Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said last month that it’s unlikely they’ll be major players for free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Hamilton is attending the Winter Meetings in Nashville and met with Mariners officials on Sunday. Other unidentified teams are believed to be in the mix for Hamilton, but Rosenthal reiterates that the Rangers have been the most aggressive with him so far. The Brewers have been mentioned as a possibility because hitting coach Johnny Narron was previously Hamilton’s accountability partner, but they are considered to be on the “periphery” of talks.
Hamilton, 31, batted .285/.354/.577 with 43 home runs, 128 RBI and a .930 OPS in 148 games this past season. He’s the best position player available on pure talent alone, but his age, injury history and past issues with addiction make him one of the most unpredictable and intriguing free agent cases in recent memory.
The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.
The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.
Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.
After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.