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<  Shannon Drayer

Report: Mariners take next step with Hamilton

By Shannon Drayer

Jack Zduriencik has met with numerous representatives for numerous free agents at and leading up to the winter meetings. It is what general managers do. They explore options, touch base, check out all possibilities. GMs generally don't meet with all free agents, however. Meeting with the player is taking it to another level. Of course several other teams can take the same step but still, if what Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted and wrote late Monday night is true, Zduriencik hasn't slammed the door shut to the possibility of acquiring Josh Hamilton.

"Hamilton, 31, is attending the winter meetings, and Mariners officials met with him on Sunday, according to major-league sources," Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi wrote.

Obviously, a meeting is a meeting. It may or may not progress. The Mariners met with Mike Napoli two weeks ago today he chose the Red Sox.

You don't see a ton of players at the winter meetings. The ones that you do see or hear of actually showing up are usually top-tier free agents that are either coming in to meet with a team that they are close to signing with or as the case here most likely is, players' agents bring them in to help kick start their markets.

This will get things going. He no doubt is meeting with multiple teams. The interesting dynamic here is that a meeting with the Mariners is more for the Mariners' benefit than Hamilton's. He has been to Seattle countless times. Coming from the AL West he knows plenty about the Mariners. The Mariners, on the other hand, know little about him. They have done their due diligence, and from what I understand, a ton of due diligence in this case, but as he was under contract with the Rangers until after the World Series they couldn't talk to him. If they have any interest, and they do, this is a guy they want to look in the eyes and to hear from.

If they eventually sign Hamilton I am sure we will hear all about that conversation at the press conference. If Hamilton is holding out for the highest bidder that most likely will not happen. Zduriencik has his limits. If Hamilton is looking for something else, which Rosenthal suggests is a possibility, we could have a different story. For now, the Mariners and Josh Hamilton spent some minutes together.

If that isn't enough, from Twitter:

Heyman tweet

We will tackle this one Tuesday.

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