FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi wrote earlier today that free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton “is on the Orioles’ list of targets” this offseason. And he will apparently have another unexpected suitor.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Mariners “look like a possible new entry” in the Hamilton sweepstakes. Something that M’s GM Jack Zduriencik did not completely deny:
“If the right bat’s available, we’re going to have to talk about it,” said Jack Z. “We’re going to have several discussions with agents. We have to be flexible.”
Hamilton would play left field in Seattle while adding power to a lineup that desperately needs it. But the Mariners haven’t spent big on many free agents and Hamilton is seeking more than $100 million.
The 31-year-old slugger has registered a remarkable .304/.363/.549 batting line since the start of the 2007 season. He hit .285/.354/.577 with 43 home runs and 128 RBI in 2012 for the second-place Rangers.
“Some or most of the Hamilton market may not surface for a while,” Heyman notes in his report.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.