It’ll technically be Ford’s second stint with Seattle, as the M’s selected him out of the Yankees organization in the Rule 5 draft over the 2017-18 offseason. He partook in Spring Training with the Mariners but ultimately failed to crack the roster. Seattle returned him to New York a few days before Opening Day, and he spent that year with the Yankees’ top affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Ford would eventually get a big league look, though, as he was selected to New York’s MLB roster in April 2019. The left-handed hitter played in 50 games as a rookie and had an excellent showing. He popped 12 home runs in 163 plate appearances, posting a cumulative .259/.350/.559 slash line. He hasn’t managed to follow up on that strong start to his big league career, though. Over the past two years, he’s combined for just a .134/.250/.276 mark in 156 trips to the plate.
Amidst those recent struggles, the Yankees designated Ford for assignment last June. He was traded to the Rays but didn’t appear in the majors before Tampa Bay designated him themselves two months later. The Nationals claimed him off waivers and stashed him in Triple-A for the rest of the season. He struggled to a .202/.284/.337 line with their top affiliate, though, and never earned a big league call in the nation’s capital. Washington non-tendered the Princeton product at the end of the season.
Ford now needs to try and play his way back onto a 40-man roster. He’ll get a look in Seattle, which is set to open the year with Ty France at first base. Former top prospect Evan White remains on the 40-man but seems likely to start the season in Triple-A, where he’ll need to right the ship offensively. The 29-year-old Ford, owner of a .258/.350/.488 line in parts of four years at the minors’ highest level, adds some experienced depth to that first base/designated hitter group in camp.