Josh Hamilton rumors: Mariners are 'going to keep talking' to FA outfielder

Ezra Shaw

Hamilton finished 2012 with a .285 average, 128 runs batted in and a career-best 43 home runs.

Although Josh Hamilton was not signed by the Seattle Mariners or any other team during the MLB Winter Meetings, the Mariners are going to stay in contact with the outfielder, according to the team's general manager, Jack Zduriencik.

Zduriencik told Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune on Thursday that a Seattle Times report that the team was "very close" to agreeing to a deal with Hamilton was false, although the team is not closing communication with the five-time All-Star:

"We aren't close," he said. "I don't know how anyone could say we are close. We've had discussion. They met with (Jack). But it was just a discussion. There hasn't even been any figures discussed."

But Armstrong didn't rule out any further interest in Hamilton, saying that there would obviously be more discussions.

"We are going to keep talking," he said.

Hamilton, 31, is one of the prize free agents of the 2012-13 offseason after he finished the 2012 season with a .285 average, 128 runs batted in and a career-best 43 home runs. Selected first overall in the 1999 amateur draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, it wasn't until the 2007 season that Hamilton made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds. He was traded to the Rangers at the conclusion of the season and made the MLB All-Star Game in each of the next five seasons.

The Mariners finished with a 75-87 record and ended the 2012 season in last place in the AL West. The team finished with the American League's fewest RBIs and worst batting average.

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