It seems to happen every year for the Seattle Mariners. They're rumored to be one of the final three teams able to sign a number of top free agents, yet somehow never land a big fish.
Frustration among Mariners fans must be mounting and not because they aren't bringing in big names. I don't think it's the lack of action from the front office during the offseason that's getting on Mariners' fans nerves as much as it's about the team being in discussions with big names and continually failing to land its targets.
Such is the case once again in 2012, with the Mariners having been "real players" for free-agent slugger Josh Hamilton.
Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the team had even discussed contract terms with the Hamilton camp:
Sources: #Mariners have discussed three-year deals with Hamilton in range of $20M to $25M per season.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2012
Hamilton is easily the best bat on the market this offseason and was inked to a five-year deal worth an exorbitant $125 million with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, dashing any hopes of the 31-year-old Raleigh, North Carolina native signing in Seattle.
We saw this last year as well, with the Mariners finding themselves in the middle of the Prince Fielder rumors:
#mariners are hoping to be in on prince (but not pujols). Unsure if there's room in budget tho. But will give it a run.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 14, 2011
Every year, it seems as though the Mariners allow this kind of hype to be built, only to stand pat with a lineup that doesn't intimidate anybody.
General manager Jack Zduriencik isn't exactly popular among Mariners fans as it stands, and these kind of antics won't do anything to help him earn their support. Signing Michael Bourn and/or Nick Swisher (two other free agents the Mariners reportedly have interest in) or engineering some kind of trade to bolster Seattle's offense would go a long way to earning some respect.
But who actually believes the Mariners will pull the trigger on either of those signings?
Skepticism is at an all-time high among Mariners supporters—and with good reason.
If Zduriencik keeps this up, he may find himself under scrutiny.
After all, payroll can exceed $85 million, meaning it's up to Zduriencik to go out and find a way to use that money to help improve his team's offense.
Last offseason and this one thus far, he has done an absolutely abysmal job.
How much longer will ownership allow him to hold steady and field a sub-par product while Seattle's division rivals continue to improve?