The Mariners have claimed catcher David Freitas off waivers from the Braves, as per a team press release. Right-hander Rob Whalen has also been reinstated to Seattle’s 40-man roster, thus filling every available spot on the 40-man.
Freitas was originally a 15th-round pick for the Nationals in the 2010 draft, and he has since been part of two notable trades (from Washington to Oakland for Kurt Suzuki in August 2012 and then from the A’s to the Orioles as a PTBNL in the Jim Johnson deal in December 2013) and also been selected by the Cubs in the Rule 5 draft. No matter the organization, Freitas has hit well in his pro career, with a .272/.358/.414 slash line over 2665 career minor league plate appearances. Freitas made his big league debut this past season, appearing in six games for Atlanta.
With Carlos Ruiz hitting free agency, the Mariners could see Freitas as a candidate for the backup catcher’s job; Mike Marjama is currently the top choice on the depth chart behind starter Mike Zunino. At the very least, Freitas gives the M’s additional catching and first base depth in the minors.
Whalen also came to Seattle from Atlanta, coming to the Mariners along with Max Povse in exchange for Alex Jackson and Tyler Pike last December. Whalen appeared in just two games at the MLB level for Seattle in a season marked by several shuttles to and from Triple-A Tacoma, where he made just 10 starts. His year began with a month-long DL stint due to a sore shoulder and Whalen didn’t appear in another game after being placed on the team’s restricted list in early July due to undisclosed personal issues. In addition to 32 big league innings with the Mariners and Braves, Whalen has a 2.99 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 2.59 K/BB rate over 413 career innings in the minors.