The Mariners' system is decent -- decidedly not good, but it isn't awful. They could be a good team if they spent their money wisely, but the problem is they don't, and Jack Z is a moron. They would have had Hamilton if they had gone to five years on him, but they stuck at four even though they knew that would lose them the deal. They never bothered going in on Swisher because they were terrified of losing the draft pick.
Hamilton says the Mariners never pushed hard on him, the Mariners say they did. However, I suspect Hamilton never considered them to be an option. If I was a big name superstar, why would I want to go to the Mariners unless it's for an absurd amount of money no other team would pay (like what Gil Meche -- not a superstar -- got to go to the Royals).