Will the Seattle Mariners finally start hitting in 2013?
In theory, the Mariners are slowly developing a nice stable of young hitters who have the potential to grow into a productive team in the future. The problem is that progress is a bit too slow for many fans that are wondering when this group is finally going to mature.
The Mariners could go the free-agent route and attempt to bring in a marquee bat. This would be a deviation from their strategy over the last few years and the upcoming crop of free agents is not particularly deep.
Someone like Josh Hamilton is intriguing to discuss, but he may be expensive and could come with some baggage. In addition, he is 31, which means that his best years may be behind him.
Another possibility is a trade. If the Mariners are willing to give up some of their pitching talent that is currently in the minors, they may be able to make a deal with a team that is looking to shed some salaries. One name that has been discussed is David Wright of the New York Mets.
After battling through injuries in 2011, Wright appears to be back this season, hitting over .300 with some above-average power. The Mariners do not exactly have that type of marquee hitter in their lineup, though there is hope that players like Kyle Seager or Jesus Montero will eventually develop into consistent stars.
Wright is a veteran, and he has been a fairly reliable producer throughout his career. At 29, he is still at an age where it would not be unreasonable to give up one or two decent prospects.
There are some downsides. You have a budding third baseman in Kyle Seager. Do you put one of them at first base and give up on the Justin Smoak experiment? Or do you look at Wright as a DH?
I also worry that Safeco Field may sap some of his power. Wright’s career stats are impressive, but his highest home run total for a season was 33. That was back in 2008. In 2012, the most he will probably hit is somewhere in the low 20s. That means that Wright may not be the slugger that the Mariners are craving.
The other problem is cost. Wright makes $15 million and change this season, and he has a $16 million team option for 2013. This seems like the type of salary that Seattle has been hesitant to absorb over the last few seasons. Wright is at the point in his career where he is going to be looking for an expensive long-term contract. Given his history, he should command a pretty lucrative deal.
Granted, this is all academic until the Mets actually put Wright on the market. I have to imagine that if the Mets wanted to trade Wright, there would be some competition around the league.
The Mariners need to make some moves. This offensive development is just too slow.