Well, four days without SSI content means you get something from me to keep things somewhat going.
Let's look a bit harder at Bryce Harper as a potential Mariner.
Obviously, the Ms have not seemed to be a logical destination for him. New York, Philly, L.A., Chicago.... all of these have seemed more probable.
But think for a minute about something Harper and Boras know, that we might consider....
The best way to become an historic superstar (which Harper seemingly intends to be) is not to go to a contender and play well -- it's to go to a building team and MAKE them a champion. Putting up historic numbers in that context is what makes a Griffey-type franchise icon.
Look at the Braves in 1954. They had Spahn and Eddie Matthews - two HOF players. But the addition of Henry Aaron made them a contender, WS champion in 1957, and the first non-New York team to be taken seriously year after year in the years after the war, other than the quixotic teams by Bill Veeck in Cleveland from Negro League stars and good pitching.
The Baltimore Orioles had been a good team in the early 60s, with good pitching and Boog Powell. In 1966, Cincinnati traded Frank Robinson to the Orioles, and suddenly a champion was born.
These are only two examples, but the point remains that taking a team "over-the-top" can make a star player an historic player. Going to play for a team, and in a park, that gives the player a real chance at historic stats is the way to be a star and an icon in the game.
If the addition of Harper would make no real difference -- if he displaced a very good player, so the improvement was fairly nominal, then this discussion might be academic. But putting a 5+ WAR player into the Ms mix at either LF or 1B, both of which are recent Ms performance wastelands, would mean virtually all that 5 WAR is improvement. And, adding that to a young team with a group of solid players puts a different light on things.
Do the Ms need another Starting Pitcher (preferably RH) that is more than a .500 innings-eater type in the rotation? Certainly Yes. Might a pitcher like that be available at a doable price from FA (Shelby Miller?) or trade (Michael Fulmer? Sonny Gray?) while still affording Harper? Do they need some BP arms? Do they need a mentoring backup C? All these are still available, and that is true whether or not Harper is signed.
Shedding some of the $50M owed to Encarnacion, Bruce, and Leake would make a run at Harper even reasonable in payroll terms -- Felix comes off after the next season, and other long-term obligations are certainly affordable. And, more pointedly, getting more butts in seats would allow more payroll anyway -- and what gets butts in seats? WINNING!
The Ms ownership group has given Seattle some good teams and some nice nights at a beautiful ballpark. Might it be time for a year after year .600 winning percentage and some October baseball? It seems there's a possible path open. Is it the right one? I don't think anyone knows. Does it hold more promise than todays' roster? I'd say so.