The Mariners have signed catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann to a minor league contract, Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto reports. Curto broke the news yesterday that Herrmann was working out with the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, and it may be a couple of days before Herrmann is officially activated in order to give him time to get fully ramped up.
Herrmann will take over from the just-released Tuffy Gosewisch as the primary Triple-A depth catcher for the Mariners, as Curto notes. The M’s are thin at the position at the big league level, with Mike Marjama and David Freitas handling duties behind the plate while Mike Zunino is on the DL with an oblique injury, so there’s a chance Herrmann could get a promotion sooner rather than later. (Especially since Seattle is being cautious with Zunino’s recovery.)
The Diamondbacks designated Herrmann for assignment and ultimately released him prior to Opening Day, thus saving themselves three-quarters of the $1.3MM owed to Herrmann in an arbitration-avoiding deal over the winter. Herrmann is coming off a rough .181/.273/.345 performance over 256 plate appearances with Arizona last season, a major dropoff from the impressive .284/.352/.493 slash line he posted over 166 PA in 2016. Herrmann can also fill in at first base and in the corner outfield, giving him more versatility than the average backup catcher.