5 Seattle Mariners Fallbacks If They Cannot Sign Josh Hamilton
If you're a Seattle Mariners fan, you may be familiar with a player by the name of Josh Hamilton.
The big power hitter who has recently starred with the Texas Rangers, but seems to come with a few issues.
Ever since the start of free agency, a potential union of Hamilton and the Mariners has been discussed by just about everyone with a pulse.
For better or for worse, the rumors refuse to die as Hamilton's fate, and by extension the Mariners, continues to drift aimlessly as days have turned to weeks with the potential threat of becoming months.
Honestly, I'm tired of Hamilton with the on-going drama surrounding him and still think the M's should avoid him; therefore, as a change of pace, I wanted to provide a few fallback options for the team if they can't sign him.
By now quite a few options have been taken off the table through free agency and trades, still I think the M's can make a move or two that will help them improve in 2013 and maybe win back a few fans.
Nick Swisher: OF/1B
If we assume that Josh Hamilton signs elsewhere, Nick Swisher is the man that would make the most sense as Plan B.
Some would argue that if Hamilton wants too much money or too many years that Swisher should be Plan A, but that's another story.
Early on I will confess that I wasn't a huge fan of Swisher given his age and price tag, but Dave Cameron at USS Mariner helped offer some perspective on the situation that led me to reconsider.
When you factor in Swisher's positional versatility on a young team with more than a few holes to fill, it might make sense to offer him a deal and still have enough money left over to bring in someone else as well.
Logan Morrison: OF/1B
Morrison is not without question marks, but good luck finding someone this offseason that comes risk free.
Meanwhile, he has the potential to not only fill the holes that Swisher could, but also be seven years younger and perhaps inject some personality into the M's locker room.
If Miami is willing to let him go for a reasonable price, I think M's general manager Jack Zduriencik would be foolish not to make a move.
Michael Bourn: Outfield
Understand, I like Michael Bourn, but I don't love him.
The reason being is that I don't think he's a good fit for the Mariners.
At the same time, desperate times tend to lead to desperate measures, right?
On the plus side, Bourn should be able to fill in the leadoff spot now that Ichiro is gone and perhaps win a Gold Glove, but what the M's really need is someone who can protect the youngsters in the middle of the order rather than a table-setter likely to be left stranded.
Beyond that, Bourn would simply be a "big name" that the M's can put to the forefront as an attempt to help bring fans to the ballpark and use in their promotional campaigns.
Hiroyuki Nakajima: Shortstop
Hiroyuki Nakajima is another player I've discussed on several other occasions, but refuse to give up on for the Mariners as someone I've had on my wishlist for years.
Right now it may not make much sense to bring in a shortstop with Brendan Ryan capably filling in with his Gold Glove-caliber work, but hear me out.
Bringing in Nakajima would accomplish two goals.
One, it would provide the team a suitable infield option in the place of Ryan, Kyle Seager or Dustin Ackley if any of them should have trouble hitting the baseball next season.
Second, it would give the team some flexibility to trade Nick Franklin and perhaps net them an everyday player at a position the M's have a more desperate need for the team can develop long term.
These two points link back to Dave Cameron at USS Mariner, who in a post a few days ago looked to find potential solutions to both issues with the M's making a deal to help net Texas prospect Mike Olt.
At the same time, could signing Nakajima and then trading Franklin net Logan Morrison?
Probably not, but we're all trying to help...
Lance Berkman: 1B/DH
Wait, didn't we just sign Jason Bay?
Why should the Mariners sign another well-past-his-prime fossil?
If and only if all other options have been exhausted should general manager Jack Zduriencik make this move and on terms agreeable to both sides.
Whether Berkman has anything left in the tank is a good question, but why I place him ahead of at least a half dozen other options is that for some foolish reason I think he might be able to help the one player who needs the most help...Justin Smoak.
Many of the M's hypothetically crafted moves this offseason have centered on making Smoak redundant or simply obsolete. Within this article alone I've offered two-and-a-half such scenarios, but also realize that such moves will likely never happen.
Signing Berkman, though, might be exactly what Smoak needs—a veteran who can guide him, yet not threaten him.
Maybe I've watched too many movies or like to think that veterans in their twilight will willingly offer their support to younger players, but what if Berkman can help light a fire under Smoak?
Wouldn't that be better than basically dumping him?
I know I'm grasping at straws here, but as the days and weeks pass you start to get the feeling that the "big deal/signing" just isn't going to happen.
Obviously, signing Berkman wouldn't solve everything, but nor would anyone else, including Josh Hamilton.
Something's got to give, and the current lineup needs all the help it can get.