The Mariners have signed outfielder Adam Engel to a minor league contract, tweets Triple-A broadcaster Mike Curto. He’s reporting to the M’s top affiliate in Tacoma for his organizational debut this evening. The Icon Sports Management client finds a new landing spot less than a week after being released by the Padres.
Engel only appeared in five major league games for San Diego. Signed to a one-year deal over the offseason after being non-tendered by the White Sox, he opened the season on the injured list with a strained left hamstring. Engel returned from the IL on May 5 but only logged six plate appearances over the next two weeks before the Friars cut him loose.
While his 2023 track record is limited, Engel has had a fairly lengthy run in the major leagues. He’d previously only ever played for Chicago, suiting up for the Sox between 2017-22. Aside from a small sample offensive spike between 2020-21, he’s been a lighter-hitting defensive specialist. The Louisville product is a career .224/.279/.349 hitter in over 1500 plate appearances. A right-handed hitter, Engel hasn’t produced much against pitchers of either handedness.
He’s nevertheless gotten a decent amount of MLB time because of his glove and speed. Engel has 47 career stolen bases and generally rates as a productive overall baserunner. He’s capable of playing anywhere in the outfield and has gotten strong reviews from both Defensive Runs Saved and Statcast for his center field work. The Mariners will pencil in Julio Rodríguez daily so long as he’s healthy, while Teoscar Hernández and the platoon of Jarred Kelenic and AJ Pollock are manning the corner outfield.
Neither Hernández nor Pollock has performed well this season and center field prospect Cade Marlowe has posted below-average numbers in Triple-A. The M’s also have Taylor Trammell, Cooper Hummel and utilityman Sam Haggerty on the 40-man roster. Engel adds an experienced glove-first depth option behind that group. He has over five years of MLB service, so if he’s promoted at any point, the Mariners would have to keep him in the majors or designate him for assignment.