Seattle Mariners

Free-Agency Fallout: Why Dexter Fowler Is the Answer for the Seattle Mariners

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 11:  Center fielder Dexter Fowler #24 of the Colorado Rockies is unable to catch a pop fly by Gregor Blanco #7 of the San Francisco Giants that was blown by the wind in the fourth inning at Coors Field on September 11, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
J.J. MatthewsContributor IIIDecember 13, 2012

Yesterday, I wrote about the fallout of the Shin-Soo Choo trade, which indirectly shifted the landscape of the Seattle Mariners' offseason.

 

I discussed increases in price tags for Nick Swisher and Josh Hamilton, which I am now half right about after Jon Morosi reported the final numbers for Hamilton’s contract.

 

Josh Hamilton deal is worth $125 million over 5 years, source confirms ESPN Dallas report.

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 13, 2012

 

 

To be honest, it is not something I wanted to be right about.

As a lifetime Mariner fan, and as a fan of baseball in general, you want to see teams like Seattle succeed.

Will it be difficult without the big-name free agents? Yes.

Will it be difficult without the biggest television deals? Yes.

Is it impossible? No.

When push comes to shove, the Seattle Mariners are not going to buy their way to a World Series, and they probably never will. But there is still an option available on the trade market to show free agents that the ownership in Seattle is serious about winning.

His name is Dexter Fowler.

As I documented in my last article, Fowler is just the piece that the Mariners need to kick start their offseason, and hopefully point the ship in the right direction.

Fowler is the long-term center fielder the team is looking for, and the perfect catalyst to move Dustin Ackley out of the leadoff role.

He's not as solid as a defender as some may want with a DWAR (Defensive Wins Above Replacement) of -.8.

But to put things into perspective, Adam Jones registered a DWAR of -1.3, and I doubt any Seattle fan would complain about him in center field.

The best part of the situation? The Colorado Rockies are a PERFECT trading partner.

The Rockies are in desperate need of pitching, which is something Seattle has been stockpiling for years. From The Big Three of Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton, to the middle-tier prospects like Erasmo Ramirez, Brandon Maurer and Andrew Carraway, Seattle has more than enough chips to get a deal done.

I know the pie-in-the-sky idea of trading for someone like Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki is out there. But does anyone truly believe that if ownership wasn't willing to open their wallets for players like Prince Fielder, that they would open up for the contracts signed by Gonzalez or Tulowitzki?

Trading for Dexter Fowler shows both the fanbase and the league that Seattle is willing to compete. 

You can bet that if Nick Swisher signs on the dotted line with the Cleveland Indians, that it will be because of the deal that brought them Trevor Bauer and Drew Stubbs.

Cleveland showed free agents they were aggressive in trying to win, something ownership in Seattle has yet to do. No offense to Jason Bay, but his acquisition does not scream "win now."

Let's face it, the Mariners are bottom feeding on free agents right now because players like Bay are the only players who want to sign in Seattle; players who want to find playing time and re-establish value.

The only way ownership is going to get free agents to come to Seattle is by making a few trades to bring in the offensive talent they need, and they need to start with Fowler.

Without a trade for a big-name guy, Seattle fans need to prepare to be shut out once again in free agency; because as of right now, things continue to look overcast in the Emerald City.

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