|In the end, will Josh Hamilton be Seattle-bound? (Getty Images)|
The Mariners have emerged as serious contenders for free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, reports Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. Our Insiders have previously noted the Mariners' interest in Hamilton.
The M's are very much angling to improve their offense, and plucking an MVP-caliber bat from a division rival would be a bold step toward that end. As Baker writes, though, much depends upon Hamilton's incumbent team, the Rangers, and their designs on right-hander Zack Greinke:
But the Rangers also remain engaged in a two-pronged battle with the Dodgers for the services of starting pitcher Zack Greinke and would not be able to land both him and Hamilton.
Yahoo! reported that Hamilton's agent, Michael Moye, met with Rangers GM Jon Daniels here at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and told him he would have an opportunity to match any offer sent Hamilton's way. But if the Rangers decide to sign Greinke, they would not have enough left over to match any Hamilton offer as well.
The 31-year-old Hamilton is coming off a season in which he hit .285/.354/.577 with 43 home runs and 31 doubles, so his appeal is obvious.