The Mariners signed Chris Iannetta to be the team’s primary backstop, GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters, including Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (story link). Dipoto said that he sees Iannetta as a likely candidate to return to his prior levels of offensive performance. Meanwhile, the new GM explained that incumbent catcher Mike Zunino will have opportunities to earn time in a part-time role. “Mike comes in with an opportunity to win playing time,” Dipoto said. “A primary catcher is different from what I would consider an everyday player. There is no catcher who is going to go out and catch 162 games. Whether it be a time-share or a backup catcher, Mike is going to be in position to win some of that playing time. He’s still a young guy, and we need to get him back on track.”
Here’s more from the American League:
- The Angels and Yankees make for a good match on outfielder Brett Gardner, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times opines (Twitter links). Though Los Angeles would rather add a slugger in left, the team also needs an OBP threat at the top of the lineup and has the asset (starting pitching) that the Yanks are after. It probably doesn’t hurt that new Halos GM Billy Eppler just came over from New York. Of course, it remains to be see what kind of pitching asset New York GM Brian Cashman hopes to find, and what kind of value Eppler places on Gardner.
- Meanwhile, the Angels could still dabble at the top of the free agent market, says Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, who writes that the Halos “aren’t ruling out a pursuit” of Jason Heyward. That match makes sense on paper, of course, given the need and the club’s large budget. Of course, as MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez explained to me on last week’s MLBTR Podcast, the club’s ability to land a player of that magnitude will depend on the payroll levels approved by owner Arte Moreno.
- With so many needs, the Orioles are giving serious consideration to utilizing Trey Mancini at first base next year (assuming that Chris Davis departs in free agency), ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick writes (links to Twitter). The 23-year-old had a huge year at the High-A and Double-A levels last year. Though he feasted on opposing southpaws, he was quite good against right-handed pitching as well. Of course, leaping into the majors could be a big ask. But as Crasnick notes, there are limits to the teams other options. It lacks top-level system depth to trade from and is understandably uninterested in swapping young, MLB-level players such as Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop, he says.
- The Orioles have interest in a new deal with free agent outfielder Gerardo Parra, Crasnick also tweets. But Baltimore isn’t looking to go past two years with Parra, who was a trade deadline acquisition. From my perspective, that stance makes a reunion unlikely.