When the Seattle Mariners decided to move in the fences at Safeco Field last month, it wasn't just a coincidence. According to this report from the Seattle Times, the M's are using the shorter fences as a pitch to potential free agents who could sign with Seattle this offseason.
Safeco Field has long been considered one of the premier pitcher's ballparks around either league. With the shorter fences in left-center field, a right-handed batter such as Mike Napoli, who the Mariners hosted last week, could benefit greatly. All hitters want to put up big numbers, and the shorter distances should bring more offense to Seattle in the coming years.
It's not just Napoli the Mariners are considering this offseason. Big-name sluggers such as Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher have been linked to the club, although it's unclear if Seattle's front office is prepared to open the check book for either player. This being said, the shortened fences around center field can only improve their pitch to these All-Stars.