What Hamilton to the Angels means for the Ms
By JJ Keller
I am sure all of you heard the news about Josh Hamilton agreeing to a 5 year, $125 million contract with the AL West rival Angels. This is bad news for not only the Hamilton-or-busters, but really for every Mariner fan. Even if you did not find Hamilton enticing, you cannot like seeing him sign with a rival, especially one who was already a very good team.
I, personally, was somewhere in the middle. I was not all in on Josh as some were, but I did like him for the right price. I might have even given him the deal that LA did, but I have a feeling we would have had to beat that offer by quite a bit. Playing for an 89 win team with the likes of Albert Pujols and Mike Trout is a little more attractive than coming to a young team with a lot of question marks in a pitchers park.
Now many of you may be thinking the Ms absolutely need to sign Nick Swisher or someone comparable so we can try to match what the Angels did, and I understand where you are coming from. But I strongly disagree.
In my opinion, the Mariners have two options at this point.
- They can either sit tight and maybe make a few smaller additions such as Jason Kubel or Mike Morse to at least stay relevant, but not go after a big time free agent, or
- They can go all out and bring in 3-4 big time players like Swisher, Justin Upton, Michael Bourn and a pitcher.
Let me explain what some people may think of as crazy.
Option one makes sense because they aren’t going to compete in this division, even if they bring in one big name bat like many hoped for. 3.5 – 4 WAR Nick Swisher does not get us anywhere but 3rd place at best. He probably never would have instantly brought the Ms to contention, but now there is almost no chance. No one or two players are going to be able to catch the Angels, at least for the next few years.
That’s why it makes sense to stay put for now, and reassess next year or the year after. Then we can bring in a bat that will still be around when the Angels are old and the Ms have a chance to win. Bringing in Swisher on a 4-5 year deal when they won’t compete until the last two years of the deal, when Swisher is most likely no more than an average player, does not help.
Wait it out, then make your big splash in 2014 or 2015.
As for option two, it is the only chance the Ms have at competing in the next year or two. They are way behind the Angels now, and it would take multiple top players to stay with them. I’m talking signing Swisher, Bourn and Edwin Jackson, no matter what it takes. Trading for Upton no matter what it takes. Doing whatever is needed to get the players that will keep you in the hunt.
Unfortunately, I think option one is much more likely for this team. Ownership has not shown a huge desire to win, and I don’t expect that to change. I see Jack trading for a 2nd or 3rd tier guy like Mike Morse or Jason Kubel, and waiting the rest out. As hard as it is to admit, that may be the best option for this current Mariner team.