Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik wasn't optimistic about his team's chances of signing Josh Hamilton, telling MLB.com's Greg Johns that Hamilton "might surpass where we're going to be" in terms of payroll. Zduriencik has met with Michael Moye, Hamilton's agent, and while Zduriencik didn't directly say the M's were out of the derby, the general manager hinted that the club wouldn't be able to afford Hamilton's demands.
"There are a lot of great things to like about several of these guys on the market, and we're doing our homework," Zduriencik said. "But when you hear what players expect and the years involved, that's a lot to consider. At the end of the day, when you gauge the market, you have to be realistic about where it will end up. And there's a strong possibility that one will exceed where we're at."
Mariners president Chuck Armstrong noted that his team was "looking at" Hamilton earlier this week. The Phillies, Red Sox, Orioles and Braves have been connected to Hamilton this winter, plus there's also a chance that the Rangers will increase their efforts to re-sign the free agent outfielder. With all these big markets in the mix and Hamilton looking for a $175MM deal, the Mariners could simply be outmatched financially, as they were last year when Zduriencik talked to agent Scott Boras about possibly signing Prince Fielder.
"You never say never to anything," Zduriencik said. "Don't get me wrong. Even in the Prince thing, you never knew where it would end up and this one you don't, either. But you kind of get an idea and feel. Last year in my discussions with Scott, he was pretty sure he'd get at least seven years with a '2' in front of the dollars. And he was right...So you always leave the door open, but in the end, you have to be realistic."
Seattle is known to be looking to add offense, particularly in the corner outfield spots, and Zduriencik thinks "we'll be able to add" either via trades or free agency, despite his belief that "it's not the greatest free-agent market."