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.

Mariners sweep A’s in two-game Japan Series

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The big news, of course, is Ichiro’s retirement. But there was a baseball game that counted today as well and the Mariners took it. Seattle beat Oakland 5-4 in 12 innings to sweep the two-game Japan Series.

Ichiro may have taken an 0-for-4 in his last game, but Ryon Healy and Mitch Haniger homered for the Mariners, staking Seattle to a 3-0 lead after three. The A’s picked up two in the fifth and Seattle added one via a Jay Bruce sac fly to make it 4-2 in the seventh. Oakland tied things back up, ultimately sending it to extras when Khris Davis singled in Matt Chapman in the seventh. Davis would blow a chance to put Oakland ahead in the 11th when he struck out with the bases loaded.

In the twelfth, Domingo Santana, who hit a grand slam in Seattle’s win in the opener on Wednesday, beat out a would-be double-play with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead and, ultimately, winning run.

The rebuilding Mariners are now 2-0 on the young year. The A’s, who won 97 games last year, are 0-2. Viva the smallest of sample sizes.