For the past several weeks, the Seattle Mariners have been in pursuit of free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, but on Wednesday the stakes to sign the free agent slugger just got higher. That's because according to CBS Philadelphia, Hamilton was offered a three-year $80 million deal from the Phillies.
The news is a bit surprising, given that most expected the bidding for the 31-year-old Hamilton to come down to Seattle and Texas. But if he were to sign in Philadelphia, Hamilton would fill a void offensively for a club which needs a bat in the middle of their lineup. The Phillies traded Hunter Pence during the 2012 season and both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are still recovering from major injuries.
Regardless of where Hamilton ends up signing, he remains one of the most potent offensive players in the league. Hamilton is coming off a monstrous 2012 season where he hit 43 home runs and had 128 RBI's, numbers which ranked him second in the American League behind the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera in both categories. It was the third time in five years that Hamilton hit at least 30 home runs and tallied at least 100 RBI.
Now the question becomes whether Seattle will do anything to counter the Phillies reported offer.
Seattle is coming off a season where they ranked last in the American League in batting average (.234) and runs scored (619). They also finished just 11th of 14 American League teams with 149 home runs.