Mariners “were in the hunt to the end” on Josh Hamilton

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In the wake of Josh Hamilton’s five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels a report from Greg Johns of MLB.com suggests a different AL West rival was close to signing him away from the Rangers.

According to Johns the Mariners “were in the hunt to the end” on Hamilton and “were willing to go after him full bore on a shorter deal.”

He doesn’t get into any specifics in terms of money or years, so it’s tough to say how close they actually were to signing Hamilton, or even if their offer beat the Rangers’ offer to re-sign the former MVP.

Still, it’s interesting because it means a) the Mariners were willing to spend a whole bunch of money on a veteran hitter, and b) they may have a whole bunch of money available to offer other free agents like Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn or Cody Ross.

Blue Jays acquire Gift Ngoepe from the Pirates

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MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have acquired infielder Gift Ngoepe from the Pirates in exchange for cash considerations.

Ngoepe, 27, made his major league debut this past season. Overall, he hit .222/.323/.296 in 63 plate appearances. He mostly played second base, but also spent time at shortstop and third base.

Ngoepe is from South Africa. When he debuted on April 26, he became the second African-born player to play in the majors along with Al Cabrera of the 1913 Cardinals. He had spent parts of eight seasons in the minors prior to 2017.

In case you’re wondering, Ngoepe is pronounced “in-go-pay.”