
Free agent center fielder Michael Bourn has been connected to the Mariners a few times over the first three days of the meetings, and while nothing specific tied the two parties together on Thursday, the Philadelphia Phillies acquisition of Minnesota Twins center fielder Ben Revere gave Bourn one less suitor; this following the Atlanta Braves (B.J. Upton signing), Washington Nationals (Denard Span trade), and San Francisco Giants (Angel Pagan signing) securing their outfield captains. Other teams will emerge, but it's looking like Bourn is as accessible as ever.
Free agent corner infielder Kevin Youkilis has been pursued by the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox this week and, according to ESPN.com and Baseball America's Jerry Crasnick, the Mariners have joined the fray. It's hard to image the Mariners making a serious run at Youk given the eight digit annual price tag and probable multi-year commitment for a guy entering his mid-30s and coming off a down year, just as it's hard to imagine Youk suiting up for the Mariners after building a career in the bowels of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.
Anything else interesting out there that I missed? Well, besides Jason Bay?
Rule 5 Draft
#Mariners do not make a selection in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft.— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) December 6, 2012
Mariners don't lose anyone in Major League portion of Rule 5 draft, where 15 players were taken.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) December 6, 2012