By Shannon Drayer
I planned on writing about some “what if” scenarios for the Mariners today and then came across Dave Cameron’s piece on U.S.S. Mariner which summed up just about everything I wished most folks already knew when they asked me about the latest Mariners rumors. The post is a great explanation of just where a lot of the rumors we hear this time of year in particular come from. If you are a fan of hot stove baseball he points to certain things you should keep in mind when hearing about certain players being tied to certain teams. Good stuff. If you have a few minutes please give it a read.
As for the “what ifs”, I wanted to get your thoughts on some things. The Mariners have money to spend this year but it is a rather thin free-agent market. It doesn’t appear that there will be any buyer-friendly deals for the M’s with any of the top 10 names. The Mariners will most likely will have to overspend to get one of those players and honestly, that’s okay. Top free agents in any given year get top dollars. Some years the top free agents are better than the top free agents in other years but regardless, those at the top in any given year are going to get top dollar.
David Wright could be an option for the M’s if the Mets don’t retain him. (AP)
We are hoping that Jack Zduriencik will be able to make a good trade or two in the next couple of months but obviously, that is not completely in his control. A little bit more, but still not completely in his control, is who he spends his money on. The player has to be willing to come to Seattle and sometimes that may take a little extra. Who do you reach for if you are the Mariners and you have to spend that money?
Mike Napoli may or may not have a team willing to go three years with him. If he does, do you go four or even five? If that is the best bat available to you that you know you can bring to Seattle, how far do you go for him?
According to various reports, the Red Sox have had ongoing negotiations with Nick Swisher. That could be a tough bidding war to find yourself in. Do you do something bold to try to avoid that?
No one knows what the market for Josh Hamilton is. Someone could make a huge splash at the winter meetings next week or his market could be even slower to develop. What is your limit for Hamilton and do you re-think that if it appears you may not be able to get anything else big done?
One last scenario: what if the Mets cannot get a deal done with David Wright and decide to trade him? What if you could pull off a Cliff Lee-like deal for him? Lee was relatively cheap at $8 million the year he pitched for the Mariners and none of the players Zduriencik gave up have come back to haunt them. Wright is scheduled to earn $16 million this year. Would you take him at that salary for one year if you still had the money shortly after the winter meetings?
Do you not spend that money and gamble that you can get a deal done that will bring in established players? You can only do that if you still have money left to spend.
At some point the Mariners will have to do something bold to bring the bat they want via free agency to Seattle. Give it some thought. Are you comfortable doing that with a player that is currently available this year? Are you willing to roll the dice that a big name will actually be available in trade?
Is there someone on the market that you would be willing to make a splash for? How far would you go?