Zduriencik says Mariners not in Hamilton chase

While there has been speculation that the Mariners would be a potential pursuer of free agent slugger Josh Hamilton, Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik indicated Friday night that his club isn’t targeting the five-time All-Star outfielder.

The Mariners looked into Hamilton’s situation and have had conversations with agent Mike Moye, but Zduriencik doesn’t see a likely match in terms of the years and dollars the 2010 AL MVP will be seeking.

“At the end of the day, when you gauge the market, you have to be realistic about where it will end up,” Zduriencik told MLB.com. “And there’s a strong possibility that one will exceed where we’re at.”

So rather than wait and watch Hamilton’s market play out over what could be a drawn-out process this winter, Zduriencik said the Mariners will look elsewhere to beef up their offense. Seattle has some payroll room and a corner outfield spot open after trading Ichiro Suzuki last year. Ichiro was making $18 million of the Mariners’ approximate $85 million payroll in 2012.

The Mariners have already announced their intention to move in the outfield fences at Safeco Field next year, which should help bolster an offense that was last in the American League in runs and home runs despite ranking fifth in the league in both those categories on the road.

Seattle is building around a young nucleus, but would like to add a couple veterans to the mix. Zduriencik said he expects to be able to do that, either through trades or free agency. But Hamilton doesn’t figure to be part of that equation.

“You have to be realistic about how you’re going to allocate your dollars,” Zduriencik said. “Some of these things drag out and if you’re sitting there waiting on one chip, other chips in front of you might go away and you end up with nothing.”

Here’s my full story after talking with Zduriencik.

— Greg Johns

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