Wish lists for Mariners’ fans, once again, have not been filled
as Christmas approaches.
Catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli was available, but not for long.
Gone to Boston (3 years, $39 million).
Catcher Russell Martin. Gone to Pittsburgh (2 years, $17
Outfielder Josh Hamilton. Gone. Hamilton moves from the rival
Rangers to the rival Angels (5 years, $125 million).
Outfielder Justin Upton. Thought to be available, Diamondbacks keep
promising young player who seemed available for the right price
early on in free agency.
So far, outfielder Jason Bay and utility infielder Robert Andino
have been the only new additions for Seattle.
Excited about that? Didn’t think so.
Seattle’s believed to still be interested in outfielders Nick
Swisher, who visited Cleveland Tuesday, and Michael Bourne, who was
Atlanta’s starting center fielder last year.
Bourn, 29, is a speedy left-handed hitter. He’s stolen as many as
61 bases twice for Houston, and is a career .272 hitter. Swisher,
32, is a left-handed corner outfielder who brings power (207 homers
in his last eight seasons with the A’s, White Sox and Yankees) to
the table. Seattle’s bringing in the fences and is desperate for
power, but the M’s don’t really have a burner and Bourn’s a legit
The outfield needs an upgrade, unless you’re happy to go into the
season with the five-headed monster of Jason Bay-Casper
Well-Michael Saunders-Mike Carp-Franklin Gutierrez.
Would Bourn or Swisher make a difference?
How about this suggestion?
They say the Royals are still in the market for pitching. Package
one of the pitching prospects (Taijuan Walker or Danny Hultzen) for
Kansas City third baseman Alex Gordon (23 HR, 87 RBI, .303/.376
on-base percentage/.502 slugging percentage in 2011;
14/72/.294/.368/.455 in 2012). Move Kyle Seager to second and
Dustin Ackley moves to left field, or even center field.
Fans in Toronto, meanwhile, have reason to be stuffing tickets to
Blue Jays games in their friends Christmas socks.
The Red Sox and Yankees don’t seem so threatening any more, the
Rays, despite a glut of talented players, haven’t broken through
and no one will be surprised if Baltimore pulls an Arizona by
going from first to last.
The Blue Jays took a look at the lay of the land and seized the
opportunity to make a serious run in the NL East. If you haven’t
been paying attention, Toronto added a lot more than knuckleball
sensation R.A. Dickey.
Toronto picked up pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, and
shortstop Jose Reyes in a blockbuster deal with Miami. They’ve all
got huge guaranteed contracts. They also added outfielder Melky
Cabrera, who was in the midst of a career year with San Francisco
before being busted for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Mix those newcomers with Edwin Encarcion and Jose Bautista, two
legit 40-home run guys in the their prime, future star and third
baseman Brett Lawrie, and pitchers Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero,
and you’ve got championship ingredients.
The Jays payroll was at $83 million a year ago, and is expected to
surpass $120 million this year.
Yeah, the Jays are taking a gamble. But it seems like it’s a gamble
that makes sense.
The Mariners and Blue Jays joined the American League as expansion
teams in 1976. The Mariners are still looking to get to a World
Series, and they haven’t done anything this offseason that makes
you think they’ve closed the gap to getting there. Attendance is
shrinking and how long can Felix Hernandez wait for the M’s to
build a winner? Toronto has won two World Series titles. Granted,
it’s been a while (1992 and ’93, but the Jays have remained
competitive for the most part and are a heckuva lot closer to a
third after some serious wheeling and dealing during the