Rumor Update: December 5th


There has been a lot of talk surrounding the Mariners at the Winter Meetings. In fact, I’d say we are one of, if not the most talked about team in Nashville. The team is being linked to almost every hitter there is, and that’s not really surprising.

Thing is, talk is cheap. Now, I am confident Jack Z is doing everything within his power to add a bat. I can picture him running around Nashville like a crazy person, phone in hand, knocking on peoples doors, some that have nothing to do with the MLB. Unfortunately, activity does not always guarantee success. We all know how hard it is to lure hitters here, and that Jack and company will have to overpay to get someone here.

But at least we know he is trying, and that’s all we can ask for.

There has already been a signing, but it’s probably not what you would hope for. It looks as though the Mariners have agreed to sign Jason Bay to a one-year deal, reportedly for around $1 million.

I am pretty neutral on this deal. I am all for reclamation projects, but I am not a fan of the guaranteed, major league contract that he was given. I am not sure that he has a chance to be much better than Casper Wells, who is the current 4th outfielder.

If other moves, hopefully for a real hitter, are made, then I have no problem with this move. But if he is the big signing for the offseason, I won’t be too happy.

Anyway, back to the rumors.

Jon Morosi reports that if the Nationals are able to re-sign 1st baseman Adam Laroche, that they could trade Mike Morse to Seattle, who are showing interest.

I am a fan of a move for Morse, but I don’t feel that he is the instant fix either. He has played mostly left field for Washington, but is not very good at there, and fits better as a 1st baseman who you can throw in a corner outfield spot if you need to.

There’s no doubt in my mind that he can hit however, as seen in his .303/.360/.550, .390 wOBA, 148 wRC+ line in 2011. That was his only full season, as he battled injuries last year, and didn’t get a ton of playing time in 2010. But even in those seasons he put up  .340 wOBA/113 wRC+ and .377 wOBA/134 wRC+ in those seasons respectively.

I think he makes more sense coming in with a Swisher, Hamilton or Upton (who I will talk about later on), but by himself wouldn’t be too bad either. Washington is said to be seeking bullpen help, so if he could be had for one of Carter Capps or Stephen Pryor and a prospect not named James, Danny, Nick or Taijuan, I think Jack should jump all over it.

Will the Mariners pick up Josh Hamilton in the winter meetings? Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

John Heyman reported that the Mariners are still in on Josh Hamilton, but like everyone else, they prefer a shorter deal.

Hamilton is a guy who has grown on me. That may sound strange considering I am talking about a superstar, but I was really worried about him. And in many ways I still am. I am not a fan of him on more than a 5 year deal, and for no more than $25 million a year.

But I am now hoping the Mariners offer him just that. It is obvious now that you are going to have to overpay no matter what. So you might as well overpay for a star. Id rather give an MVP 5/125 than someone like the recently signed Shane Victorino 3/$39 million.

I also think that if you are going to go for it, then you should get another guy like Morse in addition to Hamilton. As great as he is, I think this team may be a little more than one bat away from competing, especially if the Rangers trade for Upton.

There has also been a lot of speculation from various places that the Mariners are not only in on Nick Swisher, but may be the favorite.

It makes a lot of sense to me. Swisher is an above average hitter, and can play both right field and 1st, which are our biggest holes on the team. He is a guy that is going to give you a .265/.365/.475 line year in and year out. Now, he is turning 32 this year, and would most likely command a 4-5 year deal, so its probably necessary to assume a small decline from that as time passes.

But his ability to draw walks and get on base is the best part of his game, and that’s very encouraging for aging guys. Plate discipline is something that tends to stick around, unlike speed and things of that nature. Even if he isn’t the best contact guy, he should continue to get on base, and provide at least 20-25 home run power for the next few years.

That, combined with the fact that he plays slightly above average defense at the team’s two weakest positions make him my favorite option. Like Hamilton, it is always best to get another bat through trade to come along with him, but he would be okay by himself.

If he can come here a 4/62, I think he makes the most sense out of anyone.

Rumors of interest in Michael Bourn have also begun to surface recently.

He does not make much sense to me at all. He is essentially Franklin Gutierrez mixed with 2010 Chone Figgins, and that’s not an exaggeration. He is one of the best defensive center fielders in the league (Guti) and gets most of his offensive production from his speed and decent on base  ability.

If you compare Bourn’s 2012 to Figgins’s 2009, or the year before he signed here, it is scarily similar. But what’s even scarier is that Figgins was better. In 2012 Bourn hit .273/.348/.391 compared to .298/.395/.393 for Figgins. Figgins also bested him in WAR at 6.9 vs 6.4.

There is no guarantee that Bourn follows the same path, but I would argue that it is likely. Players that rely heavily, or solely in Bourn’s case, on speed, tend to decline. I don’t think that is what Seattle needs. They need bats, and Bourn really doesn’t fit that mold, especially at $15 million a year like he will get.

If he were to come in with Upton or Butler, then I can see it. But even then, I don’t think he would be too much of an upgrade over what we have. It would be a poor use of money, and I think we would see Figgins 2.0.

Finally, there are still some Justin Upton rumors, but they have cooled down, at least involving the Mariners. It looks like the Diamondbacks and Indians are looking for an Upton-Asdrubal Cabrera trade, but need another team, or three.

So far it’s sounding like the Royals, Rangers and Rays are those other three teams and there are reports that deals have already been put into place. It is looking very unlikely that Upton will come to Seattle.

However, there have been reports that Seattle is interested in shortstop Dee Gordon. The only, and I mean ONLY, logical explanation for that is that Jack is trying to put together a package for Upton, knowing that Arizona wants a shortstop.

The problem with that is that Dee Gordon is awful. He is a below average hitter now, and most likely will never be better than average. That, combined with his below average defense make for a very invaluable player. Without his speed, he would not be in the bigs.

The Mariners have no use for him with a better version of him in Brenden Ryan, and Nick Franklin is not too far away.

Its a confusing and frustrating time. It is particularly frustrating to me because a lot of the rumors we are hearing are not very good moves as is.  A move for Gordon is a waste. Bourn is not valuable to a team looking for power. We just have to stick it out and hope for the best.