The Seattle Mariners need more offensive production if they are going to compete in the American League West.
They need Michael Bourn—preferably now before he signs somewhere else.
There have been a few rumors of late regarding the speedy outfielder, and one has to wonder where the supposedly coveted Bourn may eventually land.
Has the market played out to the point where Bourn will be forced to accept a lesser offer?
Moves have been made by the Mariners, such as the acquisition of Kendrys Morales and the free-agent signings of Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez, and something tells me that the Rangers, Angels and A’s are not scared by these transactions.
Bourn is not the type of player who can solve all of the needs of a historically weak-hitting Mariners lineup. However, he would certainly help.
Consider what Bourn would bring to the lineup. He would be a true leadoff man, which is something that Seattle currently lacks in its lineup. Dustin Ackley could theoretically bat first, but that is not necessarily a guaranteed solution.
Given that the Mariners batted .234 as a team in 2012, it would be nice to add a player with a .272 lifetime average.
Granted, a 30-year-old is not necessarily going to improve his hitting in the future, but Bourn did hit .274 in 2012, and one would hope that Bourn would not decline too quickly.
The Mariners would also benefit from Bourn’s base-stealing ability, as he swiped 42 bags in 2012 and 61 in 2011.
Seattle may not be very interested in a player like Bourn, simply because he would not necessarily provide a great deal of power. Bourn’s nine home runs in 2012 were a career high, but he only has 22 dingers since breaking into the majors in 2006.
You can understand why the Mariners might be a bit hesitant to throw big money at someone like Bourn. His age is a concern, and his asking price might be beyond what the Mariners want to spend.
If Bourn signs a four- or five-year deal and hits .240 in his first year, Seattle could be facing another Chone Figgins-like situation.
Signing Bourn would add to the logjam in the outfield, but the reality is that Seattle does not really have a bevy of proven commodities in the grassy areas of Safeco Field.
Franklin Gutierrez could continue to struggle with health issues. Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez may not have much left in the tank.
Michael Saunders, Casper Wells, Alex Liddi, Carlos Peguero and Eric Thames may struggle mightily to hit .250 for the season.
Translation? It is not hard to argue that none of the outfielders' jobs are safe.
Supposedly, the Mariners offered Josh Hamilton a four-year deal worth $100 million, though, according to The Seattle Times, Hamilton downplayed Seattle’s pursuit.
Seattle clearly should not offer that much money to Bourn. If anything, it would be prudent to offer less than half of that amount. If Bourn wants to sign for five or more years, walk away.
Three years would probably be best.
At this point, the Mariners may only be part of the conversation because they always seem to be in need of an upgrade in their lineup. However, this may still be a good move.
Go get him, Mariners.