Exploring Every Free Agent Rumor I Can Think of

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As is natural during the boring off season, rumors and ideas as to who we should sign have been flying – some of them good, some of them just plain awful. Some of them could be perfect fits, others would make absolutely no sense. Today, I’m going to take a look at every single one that I’ve encountered. And I won’t just be looking at actual rumors – I’m even going to explore the most random fan suggestions. In no particular order;

Jason Bay: This is one that, by now, only the uneducated, or extremely casual fans are still advocating. At this point, it should be pretty clear to all of you that signing Jason Bay would be a mistake. He’d be extremely expensive, he can’t play defense, he’s going to want a long term deal, and he’s a terrible fit for Safeco Field. Jack Zduriencik is smarter than this – it just won’t happen.

John Lackey: Lackey is a good pitcher, and he’d be a more than adequate #2 behind Felix, but he’s going to cost a lot of money, and I’d be surprised if the Mariners seriously pursued him. However, as it has been pointed out, we do have some money to spend this year, and due to the lack of good free agent pitchers, I might be proven wrong here. We’ll see.

Matt Holliday: Holliday is similar to Bay in a lot of ways, but would make a ton more sense for the Mariners. First and foremost – he can play defense. He’s been above average out in left for most of his career – so unlike Bay, it wouldn’t be an all offense, no defense signing. But, like Bay, he’d be expensive, and offensively, he’s not a good fit for Safeco Field. However, if Jack Zduriencik does decide to go the right handed power hitter route with FA’s, I’d strongly prefer Holliday to Jason Bay.

Rich Harden: We should all know Harden’s story by now – a ton of talent, with an extremely fragile body. He might have the most upside of any pitcher on the market, but he also comes with one of the biggest risks. If he were able to stay healthy, he could be an excellent #2, but that’s far from a guarantee. If we were able to get him on a one year, incentive laced contract, he could be an extremely beneficial signing.

Ben Sheets: Sheets, like Harden, would be a high risk, high reward signing. Their situations are a little bit different, though. Harden has dealt with injury issues throughout his entire career, while they’ve really only hit Sheets over the last couple of years. Overall, same thing as with Harden here – a one year, incentive laced contract would be excellent.

Erik Bedard: Yet another fragile, talented pitcher here. I think all of you know what you need to know about Bedard by now – he has a lot of upside, but he’s nowhere near a safe bet to stay healthy, and he rarely goes more than 5 or 6 innings. Also, he’s currently recovering from probably the most severe injury a pitcher can sustain. Some would advocate a one year, incentive laced deal, and that could work out, but I’d recommend staying away and pursuing either Harden or Sheets.

Jarrod Washburn: See Here

JJ Putz: Now that the Mets have decided not to exercise his option, JJ is back on the market, and I’ve heard 1 or 2 fans suggest we bring him back. No thanks. JJ’s been consistently dealing with injuries since 2007, and at this point he’d be a silly acquisition for the Mariners. He’s still going to be fairly expensive, and unless we trade Lowe or Aardsma, we really don’t need him.

Orlando Hudson: A second baseman signing is only likely to come to fruition if we either trade Jose Lopez or move him to third base, but it’s still worth taking a look at. Hudson would certainly not come cheap, but he’d be an improvement offensively, without taking a hit defensively. There will certainly be more to explore here if Lopez gets traded.

*Edit: Apparently Hudson has no interest in coming to the American League, so that pretty much kills any chances of the Mariners signing him

Felipe Lopez: Pretty much everything I said about Orlando Hudson, ditto for Felipe Lopez. The only differences are that Lopez would be slightly cheaper, play slightly better defense, and be slightly more of a risk.

Chone Figgins: Chone Figgins is an excellent player, and he could potentially be a perfect fit at third base for the Mariners, but he’s going to cost a lot of money, and probably want a long term deal. Not only that, but a bidding war is probably going to take place here, and I just don’t think the Mariners are going to get seriously involved in that, rather than giving Matt Tuiasosopo a chance. From what I’ve read, the Mariners also apparently don’t really have any interest in Figgins.

Gregg Zaun: If it turns out that Adam Moore isn’t ready to take on a starting role, and Rob Johnson isn’t going to be fully recovered from his surgeries, the Mariners might decide to go after a stop gap type of catcher. If that’s the case, Zaun would be a pretty nice fit. Despite being 38 years old, he’s still a pretty good offensive catcher, and he’d no doubt come relatively cheap.

Carlos Delgado: Delgado can still swing it, as shown by his .364 wOBA in 2008, and despite missing nearly all of ’09 with injuries, could nicely fill the hole at DH for the M’s in 2010. That would require him to stay healthy, though, and at his age that isn’t a real safe bet, but we could probably land him for a relatively cheap one year deal.

Jim Thome: See; Carlos Delgado.

Adam LaRoche: I haven’t heard LaRoche’s name pop up all that much, but I thought he was worth including. Much like Thome or Delgado, he could do an adequate job in the DH role, but he’s a lot younger, and would probably make sense in something like a two year, $10 million type of deal. He’s a good hitter, and he fits Safeco Field. Might be worth exploring.

Nick Johnson: I’m sure you all remember that Nick Johnson is the DH that Dave Cameron advocated signing in his 2010 off season plan, and it’s easy to see why. He’s a really good hitter. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but he makes up for it with his ability to get on base. Just as something to think about, his wOBA’s over the last four seasons: .373, .374, .405, .379.

Hideki Matsui: Matsui would be another good fit for the DH role. He’s left handed, his power is to right, and Seattle would apparently be his second choice (can anyone verify this?), behind New York. That’ exactly where I expect him to stay, though, so don’t get your hopes up.

Jermaine Dye: He’s old, in decline, expensive, doesn’t fit Safeco, and can’t play defense. No thank you.

Vladimir Guerrero: See; Jermaine Dye.

Doug Davis: I don’t see this happening. I can see the need for starting pitching, but Doug Davis is 34 years old, and just not very good. I guess it really depends on what statistics you trust more – FIP sees him as decent, while tRA sees him as pretty bad, and I tend to lean towards tRA.

Nate Johnson: Sick soccer player. Also could be student that goes to Shorecrest high school.