MLB Trade Rumors: Seattle Mariners Set to Become Major Contenders?

Jon Reid@@JonReidCSMCorrespondent IIDecember 5, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 5:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers looks at a camera crews microphone during batting practice before the American League Wild Card game against the /TEAM on October 5, 2012 at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

In an offseason flush with rumors of signings and trades, one of the more frequent team names popping up seems to be the Seattle Mariners.

With big-time prospects like Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen to offer, the Mariners seem to be in on just about all of the big trade rumors, and are also involved in rumors surrounding current free agents.

With regards to the Justin Upton rumors that emerged yesterday at the winter meetings, Jon Paul Morosi of FOXsports.com tweeted that the Mariners were one of three teams involved in discussions with the Diamondbacks:

 

Justin Upton has drawn active interest from 3 teams today: Mariners, Rangers, Indians. @mlbonfox

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 4, 2012

 

The team has also taken a flyer on former Mets left-fielder Jason Bay, according to Jon Heyman of cbssports.com:

 

Jason bay finalizing deal with mariners. Major league deal for seven figures

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 5, 2012

 

Despite that signing, Jon Paul Morosi tweets that the Mariners may still be interested in adding outfielder/DH Jason Kubel:

 

Jason Kubel remains a #Mariners trade target even with Jason Bay deal apparently imminent.

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 5, 2012

 

Meanwhile, on the free-agent front, Heyman also tweets that the Mariners are interested in center fielder Michael Bourn, arguably this offseason's best free agent outfielder:

 

#mariners like bourn very much. Other possibilities include phillies and rangers (tho tex is in many, many other things)

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 5, 2012

 

If that falls through, Jon Paul Morosi tweets that they are also one of three teams in the market to sign outfielder Nick Swisher:

 

Mariners, Indians and Red Sox among teams still in Nick Swisher market.

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 5, 2012

 

And hey, why stop there?

Why not try and sign this offseason's biggest free-agent bat as well? Josh Hamilton may also be on the Mariners wish list this holiday season.

Again, from Jon Heyman:

 

#mariners also interested in josh hamilton but like the others prefer short-term arrangement

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 5, 2012

 

It seems as though the Mariners are going to make at least one splash this offseason. With the team working on an extension for superstar starter Felix Hernandez, signing or trading for a big bat to plug into the middle of the order may really bolster the M's chances of competing.

Talk is cheap though, and the Mariners have stiff competition for most of the players mentioned above, most notably their division rivals and perennial contenders, the Texas Rangers.

Being interested in the biggest names on the market is one thing. Actually going out and spending the money to acquire them is quite another.

While no one expects the Mariners to sign all of these players, showing interest in such a variety of top-end targets and failing to sign a single one of them would be an embarrassment.

We shall see if the Mariners do, indeed, become major players this offseason or if their bark is louder than their bite.