The Mariners and outfielder Eric Young Jr. have agreed to a deal, as Young himself announced on Twitter and Instagram. It’s a minor league pact for the 33-year-old speedster, MLBTR has confirmed. Young spent the majority of Spring Training in camp with the Orioles before being granted his release when he was informed he wouldn’t make the club. He’s repped by MVP Sports Group.
Young batted .323/.462/.452 with a homer, a double and a pair of stolen bases through 39 plate appearances in a strong spring showing for the Orioles but was nonetheless left off the Opening Day roster. He’s spent the past two seasons with the Angels, batting a combined .233/.293/.361 with five long balls, nine doubles, a pair of triples and 17 steals over the life of 242 PAs. Statcast shows that even as he enters his mid-30s, Young can still flat-out fly around the bases. His 29.0 ft/sec average sprint speed ranked in the 91st percentile of big leaguers a year ago.
The Mariners’ outfield is set with Domingo Santana in left field, Mallex Smith in center field and Mitch Haniger in right field. Jay Bruce, currently slotted in at first base, figures to still see some time on the outfield grass in 2019 as well. Seattle’s primary 40-man option for a reserve center fielder is Braden Bishop, who made his MLB debut in the second of two season-opening games in Tokyo, so it’s possible that Young could eventually work his way up to the big league level with a solid showing in Triple-A Tacoma. Should that eventually play out, he’d give Seattle three of the league’s fastest players alongside Smith and Dee Gordon.
In parts of 10 MLB seasons split between the Mets, Rockies, Angels and Yankees, Young is a .245/.312/.332 hitter with 13 homers, 67 doubles, 22 triples and 162 stolen bases.