Seattle Mariners Rumors

Seattle Mariners trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL West Notes: Williams, Astros, Angels, Ramirez

Recently-released Astros hurler Jerome Williams has already drawn inquiries from eight clubs, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. That does not include the Twins, he notes. Williams’ agent tells MLBTR’s Zach Links (Twitter link) that he believes the veteran righty will get a chance to start on a major league club.

Here’s more from the AL West:

  • The Astros are interested in upgrading the club’s bullpen in both the short and long-term, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Owner Jim Crane said that the team’s relief corps has cost the club ballgames, indicating that he hopes to find some solutions during the current season. Nevertheless, any moves would keep an eye firmly on the future: “We’re always looking more long term,” he said, “but we want to try to establish a nucleus this year and win a lot more ballgames than we did last year.”
  • Of course, the Angels‘ bullpen needs are on a much shorter fuse. Even after making several recent acquisitions, club GM Jerry Dipoto says that the team is still browsing the market, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter). Dipoto hopes to form a late-inning nucleus that can record the “last nine outs” of a game. “We will continue to look for a guy who can join that group,” he said.
  • Multiple teams have expressed interest in Mariners righty Erasmo Ramirez, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports on Twitter. The 24-year-old has not had sustained success at the major league level, but does offer plenty of youth and team control. Ramirez would seem to make a useful trade chip in a lower-level deal for Seattle, or as a part of a package in a larger swap.

Mariners Designate John Buck For Assignment

The Mariners have designated veteran catcher John Buck for assignment, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). He notes in a followup tweet that it seems likely the Mariners will recall Jesus Sucre from Triple-A Tacoma.

Buck, who turned 34 years old Monday, inked a one-year, $1MM contract with the Mariners to serve as the backup to young catcher Mike Zunino. He’s struggled to get on base and hit for average in recent years, but he’d shown good pop until this season with Seattle. In 27 games (92 plate appearances), Buck was hitting just .226/.293/.286 with one home run.

Divish notes that the move likely won’t go over well in the Mariners’ locker room, as Buck was popular among his teammates. He adds, however, that there had been growing concern from the Mariners’ decision-makers over Buck’s receiving and blocking skills with the staff — particularly the team’s harder-throwing pitchers. Indeed, Buck grades out poorly in terms of pitch-framing metrics (per StatCorner.com’s Matthew Carruth and per Baseball Prospectus), although that’s hardly a new trend. Buck had one passed ball on the season and had been behind the dish for 11 wild pitches in just 164 innings, so the Mariners likely felt that some of those could have been blocked.

A veteran of 11 Major League seasons between the Royals, Blue Jays, Marlins, Mets, Pirates and Mariners, Buck is a lifetime .234/.301/.398 hitter.


AL West Notes: Grilli, Angels, Aiken, Morales

In a video interview with ESPN’s Jim Bowden, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto discussed the recent trades his team has made. Regarding the team’s swap of Ernesto Frieri for Jason Grilli, Dipoto tells Bowden that he received a text message from Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington, and the discussions took “about seven minutes” from start to agreement. The Halos’ interest in Grilli dates all the way back to his most recent run as a free agent, says Dipoto, who adds that the team discussed similar deals to this trade before making the move.

More from Dipoto’s chat with Bowden and the rest of the AL West below…

  • Regarding his acquisition of lefty Joe Thatcher, Dipoto notes “that’s one we’d been looking at for quite a long time.” Dipoto adds that Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers had made his interest in Zach Borenstein, who went to Arizona in the deal, known in the past. Perhaps most interestingly, Dipoto implies that the negotiations on the trade took place with Towers. Previous reports have indicated that some organizations weren’t sure about Arizona’s front office hierarchy now that Tony La Russa is in the mix.
  • Asked by Bowden if the Angels were done shopping, Dipoto replied, “We’ll continue to try to find ways to make the team better. Particularly, I’ve talked about the idea that if we can find one more piece for that bullpen.” Dipoto makes sure to qualify that he’s very pleased with the current mix of relievers but remains open to possible improvements at the back of the ‘pen.
  • Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle spoke with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, who said he’s hopeful the team can reach an agreement with top pick Brady Aiken, but he won’t handicap it either way (Twitter link). Earlier today, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that a ligament issue in Aiken’s elbow has held up negotiations and caused the Astros to drop their bonus offer from $6.5MM to $5MM. Drellich talked to Aiken’s trainer, who claims that the lefty is healthy.
  • With the Twins in Seattle, Kendrys Morales spoke through an interpreter to the Seattle media (including Bob Candotta of the Seattle Times) about his offseason discussions with his former club. Morales said there was a bit of discussion with the Mariners, but as his interpreter says: “…in his heart he just didn’t really want to come back here and be in the same spot. He was taking his chances to see maybe something would get better.”


AL Notes: Soriano, Mariners, Reimold

Alfonso Soriano will consider retirement after being designated for assignment by the Yankees, Marly Rivera of ESPN Deportes tweets. Soriano will take a week to talk with his family and think about what to do next. “This was to be expected. I talked to my lawyer about what I was going through, how I was being used, and I didn’t feel comfortable,” says Soriano. If this is it for the 38-year-old Soriano, he’ll finish his career with a .270/.319/.500 line and 412 home runs. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • One team that might make sense for Soriano is the Mariners, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Mariners have struggled against lefties, and Soriano has still hit for power against them, with a split of .247/.269/.416, even as he has struggled this season.
  • The Blue Jays plan to give new outfielder Nolan Reimold plenty of playing time, SportsNet.ca’s Shi Davidi writes. The Jays claimed Reimold from the Orioles earlier this weekend. “His big thing is staying healthy, he’s had trouble doing that over his career. This is his opportunity, there wasn’t a spot for him over in Baltimore,” says manager John Gibbons. “He’ll come here and help us out.” Adding Reimold could help the Jays use Jose Bautista more frequently in the infield.

Rays Open To Trading David Price Within Division

The consensus around baseball this season has been that the Rays are extremely reluctant to trade ace David Price within the AL East.  That may still be true, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that they’re still at least open to the idea of moving Price within the division.

An intra-division deal might call for a premium price, but today’s report is still good news for the Blue Jays, who would no doubt love to bring Price north of the border.  The Blue Jays can’t bank on Mark Buehrle duplicating his strong first half and they’ve fallen out of first place.  If Toronto is willing to part with two of their top three prospects - Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, and Dalton Pompey – they could come away with the most alluring pitcher on the trade market.

In addition to the Blue Jays, Morosi cites the Mariners, Dodgers, and Cardinals as possible landing spots for Price.  It’s hard to see Seattle landing Price without parting with Taijuan Walker, but they might be aggressive enough to move the 21-year-old to get Price.  The Dodgers, of course, are always aggressive and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports surmised yesterday that they could be extra bullish on Price because of their TV situation.


Minor Moves: Kameron Loe, Chance Ruffin

Here are Saturday’s minor moves from around MLB:

  • The Diamondbacks announced the signing of right-hander Kameron Loe to a minor league deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Loe, who will report to Triple-A Reno, was released by the Braves last Monday and will now be joining his fourth organization this year after stints with the Giants and Royals. The 32-year-old has posted a 6.99 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, and 11.8 H/9 in 28 1/3 innings (19 games) for the Triple-A affiliates of the Royals and Braves.
  • Mariners right-hander Chance Ruffin has voluntarily retired and returned home to be with his wife and newborn baby, writes Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto for the Olympian. Ruffin, the 48th overall selection in the 2010 draft, was acquired from the Tigers in the 2010 Doug Fister trade and made 22 relief appearances for the Mariners to the tune of a 5.70 ERA, 11.4 K/9, and 5.3 BB/9 in 23 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old, who was not on the Mariners’ 40-man roster, pitched to a 5.31 ERA, 7.4 K/9, and 3.7 BB/9 in 61 innings (22 games including seven starts) for Triple-A Tacoma this year.
  • Per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, there are seven players in DFA limbo: Kenny Wilson (Blue Jays), Nick Buss (A’s), Jeff Francis (A’s), Nolan Reimold (Orioles), Justin Maxwell (Royals), Pedro Ciriaco (Royals), and Jerome Williams (Astros).

Jays Claim Cole Gillespie, Designate Kenny Wilson

The Blue Jays have announced they have claimed outfielder Cole Gillespie off waivers from the Mariners. To clear room on the 40-man roster, Toronto designated outfielder Kenny Wilson for assignment. The Blue Jays still need to make a 25-man roster move and the team says it will do so once Gillespie reports to the club.

Gillespie was designated for assignment by the Mariners yesterday after posting a line of .254/.312./.324 in 78 plate appearances (56 of those against left-handed pitching). Gillespie signed a minor league deal with the Mariners in January.

For someone who has never seen MLB action, Wilson’s name has graced the pages of MLBTR quite a bit over the past ten weeks. This is the third time the 24-year-old has been designated for assignment and the second by the Blue Jays, who also has claimed him off waivers after the Twins designated him in May. Wilson opened the year as Baseball America’s 22nd-ranked prospect in the Blue Jay organization and is said to have starter upside, if he can translate his tools into production, but he has produced pedestrian numbers this season slashing .234/.312/.333 in 324 plate appearances between the Toronto (Double-A/Triple-A) and Minnesota (Double-A) organizations.


AL West Notes: Dipoto, A’s, Mariners

Here’s the latest from around the AL West…

  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is pleased with his starting pitching and doesn’t intend to pursue rotation upgrades, though the bullpen is still “not a finished product,” he tells MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez and Matthew DeFranks.  Sources in the industry tell Gonzalez/DeFranks that the Halos are looking for a situational lefty and another possible closer candidate to bolster current stopper Joe Smith and the newly-acquired Jason Grilli.
  • The Athletics are talking to teams about acquiring a starting pitcher or second baseman, ESPN’s Jim Bowden tweets, and they’re willing to discuss trading any top prospect besides Addison Russell.  Many of Oakland’s other notable farm products are in the low minors, however, and Russell is the only Oakland minor leaguer ranked in preseason top 100 prospects from Baseball America, MLB.com or ESPN’s Keith Law.
  • Several unheralded players are helping the Mariners win, John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune writes, from seemingly stalled prospects like James Jones and Roenis Elias to veteran reclamation projects like Chris Young and Joe Beimel.
  • The Mariners seem intent on making an upgrade or two before the deadline, and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune discusses a few options as part of a reader mailbag.

Mariners Designate Cole Gillespie For Assignment

The Mariners have designated outfielder Cole Gillespie for assignment, the team announced.  Corey Hart has been activated from the DL in a corresponding move.

Gillespie hit .254/.312/.324 with one homer in 78 PA for Seattle this season, with 56 of those plate appearances coming against left-handed pitching.  Gillespie signed a minor league deal with the M’s during the offseason.

According to MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, Gillespie is now the eighth player currently in ‘DFA limbo,’ joining Jeff Francis (A’s), Dean Anna (Yankees), Jerome Williams (Astros), Nolan Reimold (Orioles), Joe Saunders (Rangers) Pedro Ciriaco and Justin Maxwell (Royals)


Mariners, Giants Interested In Dayan Viciedo

The Mariners and Giants are among the teams who have talked to the White Sox about acquiring outfielder Dayan Viciedo, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports.  The Mariners have considered sending righty Brandon Maurer and another player to Chicago in exchange for Viciedo, while the extent of the Giants’ interest in the Cuban slugger isn’t known.

Viciedo has struggled to a .242/.294/.404 slash line over 326 PA this season, hitting nine homers and producing only an 89 wRC+.  He has roughly $1.4MM remaining on his contract for this season, and he is controlled through 2017 as a Super Two player.  Viciedo is still just 25 years old and posted some big power numbers in the minors, so a change of scenery could help, though moving from hitter-friendly US Cellular Field to pitcher-friendly parks in Seattle and San Francisco doesn’t seem ideal for a batter looking to realize his potential.

This isn’t the first time Seattle has been linked to Viciedo, as the M’s and Sox explored a swap during Spring Training.  The Mariners are still looking for some outfield power, as while Michael Saunders (RF) and James Jones (CF) have mostly locked down everyday roles, former top prospect Dustin Ackley has contributed only a .640 OPS while getting the bulk of playing time in left field.  Since all three of these players are left-handed batters, Viciedo would add some balance from the right side.

Maurer, who just turned 24 yesterday, has a 6.51 ERA in 37 1/3 IP (seven starts and three relief outings) for Seattle this season.  A 23rd-round draft pick in 2008, Maurer has recorded a 3.79 ERA, 8.4 K/9 and 2.7 K/BB rate over 389 minor league innings.

Brandon Belt returns from the DL today, leaving the Giants with an ideal regular lineup of Belt at first base, Michael Morse in left and Hunter Pence in right.  If Viciedo were to go to San Francisco, then, it would be as a bench bat and DH option for interleague games in AL stadiums.  Viciedo has graded out as a below-average outfielder over his career, so it’s hard to see him getting much playing time in the spacious AT&T Park outfield.