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December 7, 2012 at 3:43 PM

No, Hamilton hasn’t signed with Mariners, plus more

Josh Hamilton remains a free agent as teams weigh their options following the baseball winter meetings. Photo Credit: AP

UPDATE 4:02 p.m.: The Mariners now won’t be announcing the Jason Bay deal until at least Saturday as apparenty the paperwork delay involving their 40-man roster is still not quite fixed yet. Stay tuned. Or go watch football this weekend.

There was a bogus report put out not too long ago by one of those fake Twitter accounts becoming more annoying by the second. It had Josh Hamilton signing with the Mariners for six years, $135 million, but if you’ve been paying attention the last 48 hours or so, you know there is no reason for anybody to go that high in their offers right now because of the possibility the market for the slugger could shrink shortly.

We’re still waiting on the Texas Rangers and what they decide to do with free agent Zack Greinke and also with that rumored multi-team deal for Justin Upton. If Upton goes to Texas, there’s a good chance the Rangers could abandon their pursuit of Hamilton.

Confused? Don’t worry. It’s tough to keep track of it all. Here’s a take from Ken Rosenthal of FOX as to why the Mariners might prefer Hamilton to another free agent they’ve had discussions about, Michael Bourn.

One thing you shouldn’t be confused about is that Hamilton’s camp has supposedly offered the Rangers a chance to match any offer for the outfielder.

At least one GM was anonymously quoted as saying that competing teams should be offended by that, but as I said on MLB Network Radio last night, I think that’s an overreaction to a completely understandable position by Hamilton.

When you actually stop and think about it, why would Hamilton want to leave the Rangers and go someplace else for the exact same money and years on his deal?

I mean, he wouldn’t still be talking to the Rangers if he hated Texas in the first place. At least, you’d hope not. And the Rangers are still primed to be a playoff team this coming season. They came an out away from winning it all in 2011 and went to the World Series with Hamilton in consecutive years.

Hamilton has enjoyed his finest baseball moments with the Rangers. He’s got a certain familiarity and comfort level with them. Has a great hitter’s ballpark to call home.

So, if all things are equal, why would he take the same money and years to go play for a lesser team like the Mariners that is still rebuilding and not certain of even contending for something this year, or next?

All thing being equal, I’d stay put too.

But if somebody is offering more? That’s where you leave.

Now, if the plan is to keep going back to the Rangers and then another team and driving the market up that way, then forget about it. The Mariners, or whoever, would have to lay down the law at some point and say it’s their final offer and be prepared to walk.

If the Mariners offer four years and the Rangers are alleged to have matched it and the M’s push things a year further and then Hamilton’s camp says the Rangers have matched that, then Seattle has to wash its hands wave goodbye and wish him luck. Don’t allow Hamilton’s side to play you into bidding against yourself. But this notion that Hamilton is somehow dissing Seattle and any other competing teams by giving the Rangers a right to match any bids is, for me, a little childish.

He’s doing what any of us would do. Trying not to uproot his life in order to make a latteral move.

As for Jason Bay, we’re still awaiting official word on his signing. The deal is done, as we told you yesterday. The problem is a paperwork tie-up involving the 40-man roster and a player that has to be released before Bay can be added. ¬†With the winter meetings and everything, business is proceeding a bit slower than usual on the clerical end. Nothing to be alarmed about.


Comments | More in Free agents | Topics: Jack Zduriencik, josh hamilton, Zack Greinke


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