December 17, 2012
Why you shouldn't freak that the Mariners didn't sign Josh Hamilton
Mariners fans are legitimately butt hurt about this whole Josh Hamilton thing, and I don't exactly get why. Can I ask anyone out there in baseball land if they've ever heard a fan say something like this:
"I'm really glad we dropped over $100 million in a long contract on one position baseball player with off the field problems. This has turned out so well for our team."
Nope. Never. Nadda. Signing one prized position player to a mega contract may feel like the right thing for a team with a struggling offense to do, but historically it's not really the best move. While the Yankees and Red Sox always make those signings and they always seem to be competitive -- there's a big difference between them and the Mariners.
The Red Sox and Yankees (the Angels too) can continue to make these big splash signings because they can afford for a couple of these contracts not to pan out. I can't tell you how much garbage is on the Red Sox roster or was on the roster last season. Anyone will tell you that the Yankees lineup is strong but also overpriced ( and aging). But they can afford to do those things, they're making lots and lots of money.
Sometimes it blows up in their faces. Sometimes it doesn't work. The point is though, they can reload quicker than Seattle if it blows up.
The Mariners have money but not a big pile like those bigger markets. They can make a free agent signing but it's going to be like when Texas signed A-Rod. One high-priced star with a bunch of nobodies. Team in hamstrung for years.
And that's not what Safeco needs right now. They keep losing and losing fans. They need a good team. Better to pick up three or four guys that can hit the ball well, not just put up stats like Josh Hamilton.
Seriously, get three guys that can hit .280 (which Hamilton didn't do last season) and you can do it for cheaper than $125 mil. Chances are that player won't be taking body shots at a bar anytime soon either.
Hand Hamilton a fatty contract, after he's already proven to have relapses and slump on several occasions should be a red flag. I don't get why this isn't a bigger deal for people. The guy had a bad second half of the 2012 season and he's got some tread on those tires after years of drug abuse. People talk about how expecting Pujols to have ten more great years is kind of stretching, how about a guy that's 31 and was a drug addict? Body breaks down if you don't treat it right even if you turn it around (which he has done).
And he's shown that off-the-field matters show up on the field. He blamed his slump on trying to quit chewing, which if it's true, means he doesn't quite have the mental concentration you would hope to have from somebody who's making 125 million.
A big free agent slugger is never what you need when building up the team and it's certainly not what the Mariners need. More offense? Yes, but not for that price tag.