David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
When you are a team like the Seattle Mariners the rumors can sometimes be more exciting than the actual product on the field. According to recent rumors, the Mariners could be big players in the free agent market.
Could. Such a great word.
Do you ever feel like the faithful fans of the Seattle Mariners are being teased just a little bit? For the past few years the Mariners have been involved in some of the more interesting rumors. Prince Fielder was connected to the Mariners. Then it was Josh Hamilton.
This year, it has been a steady diet of Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and various second-tier veteran pitchers. Forgive me if I do not hold my breath. I have seen this movie before, and it tends to end the same way.
Perhaps this is the year where Jack Zduriencik gets some big-boy checks and finally brings a notable free agent or two to beautiful Safeco Field. Perhaps.
There are obviously some mixed feelings when it comes to the free agents that are available this year. Fans have to worry that this is yet another year of speculation, and that the Mariners will eventually offer one-year deals to a couple of veterans that are barely hanging on to a professional career.
The other worry is that Seattle will indeed land a free agent, but will drastically overpay to the point where only one bat can come to the Pacific Northwest. If that player gets hurt or underachieves, the payroll could be handcuffed for years. Unfortunately, this free agent class is neither deep nor spectacular. There are, unfortunately, few choices when it comes to top-tier stardom.
Too negative? Too pessimistic? Call it protecting the heart of the loyal fan.
The tough part of following any sport is that fans just do not know how to distinguish fact from fiction. Where do these fine individuals get this information? As entertaining as these rumors can be, so few of them come to fruition. It gets to a point where you question whether some of rumors are purely speculative or even (gasp) simply made up.
There is also the issue of Seattle’s track record over the last few years. The plan has been to build a strong core from within by developing talent down on the farm. This may be the year where the fans finally get to see if Taijuan Walker was worth all the hype, but many of the young hitters just haven’t developed.
Oh, to get a peek behind closed doors. Will the Mariners be given the green light by Nintendo to spend more money as the franchise anticipates a new cable deal? Has the team tried to spend money all along and simply been unable to find the right contract terms?
Or, are the fans being treated to a steady stream of rhetoric that is unlikely to change in the future? We will find out soon enough. Shortly, the baseball world will know if the Mariners are going to spend…or just talk.