Thursday, December 13, 2012

So J. Hamilton Went to the Angels

Josh Hamilton signed with the Angels earlier Thursday for 5/$125m because, as we all know, the Angels need more outfielders.  By signing with the Angels, we get to stop talking about Hamilton except for this post and probably mention him when the Mariners have to play the Angels those 19 games a year.  So apparently I just lied to you right there.

From what I read throughout the day, mostly on twitter, the fans were displeased with the outcome.  That's not so much a massive understatement as it is sarcasm.  Fans (I include myself here) had begun hanging their hats on Hamilton like he was going to be the savior of the franchise and maybe even save the world from ending.

If you're in the camp of anger, I have just one word for you: Chill!  If you'd rather not chill, I've got nothing for you.  Unless you want to read something that closely resembles reason, then by all means keep reading.  If not, realize that baseball is a game.  It's also a business.  Sometimes your favorite team doesn't come out on top.

As I said in the last post, I didn't envy Jack Z's position.   I still don't.  From the get go he was in a position to fail.  If he didn't sign Hamilton, angry fans.  If he signed him for an obscene contract, angry fans.  Ask yourself this: If the only way for the Mariners to sign Hamilton was to go to 6/$150m, would you be thrilled?  Or if the Mariners went for 5/$150m to outbid the Angels?  The Mariners need offense, but at what price?  The Angels went beyond what any other team was willing to give him, and for that, I say good riddance.  Yes, Seattle needs a big bat, but not an aging outfielder who took a step back offensively in 2012 for 5+/$125m+.

As I said, I get people's frustration.  I was disappointed the Mariners were unable to sign Hamilton, but at the same time, relieved they didn't overspend just to appease the masses.  You win by sticking to a formula and not making moves purely out of desperation.  That's when teams get in to trouble.  Remember the Vernon Wells contract?  And after the Blue Jays got rid of him?  I'm not saying Wells' contract held them under, since it was also a different front office at the time, but look at what they've done this offseason?  I doubt that would have been a viable option if they still had Wells under contract.

If the Mariners were still on the hook for $25m+ in 6 years when he's hitting .220 and 20 home runs, they'd probably lose Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker if their clock started this year.  They'd nearly be free agents close to their last year of arbitration.  With Felix Hernandez, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero also into big money, their payroll would massive.  While signing Hamilton to a massive contract would have made some, if not most, fans happy, it would have been looking fairly ugly in the future.

I'm speculating of course, but I'm mainly just trying to make a point.  A rash decision now does not help them in the future.  Dave Cameron post a few facts over on his blog that may help with the whole anger thing.  Then again, it may not.  I honestly have no idea if it will do anything one way or the other actually, but they're worth a look regardless.  One of the things he mentions is how one player does not make a team.  Read, learn, chill, happy place.

As a final word on the Hamilton subject, even if the Mariners had signed him, the odds the Mariners would have gone to the World Series or to even make the playoffs were very much against them.  Yes, they need offense, but they also need more starter than just Felix.  Erasmo Ramirez may end up being a solid 3 starter, but there are still pieces missing before we can consider the Mariners a contender.  The teams they get to play against in the division really don't help matter, but at least they'll get to beat up on the Houston Astros. 

The rest of the offseason will be filled with what will probably be bitter speculation and pessimism on the part of most Mariner fans.  The only real target for any kind of power upgrade on offense is Nick Swisher.  Also mentioned has been Michael Bourn as a target for the Mariners, and hey, why not?  Ackley really isn't a leadoff hitter and with the fences coming in, who knows what kinds of leaps forward the younger guys will take?  

The offseason is long and not every move is a make or break type of deal.  Just because the Mariners missed out on the biggest free agent hitter on the market means precisely nothing.  There will be other offseasons, there may be other moves we haven't even conceived of yet.  Remember the Montero/Pineda trade last year?  Just because we haven't heard or read about anything doesn't mean there's not something in the works.  If you get too angry or depressed with however you perceive the Mariners upper echelon, just remember: We could still have Bill Bavasi as the GM.

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