MLB Free Agency: A Look at Potential Targets for the Seattle Mariners in 2014
What an offseason it's been for the Seattle Mariners and their fans.
From being in hot pursuit of superstar free agent Josh Hamilton to contemplating a potential signing of leadoff man Michael Bourn, the Mariners have looked to make moves all offseason.
Eventually GM Jack Zduriencik was able to bring in a few bats via trade in Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse.
With the Mariners signing Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse for just the 2013 season, Seattle could lose one or both of its new acquisitions this offseason.
Seattle hopes at least one of them will be willing to re-sign at some point during the season. Of course, Seattle will have to fork over the necessary contract, and one or both players will have to produce.
Either way, here are a few free agents the Seattle Mariners may look to sign next offseason.
Michael Morse, OF
The most likely option for the Seattle Mariners is the newly acquired Michael Morse.
If Morse is able to continue his trend of hitting for an average of more than .285 and can knock out 20 or more home runs, Seattle would be wise to lock him up for the next four or five seasons.
The team will also have the first crack at signing Morse as it can work on a new deal with the 30-year-old throughout the 2013 season.
Curtis Granderson, CF
With the M's current center fielder Franklin Gutierrez set to hit the open market (assuming the Mariners choose to forgo his option for 2014), Seattle will be searching for someone to man center field.
One such option is Curtis Granderson, who will be looking for a big payday next offseason and could elect to leave the New York Yankees if they decide to bring their payroll below $189 million.
While Granderson's batting average wasn't anything spectacular in 2012 (he registered an abysmal .232 mark), his OPS has been over .800 in each of the last two seasons. In 2011 and 2012, the 31-year-old slugger hit at least 40 home runs and 100 RBI.
If Granderson can elevate his average in 2013 and steal a few more bases (as he has shown he can do in the past), Seattle should be willing to dole out the cash to lure him to the Pacific Northwest.
Jason Vargas, SP
The other option for the Mariners next offseason is Jason Vargas.
The man who was just dealt by the Mariners to the Los Angeles Angels for Kendrys Morales could choose to return to Seattle as early as next offseason.
While other teams will be focusing on names like Matt Garza, Dan Haren and Tim Lincecum (if he proves he can rebound and return to being a dominant top-of-the-rotation starter), Seattle could turn its attention to bringing the southpaw back to Safeco Field.
Considering that prospects like Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton could be ready for major league action in 2014, Seattle doesn't need a big name like Garza or Haren. It would also be wise to use the cash it would take to sign them to work on re-inking Seattle ace Felix Hernandez.
Bringing back Vargas would give the M's a middle-of-the-rotation kind of arm with experience to go with the infusion of young talent that may crack the rotation next season.
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