Mariners Close To Deal With John Buck

TUESDAY, 4:20pm: Seattle is expected to give Buck a major league contract, Morosi tweets.

MONDAY, 11:25pm: The Mariners are close to a deal with free agent catcher John Buck, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Buck, 33, is represented by the ACES agency.

The backstop played out the last year of a three-year, $18MM contract last season. After originally signing that deal with the Marlins, Buck was dealt from the Blue Jays to the Mets, and then to the Pirates. Buck raced out to a hot start in 2013 — he had a .844 OPS and 9 home runs in April — but faded over the course of the year. He saw only 24 plate appearances in his late-season stint in Pittsburgh, and ultimately ended the 2013 campaign with a .219/.285/.362 line and 15 home runs over 431 plate appearances. Buck has appeared in at least 100 games in eight of the last nine seasons and has a lifetime .701 OPS.

As things stand for Seattle, young catcher Mike Zunino figures to be the club's primary catching option for 2014 (and beyond), with 25-year-old Jesus Sucre and veteran Humberto Quintero also in the mix. At first glance, Buck would presumably fit in as Zunino's backup if a deal is consummated. On the other hand, as MLBTR's Aaron Steen has noted, the unseasoned Zunino could probably stand to spend more time in the minors or in a reduced role, and Buck's long history as a starter makes him a plausible candidate to see significant time behind the big league dish.

22 Responses to Mariners Close To Deal With John Buck Leave a Reply

  1. livestrong77nyyankz 2 years ago

    Solid move by the Mariners

  2. BrocNessMonster 2 years ago

    Good move. Not a big one, but still a good one.

  3. Jordan_Vaughn1 2 years ago

    Someone who is not affected by Tanaka! Good move for the Mariners. Solid back up C.

    • davbee 2 years ago

      Or platoon catcher until Zunino is ready.

      • DogleggedWalnut 2 years ago

        Zunino is ready. He just doesn’t have a back-up catcher that can actually do something.

  4. skrockij89 2 years ago

    I can dig it. Good signing M’s. Let’s address that bullpen next.

  5. Edgar4evar 2 years ago

    I wanted the team to sign a starting catcher, rather than a backup type. Probably wishful thinking, but Zunino was brought up too early and should spend a full year backing up IMO. But it wouldn’t be a bad signing since Buck is probably an upgrade over the M’s current backup options at catcher.

    • Andy Todd 2 years ago

      I like Jesus Sucre but no doubt he’s not the “starter” variety.

    • John Kreese 2 years ago

      Free agent catcher wise I think Buck is the best of the bunch. I do think Buck will play a little more than some people think. I’d think he’s good for two, maybe three starts a week. I think the M’s would rather ease in Zunino this year unlike last year.

  6. Andy Todd 2 years ago

    Very smart move, I think. I was surprised this hadn’t happened already!

  7. Eric 2 years ago

    This is a good move for the Mariners. I’m relatively certain that Zunino is going to be the everyday starter at the MLB level the entire year, even if he struggles, whether or not it is in the best interests of his development. Buck will make a solid backup, with Quintero available if there is an injury.

  8. DerekJeterDan 2 years ago

    I’m interested to see how much the Mariners will be paying him. Mets had a perfect fit with Buck in case d’Arnaud struggles like he did last season. Buck would have gotten starting time and a role as a mentor very similar to last year but the Mets passed up the opportunity to bring him back. A decision I feel was a mistake. Wonder what Buck signed for. Good deal for the Mariners. He can be Zunino’s backup instead. Ideal fit.

    • Jordan_Vaughn1 2 years ago

      Ya, kinda the same spot in both cases. Backing up a potential really good young catcher. Wonder if it was cash or location that made him pick Sea

  9. Lefebvre Believer 2 years ago

    A small peep in the silent anticipation for the Tanaka domino to fall.

    Did I just write a Haiku?

  10. wadesawko 2 years ago

    The important thing is his leadership. Ask Matt Harvey how good he was to throw too. Some direction for Zunino and the young pitchers Walker, Paxton and hopefully Hultzen.

  11. dab394 2 years ago

    I watched Buck play for 5 months last season and I was not very impressed. After his incredible April (one of the best April’s for any Met ever), his bat was largely nonexistent. When Terry Collins started giving him a little rest, he seemed to perform better so maybe a platoon with Zunino would work for the Mariners. Also, his defense leaves a lot to be desired. I think he was a really good influence on the Mets young pitching staff, particularly in game calling, but he’s lazy when it comes to blocking balls in the dirt. It was kind of shocking to me that a veteran catcher could lack such fundamentals but he seemed unwilling to get on his knees and block pitches. He’s very good at picking it with his glove, but when the ball gets by him, it’s incredibly disheartening.

    If the Mariners don’t overexpose him, then I suppose his bat will last longer and maybe he will be more willing to go all out on the defensive end. But I would be a little wary of him being the Mariners starting catcher.

    • Otis26 2 years ago

      I watched him for most of 2008 and he and Olivo set a team record for passed balls. When he signed his 3 year $18 million deal I just laughed. Yeah…he got an All Star selection, but at the end of the day he’s still John Buck.

  12. Okanogan 2 years ago

    i was wondering what, an when the M.s were going to do something about the catching situation, since the FA market is all but dryed up, at 33 you would think Buck has something lelf in the tank just maybe he can get is game back, im alright with it don’t stop now keep it going if you please.

  13. The Original Drew 2 years ago

    I guess that puts the final nail in the coffin in Jesus Montero spending any time behind the plate.

    • $3513744 2 years ago

      you needed this to confirm that? haha. not laughing at you. it’s just funny.

  14. jmo mls 2 years ago

    The Mariners couldn’t find someone in their own system to hit .219? Just swing a dead cat and you’ll hit one.

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