December 24, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Radio comments by Josh Hamilton on whether Mariners made strong play for him: ‘No, not really’
This one may never get entirely resolved, but for what it’s worth, Josh Hamilton went on the syndicated radio and TV program The Dan Patrick Show on Friday and gave an interview in which he was asked about the process that led to his signing a five-year, $125 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Towards the 10-minute, 30-second mark, he was asked by Patrick whether the Mariners had made “a strong play” for him.
“No, not really,” Hamilton said. “I mean, they were just like some other teams. You hear about Seattle but other teams, you didn’t hear about.”
Hamilton declined to name the others he ranked alongside Seattle, though, when pushed by Patrick, he agreed the Yankees were one suitor. Ultimately, he said, he had no idea where he was going to end up right up until the Angels delivered the deal.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik went on Sports Radio KJR this week and told host Mitch Levy that the team had been a serious player for Hamilton right up to the end.
“We went at him full bore and we put a very nice offer on the table,” Zduriencik told Levy.
The Mariners had initially offered Hamilton four years, $100 million guaranteed, with two non-guaranteed vesting options for $25 million apiece in 2017 and 2018, though these figures weren’t mentioned in the radio interview.
Zduriencik told radio host Levy that Hamilton’s agent phoned last week and asked whether the Mariners were willing to go one year more than the winning bid wound up being — in other words, a six-year offer to trump that of the 89-win Angels. When Zduriencik — who didn’t know it was the Angels he was bidding against — said he didn’t think six years was possible, Hamilton took the Angels’ offer.
The epilogue of this is that — $100 million guaranteed or not — Hamilton is saying he didn’t consider this a serious enough offer to separate Seattle from other teams that were out there competing for his services. So, either his agent, Michael Moye, didn’t do a good enough job of relaying the seriousness of Seattle’s intentions, or the offer just wasn’t viewed as seriously by Hamilton as the Mariners say they thought it should have been. It appears, from his statements, there’s a difference of opinion between what the Mariners viewed as a serious offer and what the player they were targetting did.
Like I said, we may never know for certain. All we know is, Hamilton is now with the Angels earning $25 million more in guaranteed money than the Mariners bid and he is telling the (radio) world that Seattle was “not really” pushing for him all that strongly compared to other bidders besides the Angels.
The good news is, the Mariners still have time to better their team. Since Hamilton signed with the Angels, the Mariners have traded for Kendrys Morales and signed Raul Ibanez to help their first base and corner outfield situation. And they have money left over — based on prior statements about their 2013 payroll room — to go after some of the remaining free agent hitters and pitchers on the market.