The Mariners cut ties with veteran catcher Tuffy Gosewisch on Thursday, but Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto noted after reporting the move that the decision is tied to the fact that the organization is likely to bring another veteran catcher on board. It’s not immediately clear whether the Mariners are in talks with a free agent or chatting with other clubs about a possible minor swap, though it’s worth noting that the Angels (Juan Graterol) recently designated a catcher for assignment. The free-agent market is thin but includes the likes of Chris Herrmann, Ryan Hanigan, Derek Norris, Geovany Soto and former Mariner Carlos Ruiz.
A bit more on the Mariners…
- Speaking of Seattle catchers, Mike Zunino’s 10-day minimum DL stint is up today but he won’t be immediately rejoining the team, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. Zunino is on the DL with a mild oblique strain, though the organization expressed confidence at the time of the injury that Zunino wouldn’t require the type of month-long absence that is commonly associated with oblique issues. There had been some hope that he could be ready for the second game in Minnesota, but manager Scott Servais now says the team plans to “slow Zunino down a little.” The skipper was insistent that there’s been no setback for his catcher, though, characterizing the decision as largely cautious in nature. Meanwhile, Divish also notes that outfielder Ben Gamel is set to embark on a minor league rehab assignment for his own oblique strain, and he gives some positive news on slugger Nelson Cruz as well.
- After seeing how veteran players struggled to find long-term contracts in free agency this winter, Robinson Cano is relieved to have his future spoken for, the second baseman told the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner during Spring Training. Cano’s ten-year, $240MM deal runs through the 2023 season, giving him both security but also added motivation to keep living up to that hefty salary. “I want to earn every penny that I get here. I don’t want to be like those guys that, two or three years into their contract, they do really good and then they don’t care. I do care,” Cano said. “I love this game so much, this is what I dreamed when I was a kid….If you keep working hard, you tell your body that you’re ready to go — not like guys that start sitting down, they’re gaining weight, they don’t care. I have fans out there, I have my son, I have to be a good example. I feel comfortable now because I got the money, but money’s not everything.” It remains to be seen if Cano can successfully fend off the normal decline process as he enters his age-35 season, though it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t delivered for the M’s, hitting .295/.351/.472 with 97 homers over his first four years in Seattle.
- Despite Edwin Diaz’s early-career success, he is still something of a work in progress, TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune writes. To this end, Juan Nicasio has already become a veteran mentor to the M’s closer. “He knows how to pitch,” Diaz said. “So I talk to him a lot, how he can teach me how to pitch, too, how to attack hitters to get an out.” Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. believes Nicasio’s influence will further help Diaz “train his thought process and his mindset,” which is a particularly key facet to the game for Diaz considering that “slowing the game down” helps him better control his mechanics.