The Seattle Mariners are one of the most popular names in rumors as they continue to be linked with many free-agent hitters at the MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville.
The Mariners were mentioned with Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Jason Bay, and even Nate McLouth.
#Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nate McLouth, source says.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 4, 2012
Of course, rumors at the winter meetings are just that -- rumors. With a team looking to upgrade their offense like the Mariners, it is almost easier to discuss who they haven't been involved with. Still, the Mariners have made no secrets about pursuing one of the better bats this offseason, and that bat happens to be Hamilton's.
Despite general manager Jack Zduriencik earlier making the case that Hamilton was out of their budget, the Mariners sat down with Hamilton over the weekend, Ken Rosenthal reported. As of right now, the Mariners and Rangers appear to be the most aggressive suitors of Hamilton's services.
The Mariners have also been linked with outfielder Jason Bay, who was cut by the New York Mets and could be signed to an incentive laden contract for little money. Bay grew up in British Columbia, attended Gonzaga University and currently lives in Kirkland, Wash. However, as Ryan Divish of the News Tribune points out, the Mariners don't have much competition for Bay and if the two teams come to an agreement, it probably won't be until after the winter meetings conclude.
The Mariners also met with Bourn's agent, Scott Boras, today to discuss the speedy outfielder.
#Mariners met with Scott Boras today. His top FA, Michael Bourn, certainly fits speed need and would be "big splash" guy for Seattle.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) December 4, 2012
Despite the need for offense to jumpstart an offense that has been outright bad the last three years, Zduriencik retorted the idea the Mariners are desperate telling Divish he won't make a deal just for the sake of making a deal.
"I'm not going to do something foolish in my estimation," he said. "If someone is sitting there saying, ‘I'm going to get a an extra player from them cause there desperate,' then they're foolish. I'm not doing that. We have some pretty young talented players. Yes, I'd like to add a bat. There's no question, but there's a cost and a risk."
He also pointed out that the winter meetings aren't the end-all scenario for the offseason. The Mariners are brought up in many trade rumors because of a swell of pitching prospects.
"If we walk away from here and we have what would appear to have done nothing, quite frankly we did something - we've held onto our commodities," Zduriencik said. "And we will continue the plan. I hope we can do something here. Maybe it happens a week from now or a month from now. If it doesn't happen then, maybe happens in spring training."
The winter meetings conclude on Thursday, Dec. 6, and if the Mariners haven't signed or traded for a hitter by then, it is safe to assume they will be connected to most any name mentioned in rumors during the week. They've even met with ex-ex-Mariner Raul Ibanez.