The Mariners have agreed to sign utilityman Alen Hanson to a minor league contract, according to Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors (Twitter link). The deal contains an invitation to Seattle’s Major League spring camp.
Most immediately, Hanson gives the M’s some experienced outfield depth in the wake of today’s news that Mitch Haniger recently underwent core surgery and will miss the start of the season. Since Haniger is expected to be back before the end of April, however, Hanson’s versatility gives him a shot at remaining on Seattle’s roster even after Haniger returns. Over 261 career games at the big league level, Hanson has started at every position on the diamond except pitcher and catcher.
Not much hitting pop has come along with that defensive flexibility, as Hanson has only a .232/.266/.368 slash line over 625 career plate appearances in the majors, and he also hasn’t hit much at the Triple-A or even Double-A levels. The 27-year-old has bounced around between four different organizations over his pro career, seeing MLB action with the Pirates, White Sox, Giants, and Blue Jays.
With Haniger on the shelf, Jake Fraley and Braden Bishop stand out as Seattle’s top candidates for right field playing time. Kyle Lewis could also see some time at the position if not in left field, while Dee Gordon is expected to be deployed at multiple positions. Hanson will be battling for a utility role with such players as Tim Lopes, Patrick Wisdom, Dylan Moore, and Donnie Walton.