MLB Rumors: Breaking Down All the Rumors Involving the Seattle Mariners
Much to the dismay of Seattle Mariners fans everywhere, it has been a slow offseason for the Mariners so far.
Although the team has been tied to almost every bat on the market this winter, Seattle only has Jason Bay to show for its efforts a week away from Christmas.
With free agent bats dwindling, the Mariners continue to check in on all options available via trade or free agency.
Let's get caught up to speed with where the Mariners stand as of this afternoon.
The Latest on Nick Swisher
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However, news has not looked promising over the last few days for Seattle. As Buster Olney reported earlier this week, it appears the Cleveland Indians have begun to make a serious push to acquire the former Yankee slugger.
The Indians are making a push in their effort to land Nick Swisher.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 17, 2012
Buster Olney is one of the most reliable names in the game when it comes to reports, and it wouldn't surprise me if Swisher is starting to see Cleveland as a better option, especially following the huge trade that netted them young pitching prospect Trevor Bauer and outfielder Drew Stubbs.
To make matters worse for the M's, Buster Olney is not the only one reporting this news. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports published this piece today outlining the recent chatter on Swisher and the rest of the free agent front, none of which included the M's.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com also had this to report earlier this afternoon to further back up Olney's inside information:
Free-agent OF Nick Swisher meeting with Indians' brass in Cleveland now. Scheduled to depart town this afternoon. Stay tuned for more.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) December 18, 2012
Needless to say this does not sound like good news for Seattle. Mariners fans just need to hope that Swisher isn't done with his visits yet, and that the Mariners can swoop in late.
Is Michael Bourn a Fit?
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Another name that has begun to surface recently for Seattle has been that of free agent outfielder Michael Bourn.
Bourn began the offseason with what seemed like a laundry list of suitors, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported back in November that teams including the Nationals, Phillies, Reds, and Red Sox all had interest in signing the leadoff specialist.
Unfortunately for Bourn and super agent Scott Boras, all of the teams in that list have already found their answers this offseason in the outfield, and his 2012 employer, the Atlanta Braves, signed BJ Upton to a five-year deal at the end of November to replace him.
Not all is lost for Bourn, as teams like the Texas Rangers have missed on a lot of free agents, but a team has to want Bourn to sign him.
All indications have pointed to Seattle having interest in Bourn as reported by Jon Morosi. The same day of that report, the Mariners were also reported to have had a sit down with Scott Boras who just so happens to be Bourn's agent.
Mariners meeting with Scott Boras. As @jonheymancbs reported earlier, they have some interest in Boras client Michael Bourn.
— DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 4, 2012
Again, this was all before the Josh Hamilton signing, and one has to believe that given the opportunity to play for the Rangers or Mariners, Bourn would most certainly pick Texas. But Seattle has money to spend, and Boras has been known in the past to direct players to the highest bidder.
So yes, the Mariners are most definitely in on Michael Bourn, but management may be hesitant to offer such a big contract to a player who reminds a lot of fans of Chone Figgins.
Ken Rosenthal shared the same thoughts as well.
Is Cody Ross a Target?
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Cody Ross is another player who continues to struggle to find a home.
Ross had a strong year in Boston with a .267/.326/.481 stat line with 22 homers and 34 doubles, all while playing all three outfield positions.
Ross has been rumored to be looking for a contract in the area of three years, $25 million. But many teams, including the New York Mets, have not been interested in committing to Ross for more than two years.
Naturally, as an outfielder with a good bat, the Mariners have been tied to Ross as Ken Rosenthal reported a few days ago. But the Mariners are not the only team looking into Ross' services:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 15, 2012
Ross would be a great option for Seattle. He would offer them a solid bat for the middle of the lineup without requiring them to forfeit a draft pick, as the Red Sox did not make a qualifying offer to him this offseason.
Adam LaRoche Wants Three Years
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This has been one of the most interesting developments all offseason.
Adam LaRoche, 33, is coming off a career year with the Washington Nationals in which he hit .272/.343/.510 with 33 homers and 100 RBI. He has been rumored to be looking for a three-year deal, but the Nationals have been reluctant to go past two years as reported earlier by Jim Bowden of ESPN:
Nats not going to budge on Adam LaRoche.. are not going past 2 years...just like they wouldn't go to 4th year on Buehrle last year
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 6, 2012
Furthermore, reports are beginning to surface that executives believe no team will be willing to give three years to LaRoche, and that the Nationals fully expect to retain their first baseman:
— William Ladson (@washingnats) December 6, 2012
This leaves the Mariners in a very peculiar position. Seattle could very easily offer the third year and see if that would be enough to acquire LaRoche's services. Doing that however shows that the Mariners have abandoned hope on Justin Smoak, as LaRoche played 153 games at first for the Nationals last season.
After Smoak's strong September, the Mariners may be reluctant to sign another first basemen unless he offers the flexibility to play the outfield as well.
Which leads me to the next name on the rumor mill...
Will Mike Morse Be Available?
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Mike Morse's status with the Nationals will be up in the air until Washington decides what to do with Adam LaRoche.
If LaRoche balks at the idea of a two-year deal and moves to another team, the Nationals will hold onto Morse and move him to first, filling the void left by LaRoche.
However, if LaRoche lowers his demands and accepts a two-year deal to return to Washington, Morse appears to be the odd man out.
The Nationals finally acquired a true center fielder this offseason when they traded for Denard Span, which will allow them to move Bryce Harper to left field, while also keeping Jayson Werth in right, thus making Morse potentially expendable.
Rumors had already surfaced about Morse's availability earlier this offseason; one of which included the Mariners. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports offered this scenario on Twitter almost two weeks ago:
#Nationals remain confident they will get LaRoche. Morse then could be dealt to Mariners, who have big interest.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 5, 2012
The Mariners are familiar with Morse, as he played for them earlier in his career. Morse possesses the availability to play the outfield and first base, allowing the M's some flexibility to move him around the field for better matchups.
If the Mariners are not going to make a play for LaRoche, they need to hope that Washington retains him. If not, Seattle could be left out in the cold on both LaRoche and Morse.
What About Brennan Boesch?
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Brennan Boesch would offer an interesting option for the Mariners moving forward. Morosi made it clear that Seattle would be looking at him as a secondary option if they fell short in the Josh Hamilton derby:
No such move is close, the sources said, but Boesch remains a secondary possibility for the Mariners in the event that their top outfield targets — Josh Hamilton chief among them — end up elsewhere.
This was reported last week before Hamilton went on to sign with the Angels. So as far as anyone may know, Seattle and Detroit could still be talking. Detroit has an interest in left-handed pitching as Morosi pointed out, and the M's have plenty of players to offer.
Boesch may not be the biggest name on the market, but with the development of the market so far, the Mariners can't rule out anybody, especially someone with 42 homers in 380 career games.
With the addition of Boesch, Seattle could presumably put him in a competition for the 3rd outfield spot with Eric Thames and Casper Wells or run a platoon with the three throughout the season.
Could Seattle Go After Dexter Fowler?
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As I suggested a few days ago, I believe that the Mariners would be a perfect trade partner with the Colorado Rockiers for outfielder Dexter Fowler. Colorado needs pitching and Seattle has an abundance of young talent to offer.
In fact, the Mariners have checked in on Fowler as reported by Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com:
Mariners have also checked in on Fowler. But he seems to be a backup plan for them— DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 7, 2012
With the free agency pool starting to dry up, you have to believe that the Mariners are reaching into their bag of backup plans at this point. But it's not like Seattle is the only suitor for the young outfielder, as Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
#Braves are still involved in multiple trade talks, two of their targets believed to be Bonifacio and Fowler— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) December 12, 2012
Did Seattle Check in on Andre Ethier?
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This was the biggest news story today, and although the Mariners were not named, one has to think they may be one of the two AL teams who inquired about Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier according to Ken Rosenthal:
Source: Two AL teams asked about #Dodgers' Ethier. Team has "zero intention" of trading him but will listen. Full story coming soon.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 18, 2012
Now the question is: Why would they want to trade Ethier?
One report involves the Dodgers being interested in free agent Nick Swisher, but those talks were apparently weeks ago according to Jon Heyman:
i'm sure nick swisher, who lives in LA, wants to be a dodger. but source close to team says 1 talk w/ NS came "weeks ago''
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 18, 2012
Again, there have been no indications that the Dodgers are willing to trade Ethier, or that they are interested in signing Swisher.
Plus, the Mariners have not been tied to him yet. However, where there is smoke, there is often fire.
And with the Mariners being involved in just about every bat this offseason, it would not shock me to find out that Seattle may be kicking the tires on this one.