The Mariners are in agreement on a contract with outfielder Steven Souza, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It’s a minor league deal. (Twitter links) He’ll make a $1MM salary if he cracks the big league roster, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. It’s a minor league deal with a split option, per Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.
Souza’s best season came back in 2017 with the Rays, when he played 148 games and hit 30 home runs. He finished the year with a slash line of .239/.351/.459, wRC+ of 121 and 3.8 fWAR. Unfortunately, the years since then haven’t gone as well. After being traded to the Diamondbacks, he struggled in 2018, then missed all of 2019 after suffering a gruesome injury in Spring Training. In 2020, he only got into 11 games with the Cubs and then only played 17 games with the Dodgers last year. Turning 33 in April, Souza will hope to get a crack at the big league roster and a chance to show he’s still capable of the excellent form he showed five years ago.
For the Mariners, this bolsters the depth in an area where they have many options but little certainty beyond Mitch Haniger manning right field. Jarred Kelenic made his debut last year but failed to impress in his first 93 games at the big league level. He’s likely to get another shot based on his prospect pedigree and strong finish, but will have to produce to keep his playing time. Kyle Lewis had an excellent breakout campaign in 2020 but was limited to just 36 games last year due to injuries. Then there’s a pile of other intriguing-but-unproven options, such as Jake Fraley, Taylor Trammell and Dylan Moore. Top prospect Julio Rodriguez is on the way, but only got as high as Double-A last year, making him more of a long-term option than a short-term one.