1:51pm: Despite moving to release Triple-A backstop Erik Kratz, the Mariners are not “close” to a deal to add a new catcher, multiple sources tell Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). He does add that Seattle has been looking for a new reserve behind the dish, though it has found the prices unreasonable.
12:09pm: The Blue Jays are not involved, says Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). Toronto backstop Dioner Navarro has long looked like a strong trade candidate, but it appears he isn’t the player being pursued by Seattle.
9:54am: The Mariners are close to striking a deal for a backstop, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. The report does not give any indication of the identities of the player or the other team involved in talks.
Mike Zunino, who is only 24, still looks like he could be a long-term piece for Seattle. But his struggles have become rather pronounced: his batting line sits at .160/.223/.292 after 277 plate appearances on the year. While Zunino is well regarded as a pitch framer, and Defensive Runs Saved is a fan (+7) of his work behind the dish. But Baseball Prospectus does not rate him highly in its measure of Fielding Runs Above Average.
The addition of Castillo seemed like an effort to supplement Zunino, and it appears that the Mariners are about to undertake another such attempt. Of course, it is entirely unclear at this point what kind of addition is under contemplation. MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently provided a complete breakdown of this year’s trade market at the position.