The Mariners are signing catcher Jacob Nottingham to a minor league contract, according to his MLB.com transactions tracker. The right-handed hitter also spent part of the 2021 campaign in Seattle.
Nottingham played in the majors each season from 2018-21. He spent most of that time as a member of the Brewers, working as a bat-first depth catcher for his first few seasons. Nottingham exhausted his minor league option years by 2021, requiring teams to keep him on the MLB roster or make him available to other organizations. That led to a shuffle between Milwaukee and Seattle teams that each valued him as a depth catcher.
Within a one-month span early in that season, Nottingham yo-yoed between the two clubs. He went from Milwaukee to Seattle on waivers, was reacquired by the Brew Crew for cash a week and a half later, then landed back in Seattle on waivers a couple weeks thereafter. The series of transactions even partially inspired a change in the newest collective bargaining agreement; now, teams move to the back of the waiver priority on a player if they’ve already claimed him once before in that season.
Nottingham again found himself on the wire in early June 2021 after being designated for assignment by the Mariners. He cleared that time around and hasn’t played in the majors since then. He spent the remainder of that season in Triple-A and inked a minor league deal with the Orioles last winter. Nottingham spent the entire 2022 season with the O’s top affiliate in Norfolk, where he hit .229/.333/.425 through 354 plate appearances. He connected on 15 home runs while walking at a robust 10.5% clip but struck out in an elevated 27.7% of his trips.
The 27-year-old has shown a similar profile throughout his entire career. He’s a .250/.330/.412 hitter in parts of nine minor league seasons, showing decent power and patience but striking out at a 25.6% clip. Punchouts have also been a problem in his limited MLB looks, as he’s gone down on strikes in 38.5% of his 130 big league plate appearances. He’s a .184/.277/.421 hitter at the highest level.
Seattle has the duo of Cal Raleigh and Tom Murphy to serve as their catchers this year. Nottingham adds some upper level depth who won’t require an immediate 40-man roster spot, presumably heading to Triple-A Tacoma to open the season.