Mariners Insider Blog

Winter meetings live blog day 4 -- Chuck Armstrong downplays Hamilton rumors

"The desert's quiet, Cleveland's cold And so the story ends we're told Pancho needs your prayers it's true, but save a few for Lefty too."

10:16 a.m. -- "We are not close."

Figured I'd get to the news of the day first.  Geoff Baker of the Times had a story that the Mariners, according to sources, were "close" to signing free agent slugger Josh Hamilton.

Well, Mariners president Chuck Armstrong dispelled that notion this morning.

"We aren't close," he said. "I don't know how anyone could say we are close. We've had discussion. They met with (Jack). But it was just a discussion. There hasn't even any figures discussed."

But Armstrong didn't rule out any further interest in Hamilton, saying that there would obviously be more discussions.

"We are going to keep talking," he said.

I'm pretty certain the Mariners are having legitimate and earnest talks with Hamilton. I just wonder what his true interest level of going to Seattle is in comparison to other teams.

10:22 a.m. -- "Jack has nothing to worry about."

One thing that was pertinent to ask Armstrong was the contact status of Zduriencik, who is in the final year of his two-year extension.

In past years, it was reported that when Bill Bavasi was GM, there was a roll-over type of extension for each year after 2007. Basically, it meant that Bavasi was automatically under contract for the next season to avoid any "lame duck" status. But Armstrong said that actually wasn't the case, and Bavasi had no such insurance. Neither does Zduriencik. His contract is up after the 2013 season.

Has there been talk of an extension - even just one year - to avoid a lame duck status for Zduriencik? Armstrong said they don't discuss contracts of any sort.  But did say, "Jack has nothing to worry about."

Quick observation: Those words don't mean a whole lot. Chuck may mean it. But if the Mariners struggle this season, Jack is probably done. And I think he knows that.

10:39 a.m. -- Rule V or Rule 5, it's all madness

The Mariners did not select anyone in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. Why? They didn't have any room, and more importantly they didn't lose anyone to the draft.

In the Triple A portion of the draft, the Mariners took infielder Eric Farris out of the Brewers organization. Farris was a player Zduriencik drafted when he was amateur scouting director for the organization.

"He's a nice little middle infielder that can run a little bit," Zduriencik said.

Another interesting tidbit -- the first player taken in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft by the Houston Astros was Josh Fields. Remember him? He was a former  first-round pick by the Mariners under the Bavasi regime. After sitting out a whole season, the Mariners finally signed him and he was  pretty ordinary reliever in the organization. They traded him to Boston in the Erik Bedard three-team trade.

11:33 p.m. -- Ben Revere traded to the Phillies

Why is this important? Well, the Phillies were one of the people vying for the services of Michael Bourn. They needed help in center field and got it in Revere, giving up RHP Vance Worley and his cool glasses and prospect Trevor May.

This development means it may be easier for the Mariners to acquire Bourn. But I don't know that it will lower his asking price.

11:48 a.m. --- Yoooooouuuuuk!

One year, $12 million? I don't know why Youkilis hasn't agreed to that deal with the Yankees already. There is talk that he would prefer to go to Cleveland (he's an Ohio native) and play for Terry Francona. I can't imagine the Mariners would want to give Youkilis $12 million a year. The Yankees are desperate for third base help because of A-Rod's hip issues.

10:03 a.m. --- That's a big trade ...

This trade is so big that I have no idea how it actually works ... I don't think anyone does.

10:20 a.m. -- Bay contract details ...

I was told that this contract was only around $700,000 yesterday. Maybe the price has gone up. Maybe the agent is still posturing. I do think it will be very incentive laden. We won't know the details quite yet. Probably not till tomorrow or Monday. If it was $1,000,000 instead of $700,000, my reaction is meh. The $300,000 difference is nothing to baseball team, and about 7 years of my life.  That's depressing.

If you remember though as Lookout Landing mentions, Carlos Guillen seemed to have a similar deal - which the full base salary was contingent on him making the club. So who knows. One million, less than one million it's not that big of deal to a team.

1:21 -- p.m. -- burgers .......mmmmm

Just crushed a double burger with pepper jack cheese, mushrooms and pickles from Stax in the Gaylord. It will be my last meal in this fine place. Of course, they announced that the winter meetings are coming back here in three years. I'm choosing not to think of that right now.

We'll have a little pause in the updates ... because everyone is leaving and I'm walking back to my hotel.

2:22 p.m. --- Jack Zduriencik closing comments ...

Finally got around to transcribing some Jack Zduriencik quotes from earlier today about the meetings as a whole.

"We had a lot of engaging discussions. I was up late last night 'til about midnight having meetings. You never know what's going to happen. So many times a lot of guys come in here with big hopes of things working and you try to go down every avenue. I think that's what a lot of clubs have done. We've heard a lot about three- and four-player deals. They get complicated, and I do think clubs are just trying to do their due diligence.

"In the end, when the dust settles and you get away from here, reality kind of takes over and you just decide, OK, this is where we're at and if we want to make a decision, here it is. That's why sometimes action happens when you leave here rather than when you're here."

"You're always optimistic. There have been some fruitful discussions. Where they end up, nobody knows. But the fact there were a lot of discussions and a lot of dialogue, I think there were seeds planted and we'll see where it ends up." 2:38 p.m.  --- Let's play the "Would you ... " game

These numbers are  based on what we've heard some of the initial contract demands from the Josh Hamilton camp. Of course, his overall value may drop, particularly if the Rangers trade for Justin Upton. But let's play.

4:16 p.m. --- Another Hamilton update/posturing

Well, that's interesting. Of course, if Hamilton is willing to accept that offer, then several other teams are likely to willing to put that up. That's why you wonder if this info was leaked by the agent. A little nod to what Seatlle is offering and what other teams could put up or slightly more to get him. It seems low. Or it could be an agent leaking out what he thinks is an unfair offer from the Mariners.

I have a headache.