Amateur Signing Bonuses: Mariners

Next up in our amateur signing bonus series, the Mariners…

  1. Dustin Ackley, $6MM (2009)
  2. Jeff Clement, $3.4MM (2005)
  3. Brandon Morrow, $2.45MM (2006)
  4. Matt Tuiasosopo, $2.29MM (2004)
  5. Philips Castillo, $2.2MM (2010)

The Mariners have long been a powerhouse when it comes to signing international free agents, but their four largest signing bonuses were given to drafted players. Ackley, the second overall pick last year, hit .267/.368/.407 in 587 plate appearances in 2010, his first professional season. He's also in the process of learning a new position (second base) after playing the outfield and first base at UNC.

Clement was the third overall pick in a top heavy 2005 draft, but that tends to happen when a catcher hits 46 homers in his three-year college career. He reached Triple-A in 2006 and the big leagues a year later, but he flunked a 224 plate appearance audition as the team's regular catcher in the second half of 2008. The Mariners traded Clement and four others to the Pirates for Jack Wilson and Ian Snell before the 2009 trade deadline. He was a .237/.309/.393 hitter in 243 plate appearances for Seattle.

Morrow was one of several power-armed college pitchers in the 2006 draft, going fifth overall. He threw just 16 minor league innings after signing (2.25 ERA, 9.6 K/9, 5.1 BB/9) then broke camp with the team as a reliever in 2007. Morrow pitched to a 4.12 ERA in 63.1 relief innings as a rookie, then tossed up a 3.34 ERA in 40 relief appearances and five starts the next year. It seemed like the Mariners were changing his role every other month, at least until they traded him to the Blue Jays for Brandon League and a minor leaguer last December. All told, Morrow threw 197.2 innings with a 3.96 ERA and 9.3 K/9 for the Mariners (116 relief appearances, 15 starts).

Seattle gave Tuiasosopo a huge bonus as the 93rd overall pick in 2004 (third round), buying him away from a football scholarship to the University of Washington. His brother Marques and father Manu both played in the NFL. Tuiasosopo never lived up to the bonus, hitting just .270/.363/.407 in close to 2,700 minor league plate appearances, though he has had several stints in the big leagues. He's a career .176/.234/.306 hitter in 210 major league plate appearances spread across three seasons.

Castillo signed earlier this summer out of the Dominican Republic. The 16-year-old corner outfielder will begin his professional career next season.

Seattle paid a $13.125MM posting fee for the rights to negotiate with Ichiro Suzuki before the 2001 season, and they then signed him to a three-year, $14.088MM contract that included a $5MM signing bonus. He was far from an amateur though, at least when it comes to his experience level. Felix Hernandez, meanwhile, signed for $710K out of Venezuela in 2002, reportedly turning down larger offers from the Braves and Yankees.


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12 Comments on "Amateur Signing Bonuses: Mariners"


4 years 9 months ago

Man if only Felix Hernandez would have taken the Braves offer… The Mariners seem kind of hit and miss when it comes to signings. They mishandled Brandon Morrow and now he looks like a future star in Toronto. Hopefully Dustin Ackley works out at second base, he killed it at UNC.

4 years 9 months ago

Go Mariners!

LifeLongYankeeFan
4 years 9 months ago

What the hell my Yankees had a chance to sign him dang. I’m sure everyone feels bad for us lol. Oh well I don’t really get to see him pitch living in CT and watching the Yanks but looking at his stats I think he has to be considered the best if not one of the best pitchers in baseball. I can’t wait to see what his stats are when he is in his prime if he does continue to get better if thats possible. As far as I’m concerned though the greatest pitcher or maybe I should say the most dominating pitcher in his prime was Pedro Martinez but there has been 90 years of baseball history before I even started watching baseball so I’m sure there’s an arguement. I mean pitching to an era under 2 and he did it in 2 different seasons in the AL East in the middle of the steroid era is jaw dropping impressive.

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

Thanks again for Morrow.

Shikikazu
4 years 9 months ago

Your welcome, but I know that Morrow has tons of talent and nasty stuff but he’s never been able to put it all together, he lacks consistency. Maybe he will pan out because he’s still young I wish him the best of luck

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

He also wasn’t handled well in Seattle, always going back and forth between the bullpen, minors and the rotation..

Jays did the right thing, sat him down said listen you’re going to be a starter come hell or high water.. After Walton tweeked his delivery he really started to come on strong and develop consistency

Shikikazu
4 years 9 months ago

Theres only three trades I regret the Mariners making in the last 5 years
trading away Shin-soo Choo for nothing and Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez
and Brandon Morrow

Honorable mentions are Adam Jones and Matt Thornton

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

2.29 million for a 93rd draft pick overall?

RustyJohn
4 years 9 months ago

Local boy- played at UW, father former Seahawk.

4 years 9 months ago

He would probably have gone higher at the time but everyone expected him to play football @ U of Washington.

4 years 9 months ago

thanks again for reminding us Mariner fans of some of our drafting failures, not like peeling back the scab to pour salt on the wound

4 years 9 months ago

I am quite certain that the money spent on Dustin Ackley will pay off in the very near future.

P.S. Please don’t remind me about all the money the M’s spent on players that aren’t there anymore.