Take another one off the board for the Mariners, with the Los Angeles Angels showing Josh Hamilton the money to the tune of a reported five years, $125 million.
The deal with Hamilton comes one week after the conclusion of the baseball winter meetings in Nashville, in which the Mariners engaged with talks with the slugger’s camp but were unable to complete anything. There had been talk of Seattle discussing a series of three-year deals with Hamilton, and the Mariners were said to be ready to move quickly if the Texas Rangers fell out of the running.
But the Angels just blew everybody out of the water with this.
For the Mariners, there is no real positive way to spin this, so there’s no point trying. They had hoped Hamilton might help them upgrade the worst offense in the majors over the last three seasons. Instead, he’ll be upgrading an Angels team loaded with cash and that was actually the third-best squad in what’s become baseball’s Cadillac division.
Are there still bats out there that can help the Mariners? Yes indeed. Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn offer two very different routes towards improvement, one with his bat and positional flexibility, the other with his defense and overall speed.
But as we wrote yesterday, the going rate for both free agents and the cost of what it takes to acquire impact players via trade continues to go up.
This Hamilton deal is not for the number of years he’d headed into the winter expecting. But the five years is at least one more than any other suitor seemed prepared to offer him. The Angels just replaced Torii Hunter with a player who is better and five years younger.