Mariners, Josh Hamilton 'very close' to deal


Josh Hamilton and the Seattle Mariners are reportedly close to reaching a deal, but the entire offseason still hinges on where Zack Greinke signs.

Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings have come and gone without any major drama -- just a whirlwind of rumors, ranging from a blockbuster four-team trade that hasn't happened (yet), and rumors of where Zack Greinke ultimately signs.

Lost in all the rumors is this winter's top free agent bat, Josh Hamilton. Though the market for Hamilton never developed like he and his agent believed it would (remember all the six years talk a few weeks ago?), Hamilton and his agent still met with a handful of teams, including the Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners and, of course, the Rangers.

With the Rangers focused on signing Greinke and feverishly working on acquiring Justin Upton any way that they can, it appears that Hamilton has become Texas' fallback option in this offseason, which is quite the fall from grace for the 2010 American League MVP.

While the Rangers figure out what they're going to do, Hamilton and his agent have been in talks with the Seattle Mariners, who are very interested in luring the slugger away from Arlington and to the Pacific Northwest.

Per Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, the Mariners and Hamilton are actually "very close" to reaching a deal.

Hamilton, of course, has given Texas his word that he will give them a chance to match any offer if they choose, but with Texas busy trying to sign Greinke, it appears that Jon Daniels and company would be content letting Hamilton walk to a division rival.

Of course, no signing and no decision is imminent on either front. The rest of the offseason for the Rangers, Hamilton, and consequently, the Mariners, hinge on Greinke's decision. If the Rangers sign Greinke, then they'll almost certainly let Greinke head to Seattle, as paying both in excess of $20 million dollars per season likely isn't plausible.

If the Rangers whiff on Greinke and he signs with the Dodgers, then they'll likely turn their attention back to Hamilton.

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