Josh Hamilton: Outfielder Must Only Be the Start for the Seattle Mariners

Jon Reid@@JonReidCSMCorrespondent IIDecember 11, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 03:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum on October 3, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There has been a lot of chatter involving the Seattle Mariners and some of baseball's biggest free-agent names.

Just about every outfielder available has piqued the interest of Seattle's front office at some point this offseason.

That includes Josh Hamilton, the biggest bat on the free-agent market of the 2012-13 offseason.

According to both Jon Heyman of and Ken Rosenthal of, the Seattle Mariners are serious about bringing in the free agent slugger:

#redsox are very unlikely on hamilton. #mariners, however, are said "real" players for JH

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 6, 2012

Sources: #Mariners have discussed three-year deals with Hamilton in range of $20M to $25M per season.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2012

That's great news for M's fans who have been waiting a long time to see their team truly become competitive.

Adding Hamilton would be a great start.

It would be just that, however—a start.

Let me be clear, I'm not trying to say that Hamilton is overrated, I'm simply saying he's not superman.

The job that needs to be done in Seattle is far more extensive than simply picking up one power bat and plugging it into the middle of the lineup.

Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak are the only other bats that opposing pitchers probably don't want to face, and Smoak has been absolutely dreadful since arriving in Seattle.

Names like Brendan Ryan, Dustin Ackley, John Jaso, Eric Thames and Casper Wells aren't exactly associated with high batting averages or home run totals.

Even if the Mariners were to sign Josh Hamilton, there would still be some serious work to do.

Perhaps also signing center fielder and leadoff specialist Michael Bourn would be a good fit, especially if ownership is serious about letting payroll climb above $90 million.

The Mariners also have a plethora of young pitching talent—both on their roster and in their minor league system—that they could use as trade bait to bring in another bat.

Any combination of names like Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino is sure to net the Mariners some sort of big fish.

Whether they try and trade for another bat or sign two through free agency, if they are serious about bringing in Hamilton, they are going to need to do more if they hope to compete as early as 2013.

Not to mention, it would go a long way in showing Felix Hernandez that they're serious about winning and would surely help in re-signing him long term.