Seattle Mariners – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-05-25T04:17:12Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Gonzales Discusses Rehab, Curveball, Analytics]]> 2018-05-25T03:42:59Z 2018-05-25T03:42:03Z
  • Mariners southpaw Marco Gonzales chatted with Corey Brock of The Athletic in an interesting Q&A about his return from Tommy John surgery, the process of reestablishing trust in his curveball and his use of data and analytics. The 26-year-old said he feels like this is “the best curveball I’ve had in my career,” explaining that because he’s largely recovered from TJ surgery, his grip strength is improved and he can throw from his natural arm slot. Gonzales, though, added that he doesn’t feel that he (or any other pitcher) can ever say he’s 100 percent recovered from such a major surgery. “It’s a constant job,” Gonzales said of managing his recovery. “And it’s something I take a lot of pride in, getting my arm ready each day. It’s 45 minutes worth of stuff each day to make sure I’m feeling good. Even on days when I don’t need to do it, I still do it because it helps me feel secure. I think that’s what the rehab process did: give me some pride and some conviction in how I go about my routine.” Gonzales has turned in a 4.05 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 0.84 HR/9 and a 46 percent ground-ball rate in 53 1/3 innings this season, with FIP (3.22) and xFIP (3.20) looking even more favorably upon his work.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Agree To New 25-Year Lease To Remain At Safeco Field]]> 2018-05-24T00:33:46Z 2018-05-24T00:17:31Z The Mariners announced Wednesday night that the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District Board approved the terms of a new 25-year lease for the team to remain at Safeco Field. There are also a pair of three-year options on the lease that could extend the Mariners’ stay in the park all the way through 2049.

    “We want this ballpark to be our home for the next 100 years,” said Mariners chairman John Stanton in a statement. “Safeco Field should be to Seattle and to the Mariners what Wrigley Field is to Chicago and the Cubs and Fenway Park is to Boston and the Red Sox. We sincerely appreciate our partnership with the PFD, who share our vision to ensure that our fans will continue to enjoy Major League Baseball in a state-of-the-art facility for decades to come.”

    Full specifics of the deal are available in the team’s announcement above, but the Mariners will be contributing roughly $650MM to the PFD over the life of the lease, which will go toward rent, maintenance, improvements and a neighborhood improvement fund, among other expenditures.

    The agreement for the Mariners comes at a time when many organizations are gravitating toward new (and often unnecessary) playing facilities. The Braves recently moved into SunTrust Park after just 20 seasons at Turner Field, while the Rangers are prepping to move into a new facility in 2020 despite the fact that Globe Life Park (formerly Ameriquest Field and the Ballpark in Arlington) opened in 1994. The D-backs, too, are in the nascent stages of moving into a new stadium after Maricopa County recently agreed to let the team begin searching for locations for a new facility.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Select Contract Of John Andreoli]]> 2018-05-23T21:59:39Z 2018-05-23T21:58:04Z The Mariners announced that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder John Andreoli from Triple-A Tacoma and optioned right-hander Dan Altavilla to Tacoma in his place. Seattle had an open spot on the 40-man roster, so a corresponding move in that regard wasn’t required.

    Andreoli, 28 in early June, will be making his first appearance in the Majors after spending seven seasons in the Cubs’ minor league ranks. He inked a minor league pact with Seattle back in December and has gotten off to a strong .294/.353/.452 start in Triple-A, where he hit three homers, seven doubles and two triples while also going 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts.

    While Andreoli never ranked as one of the Cubs’ very best prospects, he has a history of strong performances and solid on-base tendencies in the minors, as evidenced by a career .261/.364/.414 slash in parts of four Triple-A seasons. Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen gave him an honorable mention on last year’s ranking of the Cubs’ prospects, calling him a plus runner “with an awkward swing but a terrific feel for the strike zone.” Indeed, Andreoli has walked in 13.2 percent of his career plate appearances in Triple-A.

    [Related: Updated Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    The addition of Andreoli will give the Mariners some needed depth in the outfield as the team’s roster is left reeling in the wake of last week’s suspension for Robinson Cano and this week’s announcement that Dee Gordon will miss at least 10 days due to a fractured toe. With Gordon and Cano out of the lineup, the Mariners will lean on Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia and Mitch Haniger in the outfield, with Gordon Beckham and Andrew Romine getting action at second base. Andreoli can handle all three outfield spots, which should give manager Scott Servais a bit of flexibility when writing out the lineup card.

    As for Altavilla, he’ll look to get back on track in Tacoma after an uneven start to the season. The hard-throwing 25-year-old is currently sporting a solid 3.24 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings of work, but he’s also issued a dozen walks and thrown four wild pitches.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Place Dee Gordon On 10-Day DL With Fractured Toe]]> 2018-05-23T00:18:01Z 2018-05-23T00:17:25Z 7:17PM: Manager Scott Servais doesn’t believe Gordon will be out of action for too long, he told the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish and other media.  “With his feet being such a big part of his game, we thought it was the best thing to do to let it calm down. It’s not going to completely heal in nine or 10 days, but certainly calm down enough to hopefully we can get him back sooner than later,” Servais said.

    12:51PM: The Mariners announced today that outfielder/infielder Dee Gordon has been placed on the 10-day DL with a fractured big toe. He’ll be replaced on the active roster for the time being by first baseman Dan Vogelbach.

    Just how long Gordon will be out is not yet known. The club says that he suffered the injury on May 9th and then reinjured it on Sunday.

    This is the latest bit of unwelcome news for a Seattle organization that had just been forced into some juggling to account for an injury to and subsequent suspension of Robinson Cano. The loss of Cano had pushed the team to move Gordon back to second base.

    Without Cano and Gordon, it seems the Mariners will need to roll with a combination of Gordon Beckham and Andrew Romine at second. That’s not exactly a compelling duo, though they will need to hold down the fort for a while. MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently looked at the possible options outside the organization at the second-base position, but any significant trades likely won’t come together in the near future.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Ryan Cook Likely To See Opportunities In Setup Role]]> 2018-05-21T16:07:59Z 2018-05-21T16:07:59Z
  • Corey Brock of The Athletic takes a look at Ryan Cook’s long road back to the Majors with the Mariners after missing two full seasons due to injury (subscription link). Once a dominant reliever in Oakland, Cook discusses a tumultuous career to date that has seen some notable highs (striking out Bryce Harper and David Wright in the 2012 All-Star Game) and some difficult lows. “The most humbling part was wondering if I could ever do it again,” said Cook, who has undergone both Tommy John surgery and ulnar nerve transposition surgery in recent years. “…Those days you come back from rehab and can’t even move your arm or feel your fingers and literally just looking at yourself in the mirror and wondering if it might be over.” Cook, it seems, certainly can do it again. He posted a 2.03 ERA with a 17-to-3 K/BB ratio in 13 1/3 innings of Triple-A ball this year and has already tossed two shutout innings since being selected to the MLB roster in Seattle. Manager Scott Servais, who has seen setup men Juan Nicasio and Nick Vincent struggle recently, said Cook will receive “plenty of opportunities” to re-establish himself as a high-quality ’pen option.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[M's Had Offseason Interest In Lorenzo Cain]]> 2018-05-21T01:25:11Z 2018-05-21T01:25:11Z
  • Speaking of winter what-ifs, Heyman adds the Mariners, Braves, and Dodgers to the list of teams that had interest in signing Lorenzo Cain before the center fielder inked a deal with the Brewers.  Seattle had a clear need for center field help prior to the Dee Gordon trade, though the other two wouldn’t seem to be obvious fits on paper for Cain’s services.  The Braves already have Ender Inciarte in center, plus they needed to trade Matt Kemp to make room for Ronald Acuna’s eventual promotion; potentially, Cain could’ve been a fit if Atlanta had managed to trade Nick Markakis (and then convince Cain to shift to right field).  For the Dodgers, signing Cain would have run counter to their plan of getting under the luxury tax threshold, plus L.A. would’ve had to give up two draft picks and $1MM in international bonus pool funds as compensation for signing Cain.  It’s also possible, of course, that both the Braves and Dodgers merely had a due diligence-type of interest in Cain given that his free agent stint stretched into late January.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Latest On Mariners’ Plans At Second Base]]> 2018-05-19T15:03:08Z 2018-05-19T15:03:08Z In his latest piece for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal suggests that the suspension of second baseman Robinson Cano has implications that could ripple beyond the 2018 season. Dee Gordon is expected to move from center field to second base in the interim, but could remain there even when Cano comes back, according to Rosenthal. At 35, Cano would soon be tabbed for at least part-time DH duties under normal circumstances. However, one thing that’s reportedly been staving off that possibility thus far is Cano’s goal to break Jeff Kent’s all-time record of 377 homers by a second baseman (he’s 73 bombs shy), while yet another factor is the presence of Nelson Cruz in the team’s full-time designated hitter role.

    Both of those factors may not be of such significant impact next season, Rosenthal writes. Cruz has the potential to depart as a free agent after 2018, and the Mariners may not be so inclined to give Cano room in dictating his position following his violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Program. Cano, as readers probably know by now, received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a diuretic used to mask another performance-enhancing drug. That suspension will also prevent him from taking part in the postseason, which is a significant blow to a contending Mariners club.

    Ideally, then, the Mariners’ objective should be to find a full-time center fielder or left fielder they can retain for multiple seasons, says Rosenthal. Such a player would effectively lock Gordon into second base for the foreseeable future, while pushing the aging Cano into a first base/designated hitter role in the latter years of his contract. Rosenthal lists Adam Duvall as a possible target for Seattle, but adds the disclaimer that the club has one of the worst farm systems in baseball and might have a difficult time acquiring the young left-fielder from Cincinnati.

    On the other hand, as Bob Dutton of points out, it might be in the Mariners’ interests as a contender to keep Gordon in center field for the time being, unless the team can find a way to keep him at second even after Cano returns this season; a scenario that seems highly implausible with the presence of Cruz and Ryon Healy on the roster. Still, it’s hard to tell what the Mariners will do after half a season’s worth of games. From my perspective, it’s worth noting that the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline will have already come and gone by the time Cano is eligible to take the field again.

    Following a series of disclaimers (including that guessing GM Jerry Dipoto’s potential targets is a “fool’s game”), Dutton lists some players who might be available at this year’s deadline, according to his sources. One obvious name is Adam Jones, who’s in the final year of his contract with an Orioles club that’s off to a disastrous 14-30 start. Other center fielders mentioned in Dutton’s blog entry include Billy Hamilton, Jon Jay and Denard Span, though on the surface none of those additions would seem worthy of forcing Cano into a role with reduced playing time.

    More interesting is the pair of second baseman mentioned by Dutton. Scooter Gennett looks primed to repeat the surprise power numbers he put up with Cincinnati last season, and is controllable through 2019. Whit Merrifield, who can also play in the outfield, would be a longer-term piece and undoubtedly more difficult to acquire. In fact, I’d add that either target seems far fetched considering the Mariners’ lack of impact talent in the minor leagues.

    Whatever the situation, it will certainly be interesting to see how Cano and the Mariners are impacted in 2018 and beyond. The club’s interest in contending this year and questions surrounding the roles of Gordon and Cano moving forward create an interesting juxtaposition, and it will be fascinating to watch Dipoto and co. attempt to solve the puzzle.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers Claim Erik Goeddel From Mariners, Sign Tyler Goeddel]]> 2018-05-18T19:13:26Z 2018-05-18T18:16:22Z The Dodgers have claimed right-handed reliever Erik Goeddel off waivers from the Mariners, reports J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter). He was designated for assignment earlier this week. Because he’s out of minor league options, he’ll be added to the MLB bullpen. It’s also worth noting that the Dodgers signed Goeddel’s younger brother, Tyler Goeddel, to a minor league contract yesterday, as reflected on the league’s transactions page.

    The elder Goeddel, 29, had previously spent his career with the Mets organization before landing in Seattle this offseason. The righty was off to a nice start in the Seattle ’pen, tossing 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts, though he also issued five walks and threw a pair of wild pitches. His average fastball velocity, too, was down about a half mile per hour from 2017 and a mile per hour from its peak levels.

    Erik entered the 2018 season with a lifetime 3.96 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 104 2/3 MLB innings, though the majority of his best work came in 2014-15. Over the past two seasons, he struggled to a 4.87 ERA at the MLB level, maintaining his penchant for missing bats but also demonstrating shaky control and a proclivity for surrendering home runs. Walks have been an ongoing issue for him throughout his minor league tenure (4.2 BB/9 in 131 Triple-A innings), but home runs haven’t plagued him in the minors.

    As for the younger of the two brothers, the 25-year-old Tyler was the 41st pick in the 2011 MLB Draft and the No. 1 pick in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft. The outfielder struggled with the Phillies in his lone big league season, though, hitting just .192/.258/.291 in 234 trips to the plate. He’s a career .263/.344/.358 hitter in 310 Triple-A plate appearances and had been with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate to open the year before being released.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Select Contract Of Ryan Cook]]> 2018-05-17T21:33:34Z 2018-05-17T21:33:34Z The Mariners announced Thursday that they’ve selected the contract of right-handed reliever Ryan Cook from Triple-A Tacoma. Fellow righty Christian Bergman, who pitched quite well in a spot start for Seattle yesterday, was optioned back to Triple-A to clear space on the roster for Cook’s promotion. The Mariners now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.

    This will mark the first appearance in the Majors for Cook, a former All-Star, since the 2015 season. His career has been slowed considerably by injuries in recent years, as a lat strain wiped out his 2016 season, and he underwent Tommy John surgery that October, shelving him for the entirety of the 2017 season as well.

    Now 30 years old, Cook is off to an outstanding start in Tacoma, where he’s yielded just three runs on 10 hits and three walks with 17 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings of work. Cook hasn’t allowed a homer so far this season, and he’s inducing grounders at a healthy 53.1 percent clip.

    That sort of output was par for the course for Cook early on in his career. From 2011-14 with the A’s, he racked up 190 2/3 innings of 2.60 ERA ball, averaging 9.3 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 with average or better ground-ball rates along the way. If he’s fully healthy, he’ll be a welcome addition to the back of a Seattle bullpen that has struggled of late. Juan Nicasio, in particular, has fallen into a dreadful slump after pitching well in April.

    If Cook is able to return to form, the Mariners will control him not only for the 2018 season but also through the 2019 campaign. He entered the year with four-plus years of Major League service time, so he’ll be arbitration-eligible once more this offseason.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Second Base Options For The Mariners]]> 2018-05-17T17:35:14Z 2018-05-17T17:35:14Z With Tuesday’s bombshell news that Robinson Cano will be suspended for the next 80 games, the Mariners found themselves with an immediate hole at second base. With Cano under contract through 2023, and the left side of the infield spoken for by long-term assets, it’s mostly a fill-in situation.

    [RELATED: Current Mariners Depth Chart]

    Gordon Beckham and Andrew Romine are plugging the gap for now, but that’s likely not a sufficient pairing for a team with sights on contention. The organization has already asked Dee Gordon to begin taking grounders once again in preparation for a potential switch back to the infield, though that move is largely about creating flexibility for GM Jerry Dipoto and his staff to explore trades both in the infield and in the outfield. If the club finds a second baseman to its liking, then it seems Gordon will remain in center field, where they envisioned him playing for the next three seasons when acquiring him from the Marlins this offseason.

    Obviously, there are myriad options for Dipoto & Co. to explore, as the $10.26MM they’ll save on Cano’s suspension provides the Mariners with some financial firepower to add to the roster as well. One plus for the Mariners is that with Mitch Haniger and Guillermo Heredia both capable of playing center field, they don’t necessarily need to focus solely on center fielders in exploring the outfield market. Certainly, they could look to add a true center fielder, but playing Haniger there for the next couple of months and instead acquiring a corner outfielder is a perfectly viable option.

    Given that context, there are very few limits on the types of players the Mariners could look to acquire in the outfield. In light of the recent track record of this front office, the club would surely weigh potential targets’ abilities to provide value both on defense and at the plate. But there are quite a lot of possibilities.

    This post, then, will focus on the relatively narrower list of conceivable targets at second base. If the preference is to keep Gordon on the grass, then surely second base will be the place the Seattle organization looks first. Here are some hypothetical possibilities:

    • Brandon Phillips, Free Agent: The free agent market is hardly teeming with options this time of season, though there’s one particularly notable free agent that has long been a quality regular at second base. Phillips remains unsigned and told’s Jon Morosi last month that he hopes to continue his career and is open to playing in a utility role if need be. Certainly, the Mariners could find him everyday at-bats at second base for the next few months if they believe he’d be a good fit in the clubhouse and feel his bat can handle big league pitching at age 37 and with a considerable layoff. Phillips slashed .285/.319/.416 in 604 MLB plate appearances last season and could almost certainly be had on a relatively minimal salary. Phillips would need some time to get up to speed in extended Spring Training and/or in the minor leagues, but the Mariners obviously have time to get him the reps he needs, as Cano won’t be back until mid-August.
    • Scooter Gennett, Reds: Controlled only through the 2019 season before reaching free agency and currently on one of the NL’s worst teams, Gennett stands out as a clear trade piece this summer. The Reds can obviously afford to move him sooner than that, though, with Alex Blandino and Rosell Herrera capable of stepping in at second base and keeping the seat warm for top prospect Nick Senzel. Gennett is earning $5.7MM in 2018 and has broken out with the Reds since coming over as a largely unheralded waiver claim, hitting .301/.346/.525. He’s also performing well against lefties so far this year, albeit in only a forty-plate appearance sample.
    • Cory Spangenberg / Carlos Asuaje / Jose Pirela, Padres: The Friars have three MLB-ready pieces at second base, and it’s possible that none of the bunch is even their second baseman of the future. That distinction may go to prospect Luis Urias, who is not terribly far from MLB readiness himself (though Urias is almost certainly unavailable in trade). Spangenberg has the most MLB experience and is controlled through 2020, while Pirela is controlled through 2022 and Asuaje is controllable through 2023. They’ve all had some degree of MLB success but struggled in 2018, and each has experience playing multiple positions and could be a useful utility piece once Cano is back and Gordon returns to the outfield on a full-time basis. The Padres aren’t going anywhere in the NL West this season and have a fairly notable logjam on their hands here, making them a natural fit as a trade partner, though the recent decision to move on from Chase Headley does help to reduce the roster pressures.
    • Logan Forsythe, Dodgers: The 31-year-old Forsythe is an undoubtedly talented player, but he’s been a disappointment in a season-plus with the Dodgers. The Mariners could absorb the remainder of his $9MM salary for the 2018 season — about $6.7MM — and perhaps part with little in the way of minor league talent. That’d help further separate the Dodgers from the luxury tax barrier, and L.A. could hand the second base reins over to Chase Utley and several other infield options.
    • Neil Walker / Brandon Drury, Yankees: As a free agent who signed just this past offseason, Walker would have to consent to being traded before June 15. Drury, meanwhile, was recently optioned to Triple-A just months after being acquired, as the Yankees currently plan to go with Miguel Andujar at third and Gleyber Torres at second base. Both are valuable and affordable depth pieces for the Yankees, but there’s a definite logjam in New York’s infield. It’d be surprising to see them move on from either Walker or Drury this quickly, and it’s worth pointing out that Andujar’s low walk rate could use some refinement (thus creating the possibility for an eventual demotion that’d bring Drury back to the Bronx), but I’d imagine that Dipoto will still be reaching out to counterpart Brian Cashman to test the waters.
    • Yolmer Sanchez, White Sox: A solid bat that can be trusted at multiple infield positions, Sanchez is, on one hand, the type of player you’d expect the rebuilding White Sox to want to hold onto. However, Matt Davidson’s huge showing at the plate thus far could push him into regular third base duties, and Yoan Moncada is the second baseman of the future on Chicago’s south side. There’s plenty of sense to hanging onto Sanchez and mixing him in for regular at-bats while giving Moncada and Davidson some breathers at DH, but the ChiSox could also view this as another opportunity to add some talent. While the Mariners are thin in prospects, the top of their system isn’t exactly devoid of intriguing prospects.
    • Devon Travis, Blue Jays: A change-of-scenery candidate, Travis was sent to the minors recently, and the Jays are likely plenty comfortable giving Yangervis Solarte regular work at second base for the foreseeable future. Travis has persistently battled knee injuries and struggled to stay on the field, but when healthy he’s hit at a .282/.322/.447 clip for Toronto. He’s controllable for two years beyond the current campaign and is earning a modest $1.45MM after missing much of last season due to injury. He’s never played anywhere other than second base as a professional, though, so the Mariners would need to be convinced that he can handle other positions once Cano returns.
    • Starlin Castro, Marlins: It’s hard to imagine that the Marlins won’t be open to trading Castro this summer, but he’s not an ideal fit with the Mariners, either. Castro is earning a total of $22MM between 2018 and 2019, and once Cano returns, they won’t have a spot for him to receive any type of consistent at-bats. Perhaps they could simply acquire him and then trade him again in the offseason, but while Castro is a perfectly logical, if not likely trade candidate this summer, he may not represent a great on-paper fit for Seattle.

    There are also numerous depth-style acquisitions that could be had who’ve already been designated for assignment since Spring Training began. For those reasons, of course, such players likely won’t come with the promise of significant output. Gift Ngoepe was designated by the Jays and cleared waivers last week, while players such as Eliezer Alvarez (Rangers) and Breyvic Valera (Dodgers) were acquired on the cheap after being designated for assignment by their former organizations. Tyler Saladino has gone from the White Sox to the Brewers in exchange for cash and could be viewed as a depth add while Dipoto and his staff look for more impactful upgrades. Jace Peterson finds himself in a similar situation with the Orioles, as does Philip Gosselin, who is in Triple-A with the Braves after being claimed off waivers from the Reds. If the Mariners are not satisfied with Beckham and want to focus first on shoring things up at second, perhaps they’ll consider these and other names.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Designate Erik Goeddel, Select Christian Bergman]]> 2018-05-16T18:45:43Z 2018-05-16T18:45:43Z The Mariners have designated righty Erik Goeddel, per a club announcement. That’ll create roster space for the M’s to select the contract of fellow right-hander Christian Bergman.

    It’s a tough result for Goeddel, 29, who had allowed just one earned run on four hits in his 5 1/3 MLB innings this year while recording seven strikeouts and a pair of walks. He threw nine scoreless frames at Triple-A to open the year after joining the M’s late in camp.

    As for the 30-year-old Bergman, he’ll look to carry over his successes thus far at Triple-A into the majors. He has generally struggled in prior attempts at the bigs, but is carrying a healthy 3.40 ERA with a 41:12 K/BB ratio through 45 frames on at Tacoma.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners To Select Contract Of Christian Bergman]]> 2018-05-16T03:30:34Z 2018-05-16T03:30:34Z The Mariners will select the contract of righty Christian Bergman to make tomorrow’s start, reports Shannon Drayer of (via Twitter). Seattle has a pair of open spots on the 40-man roster, so they’ll only need to make a corresponding 25-man move to activate the 30-year-old for tomorrow’s 2018 debut.

    Bergman is in his second season with the Mariners organization, having re-signed a minor league deal with Seattle this past offseason. He posted an even 5.00 ERA in 54 innings with the Mariners in 2014, averaging 5.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 2.0 HR/9 with a 37.7 percent ground-ball rate in 13 appearances (eight starts). He’ll make his 2018 debut in a spot start following this weekend’s doubleheader and yesterday’s makeup game against the Twins in Minneapolis.

    [Related: Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    While Bergman’s numbers last season were rather pedestrian, he’s off to a fine start in 2018, having notched a 3.40 ERA with a 41-to-12 K/BB ratio (8.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9) in 45 innings for the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma. He’s been the team’s most effective starter in Triple-A by a wide margin, which, while not exactly a ringing endorsement for Seattle’s upper-level depth, makes clear why he’s getting the first look among the team’s current options in Tacoma. He does have a minor league option remaining as well, meaning the M’s can shuttle him back to Tacoma following the spot start without needing to expose him to waivers.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dee Gordon To See Time At Second Base For Mariners]]> 2018-05-15T23:13:32Z 2018-05-15T23:10:18Z The Mariners will give Dee Gordon some time at his natural position of second base in the wake of Robinson Cano’s shocking 80-game suspension, GM Jerry Dipoto told Seattle reporters today (Twitter links via Corey Brock of The Athletic). The organization has already approached Gordon about the possibility, and Brock notes that Gordon is “all in” and will play wherever the team asks of him. The transition won’t happen right away, however, as Gordon hasn’t been taking ground-balls since being acquired by the Mariners. They’ll instead give him some time to readjust to the position and take part in fielding drills outside of a game setting.

    It’s not yet certain that Gordon will simply take over as the club’s everyday second baseman, though that possibility certainly exists. Rather, Gordon’s flexibility and willingness to move back to the infield on a full-time basis, if needed, will allow Dipoto and his staff the luxury of exploring the addition of both infielders and outfielders as they look to bolster the roster in Cano’s absence. Asked by TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune if the Mariners could reallocate some of the funds they’ll save on Cano’s suspension to a roster upgrade, Dipoto responded in the affirmative (Twitter link). By my calculation, Cano’s suspension will cost him about $10.26MM of his $24MM salary for the 2018 campaign.

    The ever-active Dipoto is never one to shy away from a trade, so it’s not especially surprising that Dipoto plans to search outside the organization for potential acquisitions in both the infield and the outfield (Twitter link via Greg Johns of The Mariners are currently sitting 1.5 games out of the division lead in the AL West and an identical 1.5 games back from a Wild Card berth thanks to a strong 23-17 start to the season. Clearly, they’re at something of a disadvantage on the trade market given their thin farm system and the lack of teams selling off high-quality MLB assets this time of season, though the fact that they can apply some unexpected financial resources toward a potential trade could work to their advantage.

    Regarding Cano, it’s also worth noting that Mark Feinsand of reports that the infielder will indeed undergo surgery to repair his fractured hand tomorrow (Twitter links). Of course, given his suspension, the fact that he’s undergoing surgery won’t prolong his absence from the roster. He’ll serve his suspension while on the disabled list, though he won’t be paid for any of the time he misses, of course, and remains ineligible for postseason play should the Mariners qualify.

    [Related: Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    For the time being, when Gordon does eventually move back onto the infield dirt, the Mariners can push Guillermo Heredia into an outfield role alongside both Mitch Haniger and Ben Gamel. Utilitymen Taylor Motter (currently in Triple-A) and Andrew Romine (on the 25-man roster) can both see time in both the middle infield and the outfield corners, giving manager Scott Servais some options to mix and match while the front office scours the trade market.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Robinson Cano Suspended For 80 Games]]> 2018-05-15T19:36:00Z 2018-05-15T18:40:02Z Mariners star Robinson Cano has received an eighty-game suspension for testing positive for substances banned by the MLB-MLBPA Joint Drug Agreement, as first reported by Hector Gomez of Deportivo Z 101 (via Twitter) and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). Since the ban begins immediately, Cano will be eligible to return in the middle of August.

    Cano was suspended for a diuretic known as furosemide that is prohibited by the JDA among other diuretics and masking agents, as Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted and the league has since announced. Cano has issued a statement through the MLBPA (Twitter link) in which he says the “substance was given to [him] by a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic to treat a medical ailment.” And a source claims to’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter) that Cano was receiving treatment for high blood pressure, with PED tests before and after the test in question coming back clean.

    That claim seems to offer a potential explanation at first glance, but the full context must also be considered here. Players are advised clearly not to take substances that have not been cleared in advance, a lesson drilled in through prior suspensions in the faces of claims of innocence.

    More importantly, as’s T.J. Quinn rightly points out on Twitter, the JDA does not treat diuretics and masking agents in the same manner it does banned performance enhancing drugs themselves. Unlike in the case of tests that reveal PEDs, intent is required to support the application of the standard 80-game ban for first-time offenders in the cases of diuretics or masking agents. Here’s the language from the JDA, Section 3(F):

    “The presence of a Diuretic or Masking Agent in a Player’s urine specimen shall result in the Player being re-tested. The presence of a Diuretic or Masking Agent in a Player’s urine specimen shall be treated as a positive test result if the [Independent Program Administrator] determines that the Player intended to avoid detection of his use of another Prohibited Substance.”

    Cano, 35, had been discussing the matter with the league since the test results came in over the winter, per Heyman (via Twitter). It seems fair to presume that the league felt there was sufficient evidence to support a finding that Cano had avoided detection of a PED. Cano had just hit the DL with a fractured right hand that was likely to keep him out for some time. By dropping his right to an appeal now, he can rehab that injury while serving out the suspension, though’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that the process was already underway.

    The implications, to be sure, are many. Cano will not be eligible to draw his usual salary, meaning he’ll forfeit about $10MM and save the team the same amount. And he’ll surely lose some sponsorship opportunities, costing him further money. The veteran second baseman also will not be eligible to participate in the postseason if the Mariners make it in.

    More broadly, a respected player on a potential Hall-of-Fame trajectory has now tainted his legacy. The former Yankees star has produced both before and after bolting to the Mariners via free agency before the 2014 season. He’s a lifetime .304/.354/.493 hitter with 305 home runs in over 2,000 games of MLB action. With defense and baserunning factored, in Cano has been valued at 67.5 rWAR and 54.5 fWAR over his career.

    Cano remains under contract for five more seasons beyond the present one. He’s slated to earn $24MM per season from 2019 through 2023. While that means the M’s won’t be looking for a long-term replacement, they will need to replace him in the near-term. For the immediate time being, Gordon Beckham is up to take a roster spot. But perhaps it’s still conceivable the M’s could move Dee Gordon back to the infield while filling in for him in center with any number of other players.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Select Contract Of Gordon Beckham, Place Robinson Cano On DL]]> 2018-05-14T20:05:35Z 2018-05-14T17:59:38Z The Mariners announced that they’ve placed second baseman Robinson Cano on the 10-day disabled list due to a fractured fifth metacarpal in his right hand and selected the contract of infielder Gordon Beckham from Triple-A Tacoma.

    There’s still no word on precisely how long the Mariners expect Cano to miss, as he’s slated to meet with a hand specialist in Philadelphia tomorrow. Once that evaluation takes place, the Mariners will likely have another update, though it seems reasonable to expect that Cano will miss at least several weeks as his throwing hand mends after he was hit by a pitch in yesterday’s game against the Tigers.

    [Related: Updated Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    The loss of Cano, obviously, is a significant blow for a Mariners club that is right in the thick of both the AL West race (2.5 games behind the Astros) and the American League Wild Card picture (1.5 games back of a Wild Card spot). While Cano’s performance in Seattle hasn’t drawn the national fanfare that it did during his New York days, he’s been every bit as productive a player as he was with the Yankees. In nine seasons with the Yanks, Cano hit .309/.355/.504 (126 OPS+), and he’s roughly matched that with a .294/.353/.471 slash (128 OPS+) in a considerably more pitcher-friendly setting at Safeco Field.

    Certainly, the veteran Beckham won’t be expected to replicate that level of production or anything close to it. But he’s off to a .300/.412/.500 start to the season through 114 plate appearances with Triple-A Tacoma and will be asked to assume some of the playing time for Cano along with utilitymen Andrew Romine and Taylor Motter. Manager Scott Servais told reporters yesterday that it wasn’t likely that Dee Gordon would be moved out of center field back to second base (Twitter link via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times).

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Likelier To Seek Bullpen Help Than Rotation Upgrades]]> 2018-05-14T17:50:22Z 2018-05-14T17:49:31Z
  • While the loss of Robinson Cano due to a broken hand is a significant blow, the bullpen may be the Mariners’ primary focus when searching for upgrades, writes Bob Dutton for KLAY 1180 AM. Cano figures to be back this summer, and while the rotation has hardly been effective, it’s more difficult to add high-end starting pitching upgrades around the deadline than it is to add relief arms, Dutton notes. Seattle would be hard-pressed to outbid other teams for a top-of-the-rotation arm, and club officials have acknowledged to Dutton that targeting relief help is a likelier course of action. Juan Nicasio has completely melted down over his past couple appearances after a dominant start to the season, while Nick Vincent hasn’t been as effective as he has in recent seasons, either.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners Aren't Looking For External Second Base Help]]> 2018-05-14T01:07:27Z 2018-05-14T01:07:00Z The Mariners “indicated” that they wouldn’t be looking for an external candidate to replace Robinson Cano at second base, the Tacoma News Tribune’s TJ Cotterill writes.  This would leave Seattle with internal options like Andrew Romine, Taylor Motter, and Gordon Beckham at the keystone, since center fielder Dee Gordon doesn’t appear to be under consideration for a move back to his former position.  In my view, the Mariners could re-assess their plans once they have a clearer idea of how much time Cano will miss, as we’re still just hours removed from the star second baseman suffering a fracture in his hand after being hit by a pitch in today’s game.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Robinson Cano Suffers Fractured Right Hand]]> 2018-05-13T20:45:53Z 2018-05-13T20:45:30Z 3:45pm: Cano told Greg Johns of and other reporters that he’ll head to Philadelphia to see a hand specialist on Tuesday. Meanwhile, manager Scott Servais suggested that Gordon won’t be taking over for Cano at second, per Divish.

    3:01pm: Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano has suffered a a fractured fifth metacarpal in his right hand, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. The injury occurred Sunday when Cano took a pitch off the hand from Tigers starter Blaine Hardy, forcing him to exit the game in third inning.

    It’s unclear how much time Cano will miss, though it’s worth noting that Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison and Giants ace Madison Bumgarner have suffered similar injuries in recent weeks. Harrison’s in the middle of at least a six-week recovery, while Bumgarner will end up missing around two months. It stands to reason Cano is likely in line for a similar absence, which is an awful development for a 22-17 Seattle team that’s just a game out of a wild-card spot as the season nears the quarter pole.

    The 35-year-old Cano has been one of the driving forces behind the Mariners’ success this season, having slashed .287/.385/.441 with four home runs in 169 plate appearances. The former Yankee was clearly on his way to his fifth straight above-average campaign with the Mariners, who signed him to a 10-year, $240MM contract entering the 2014 season. Now, the durable Cano is likely to end up playing his fewest games in a season since he amassed 122 appearances as a second-year man in 2006. Entering 2018, he had appeared in at least 150 games in 11 straight seasons.

    The Mariners replaced Cano on Sunday with utilityman Andrew Romine, but he likely doesn’t have the offensive skills to serve as a regular. The same goes for Taylor Motter, a 40-man option who’s currently in Triple-A, and fellow minor leaguer Gordon Beckham (he’s not on Seattle’s 40-man). The Mariners have a logical replacement for Cano in the 30-year-old Dee Gordon, who was a more-than-capable second baseman with the Marlins prior to this season. Seattle acquired Gordon in an offseason trade, and thanks to Cano’s presence, the club immediately shifted the speedster to center field. Gordon hasn’t drawn great reviews in the grass, though, with negative marks from Defensive Runs Saved (minus-8), Ultimate Zone Rating (minus-2.7) and Statcast’s Outs Above Average metric (minus-2).

    While it’s unknown whether the Mariners would consider moving Gordon back to the keystone, it’s clear there aren’t many available choices on the open market. Veteran Brandon Phillips looks like the best of the free-agent bunch. Interest in Phillips has been scant, but he wants to play, and this injury could perhaps open the door for his return to the majors. The Mariners may be hard pressed to find someone who’s clearly superior to the 36-year-old Phillips on the trade front – general manager Jerry Dipoto’s preferred route. Not only are deals hard to come by at this point in the season, but the Mariners likely don’t have a strong enough farm system to acquire an impact player.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Robinson Cano Exits With Possible Hand Injury]]> 2018-05-13T18:20:38Z 2018-05-13T18:20:46Z Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano departed in the third inning Sunday after taking a pitch off the right hand from Tigers starter Blaine Hardy, Greg Johns of was among those to report. Seattle’s left to hope this isn’t a serious injury for Cano, who has slashed a robust .287/.381/.441 over the first 168 plate appearances of his age-35 campaign. Thanks in part to Cano’s efforts, the Mariners have jumped out to an encouraging 22-16 start as they attempt to break a league-worst 16-year playoff drought. The club replaced Cano on Sunday with utilityman Andrew Romine.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Undrafted Free Agents, Urshela, Aledmys]]> 2018-05-12T19:29:00Z 2018-05-12T19:29:00Z J.J. Cooper of Baseball America recently answered a question from a Twitter fan about undrafted free agents in MLB. It turns out that there were eight undrafted free agents on MLB rosters at the start of the year, and all eight of them were right-handed pitchers. Unlike football, where there are plenty of UDFA success stories, it’s exceedingly rare for a UDFA to produce significantly at the MLB level. Some outliers include Matt Shoemaker, Miguel Gonzalez, Darren O’Day and Kirby Yates. Of the UDFA’s currently in the majors on opening day, Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez (23 years old) and Rays pitcher Andrew Kittredge (28) are the only players below the age of 30. There are a few more fun facts in Cooper’s piece, making it well worth a full read.

    Other items of note as the Tigers and Mariners prepare for a remarkably cold double-header…

    • The Blue Jays announced earlier today that they’ve activated infielder Gio Urshela and optioned outfielder Dalton Pompey to Triple-A Buffalo. Urshela, 26, was recently acquired for cash (or a player to be named later) after the Indians designated him for assignment earlier this month; he’d been on the DL since the start of the season. While acclaimed as somewhat of a defensive wizard, Urshela carries an anemic bat and has posted a wRC+ of just 57 throughout the course of his major-league career.
    • In other Blue Jays news, shortstop Aledmys Diaz has begun throwing, says Ben Nicholson-Smith of He’s expected to begin hitting later this week. Diaz left last Sunday’s game after spraining his ankle, but it doesn’t appear as though the injury will keep him sidelined for much longer than the ten-day minimum at this point. Diaz was acquired from the Cardinals this offseason in exchange for outfielder J.B. Woodman; the shortstop has hit .216/.273/.431 so far with his new club.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Minor League Lefty Anthony McIver From Twins]]> 2018-05-10T02:04:37Z 2018-05-10T02:04:37Z
  • The Twins traded Double-A lefty Anthony McIver to the Mariners in exchange for cash, as reflected on the transactions log at and at each club’s web site. McIver has been solid in 13 1/3 innings of Double-A ball this year, though he’s barely pitched above Class-A Advanced in his pro career to date despite being 26 years of age. The Twins picked him in the 15th round of the 2015 draft, and he’s opened the 2018 season with a 2.70 ERA, a 15-to-5 K/BB ratio, no homers allowed and a 40 percent ground-ball rate.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets Expect To Trade Matt Harvey]]> 2018-05-08T21:22:27Z 2018-05-08T21:22:35Z May 8: The Mets have been trying to add a catcher in return for Harvey, per Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter link). Puma adds that the Padres are also in the mix for Harvey.

    May 7: The Mets are “confident” they will strike a deal involving righty Matt Harvey, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). At this point, says Rosenthal, there are “four to five teams interested” in taking a chance on the former ace.

    Harvey was formally designated for assignment on May 5th, meaning his situation will be resolved one way or another by Saturday the 12th. If he’s not traded, Harvey would need to go onto waivers; if he were then to pass through unclaimed, he’d hit the open market (whether by release or by rejecting an outright assignment).

    We checked in earlier today on some teams with varying degrees of interest in Harvey. The Giants seem clearly to be involved, though their interest level isn’t clear. (Andy Martino of tweets there’s “very strong” interest, while’s Mark Feinsand reports (via Twitter) that it’s much more tepid, with some significant roadblocks to a swap.) Martino adds the Reds as a possibility, joining the previously reported Mariners in that regard. And Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets that the White Sox are also in the mix. There’s some uncertainty about the status of the Orioles, but they are among the organizations that would make some degree of sense on paper.

    Of course, we’ve also seen plenty of reports of other teams that will not be in on the 29-year-old. It appears the Rangers have decided against pursuing Harvey in a trade scenario despite giving it serious consideration. Otherwise, the RaysTigersRed Sox, and Yankees are said not to be involved.

    If a deal does, in fact, get done, Rosenthal says not to expect the Mets to shave away much salary. With something on the order of $4.5MM still owed to Harvey for the rest of the season, the New York organization anticipates paying the “vast majority” in hopes of securing “something in return” in a deal.

    Reading the tea leaves, then, the Mets aren’t really looking for a MLB asset back that might offset some of the Harvey commitment. It’s possible the team will be able to find another organization willing to give a bit of young talent, but it’ll take deft work for GM Sandy Alderson to achieve significant value.

    Harvey, after all, has managed only a 5.93 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in his 212 1/3 innings since the start of the 2016 season. His velocity has continued to trail off as the arm injuries have mounted. As outstanding as he was before a procedure to address thoracic outlet syndrome, Harvey has struggled badly ever since.

    Clearly, some front offices around the game still think that Harvey can at least deliver some useful innings from the back of a rotation. Just what they’ll give up to find out remains to be seen.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Matt Harvey]]> 2018-05-08T01:20:04Z 2018-05-07T22:42:36Z 5:40pm: While the Rangers have discussed pursuit of Harvey, per’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter), the organization won’t trade for him. Indeed, GM Jon Daniels confirmed as much in an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link). Of course, it still seems possible the organization could be involved if Harvey reaches the open market.

    2:36pm: The Giants have also discussed taking a flyer on Harvey, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. San Francisco learned today that Johnny Cueto will miss the next six to eight weeks, and Madison Bumgarner remains on the disabled list until late May. They’ve been plugging in a struggling Derek Holland in the fifth spot in their rotation, though it’s not clear at all if Harvey would represent an upgrade.

    12:51pm: Following one of the most high-profile DFAs in recent memory, the Mets appear to be generating some interest in former ace Matt Harvey. Andy Martino of SNY reports that that the Rangers and Mariners both have some degree of interest in acquiring the righty.’s Jon Morosi wrote this morning that Texas’ interest is “mild,” while Martino indicates that Rangers assistant pitching coach Dan Warthen is pushing the organization to roll the dice on Harvey. Warthen was his pitching coach with the Mets prior to 2018.

    While Morosi speculates about the possibility of the Orioles and Mets lining up on a deal, Martino hears that the O’s don’t have much in the way of interest. Baltimore did check in on Harvey over the winter, but Martino reports that the Mets circled back to the O’s prior to designating Harvey for assignment and found “little interest” despite the disastrous results of the Baltimore rotation thus far in 2018.

    It’s not a huge surprise to see the Rangers connected to Harvey, given not only Warthen’s presence in the organization but also the team’s general approach to adding arms this offseason. The Rangers shopped for volume this winter, stockpiling veteran arms on low-cost deals (in many instances on minor league contracts) in an effort to bolster their organizational depth. Payroll was a factor in Texas’ approach, so it seems unlikely that they’d take on the full chunk of Harvey’s remaining contract — about $4.43MM — but the Mets will almost certainly be willing to include cash in any deal. The alternative, after all, is to release Harvey and simply pay him the money is owed anyway.

    As for the Mariners, they’ve endured plenty of rotation struggles of their own. James Paxton’s 4.19 ERA leads Seattle starters, and their rotation as a whole has pitched to a 5.30 earned run average. There’s likely been some poor fortune at play — both xFIP and SIERA peg Mariners starters at 4.05 as a group — but the bottom-line results have not been encouraging. Erasmo Ramirez just went back on the disabled list as well, prompting the Mariners to move veteran Wade LeBlanc from a long relief role into the fifth starter’s slot.

    It seems decidedly unlikely that the Mets would receive much in the way of a significant return for Harvey, whose struggles date back to Opening Day 2017. He’s earning $5.6MM this season, is a free agent in November and has undergone both Tommy John and thoracic outlet surgery — both of which (especially the latter) have contributed to his rapid decline.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Ichiro Suzuki Moves To Front Office Role, Will Not Continue Playing In 2018]]> 2018-05-03T23:45:00Z 2018-05-03T18:06:43Z The Mariners announced today that future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki has is moving to a front office role where he’ll serve as a special assistant to the chairman, effective immediately. While the Mariners’ release does not formally declare that Ichiro is retiring, the new role precludes him from returning to the active roster in 2018, per the team. The Mariners have selected the contract of right-handed reliever Erik Goeddel from Triple-A Tacoma to take Ichiro’s spot on the 40-man and 25-man rosters.

    Ichiro Suzuki | Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    “We want to make sure we capture all of the value that Ichiro brings to this team off the field,” Marines general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a press release announcing the news. “This new role is a way to accomplish that. While it will evolve over time, the key is that Ichiro’s presence in our clubhouse and with our players and staff improves our opportunity to win games. That is our number-one priority and Ichiro’s number-one priority.”

    The plan for the current season appears to be that Ichiro will remain with the MLB club, but will not be on the roster. As’s Greg Johns explains things (in a tweet), Ichiro will “continue doing everything he’s doing now (taking BP, mentoring, working with teammates, advising, etc.),” but won’t be utilized in a playing capacity. But that’s not to say the arrangement will continue in that precise form past the current season.

    Dipoto goes on to add that the Mariners hope to retain Ichiro in some capacity into the 2019 season and beyond, noting that the remainder of the current season will “inform the team and Ichiro on his best fit” with the organization moving forward. However, Ichiro’s agent, John Boggs, tells Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that his client is not yet retiring as a player (Twitter link).

    “He is not retiring,” says Boggs. “He’s taking on a different role for 2018, and 2019 has yet to evolve.” Asked by Rosenthal if Ichiro could potentially return to make an appearance next year, when the Mariners and A’s will kick off the 2019 season in Tokyo, Boggs replied: “There is always that possibility. … The future has yet to be determined.”

    Though Ichiro clearly remains open to continuing his playing career, it nonetheless seems possible that this could mark the end of the road for one of the game’s most beloved figures. The 44-year-old debuted with the Mariners back in 2001 and promptly won both Rookie of the Year and MVP honors, kickstarting what will unequivocally go down as one of the greatest careers of this generation or any other. In parts of 18 Major League seasons, Ichiro batted .311/.355/.402 with a whopping 3,089 hits, including 362 doubles, 96 triples and 117 home runs. He went 509-for-626 in career stolen-base attempts (81.3 percent success), scored 1420 runs and 780 RBIs despite roughly 80 percent of his MLB plate appearances coming out of the leadoff spot.

    That, of course, only covers Ichiro’s career in North America. Prior to coming to the United States, Ichiro had already achieved legendary status in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, where he debuted as an 18-year-old and went on to spend nine seasons starring for the Orix Blue Wave. Ichiro batted .353/.421/.522 in 4098 NPB plate appearances, tallying 1278 hits in establishing himself as one of the most gifted players on the planet and a generational talent that is nearly peerless.

    Ichiro’s accolades are virtually limitless. Before even coming to Major League Baseball, he’d racked up seven NPB All-Star appearances, three Pacific League MVP Awards, seven Pacific League batting titles and seven Gold Glove Awards. His achievements in MLB closely mirror that mountain of hardware, as in addition to Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in 2001, Ichiro made 10 MLB All-Star Games, won 10 Gold Gloves, collected three Silver Slugger Awards and won a pair of American League batting titles as well.

    Ultimately, while the 2018 season may not have been as productive as either team or player would’ve hoped, it’s still all too fitting that Ichiro received an opportunity to once again don a Mariners jersey and to receive a hero’s welcome upon being introduced at Safeco Field on Opening Day. And whether Ichiro plays another game in MLB or NPB again — he did have interest from multiple Japanese clubs this offseason — he’s already ensured that Hall of Fame enshrinement awaits him on two different continents.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Place Erasmo Ramirez, Dan Altavilla On DL]]> 2018-05-01T23:12:04Z 2018-05-01T23:12:04Z
  • The Mariners announced today that both Dan Altavilla and Erasmo Ramirez are headed to the 10-day disabled list, with outfielder Guillermo Heredia and right-hander Casey Lawrence coming up from Triple-A Tacoma to take their spots. Altavilla, who has occupied a setup role for the M’s over the past couple of seasons, has inflammation in his right AC joint, whereas Ramirez will return to the DL with a Teres Major strain after only a brief activation period. Seattle didn’t provide timelines for either right-hander’s return, though Ramirez could be facing the longer recovery time of the two. Michael Pineda and Clayton Kershaw have both missed four-plus weeks in the past with similar injuries.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Hisashi Iwakuma Dealing With Shoulder Discomfort]]> 2018-04-29T16:08:19Z 2018-04-29T16:08:30Z Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma felt discomfort in his surgically repaired shoulder during a sim game on Sunday and will be temporarily shut down from throwing, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports on Twitter. The Mariners are hopeful it’s merely tendinitis, but regardless, it’ll delay Iwakuma’s attempt to return to the majors.

    The 37-year-old Iwakuma’s latest problem is particularly alarming after shoulder troubles helped limit him to a career-low 31 innings of 4.35 ERA/6.42 FIP pitching in 2017. He ended up undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery in late September, just over a month before the Mariners declined his $10MM option for 2018. Iwakuma quickly returned to the Mariners on a minor league deal with the hope that he could work his way back to the majors by May. That may now be in serious jeopardy in light of Sunday’s developments.

    Although Iwakuma scuffled through last season, his Mariners tenure has been a resounding success since he emigrated from Japan prior to the 2012 campaign. Iwakuma has recorded a 3.42 ERA/3.87 FIP in 883 2/3 innings, and the Mariners would certainly welcome that type of production from him this season if he makes it back to the mound.

    Seattle, a prospective playoff contender, has gotten off to a quality 15-11 start without Iwakuma, though its rotation hasn’t been great in the aggregate. Entering Sunday, Mariners starters rank last in the majors in ERA (5.73) and fourth from the bottom in fWAR. The M’s top three starters – James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake – each figure to perform better as the year progresses, but the team’s rotation could still feature multiple question marks even if that happens.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jerry Dipoto Discusses Mitch Haniger]]> 2018-04-29T17:01:45Z 2018-04-29T04:12:39Z
  • Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in his latest podcast with Aaron Goldstein that outfielder Mitch Haniger “fills up just about every box” as a player and a person, and he realizes the budding star may be on his way to big money (h/t: TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune). “I probably just gave Matt Sosnick and the great people at Sosnick and Cobbe great fodder,” Dipoto said of Haniger’s agency after lavishing praise on the 27-year-old. “But deservedly so. He’s been a terrific player.” Haniger has indeed been outstanding since joining the Mariners prior to 2017, especially this year (.307/.382/.682 with nine home runs in 102 plate appearances), though he’s not even going to be eligible for arbitration until after next season.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Activate Ryon Healy]]> 2018-04-28T04:15:48Z 2018-04-28T03:57:36Z
  • A number of other players are already coming off of the DL. The Reds have activated righty David Hernandez and the Mariners have brought back first baseman Ryon Healy. Both were relatively significant offseason acquisitions for their organizations. Meanwhile, the Rays activated infielder Matt Duffy and the Rangers did the same with righty Tony Barnette.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Outright Dario Alvarez]]> 2018-04-25T18:15:54Z 2018-04-25T18:15:54Z The Mariners announced that lefty Dario Alvarez has cleared waivers and been sent outright off the 40-man roster. Seattle had claimed Alvarez off waivers from the Cubs late in Spring Training.

    Alvarez was already pitching for the club’s Triple-A affiliate and will remain there, as the club didn’t announce a corresponding move. The outright, then, was likely little more than a matter of timing. With the lefty struggling considerably in Tacoma — he’s issued six walks, hit three batters and committed a balk in 6 2/3 innings — the Mariners look to have seized the moment to create some additional roster flexibility. This week’s acquisition of Roenis Elias may have contributed to the move as well; had they outrighted Alvarez earlier, they’d have been without any lefty relief options on the 40-man roster in the upper minors.

    The 29-year-old Alvarez is a veteran of parts of four big league seasons, during which time he’s pitched to a 5.06 ERA with terrific strikeout numbers (11.4 K/9) against some control issues (4.1 BB/9, 1.88 HR/9) in a total of 48 innings. He’ll continue to serve as a depth piece for the Mariners, should the need arise, though Elias has clearly leapfrogged him on the depth chart.

    Seattle’s 40-man roster is currently at a total of 38 players, so there’s room for the M’s to make some additions — be they internal adds to the 40-man or some claims on the waiver wire.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Gordon, Servais On Stolen Bases]]> 2018-04-25T02:22:25Z 2018-04-25T02:22:25Z
  • Corey Brock of The Athletic chatted (subscription link) with Mariners center fielder Dee Gordon and manager Scott Servais about the dying art of the stolen base in an era of baseball that is increasingly focused on power. Gordon noted that his skill set isn’t as in demand as it once might have been, pointing out the discrepancy between the manner in which steals and speed are valued in the regular season as compared to in the postseason, when teams will often roster a pinch-running specialist. As Brock notes, that’s one of the reasons that the Mariners traded for Gordon — perhaps believing his skill set to be undervalued in today’s baseball landscape. Gordon discusses changes to pitching mechanics that have made it more difficult to steal bases as well as the changing philosophies teams have toward “middle-of-the-road big leaguers” (non-stars). None of that changes Gordon’s game or the manner in which the Mariners plan to use him, though; Servais tells Brock he’d love to see Gordon swipe 80 bases this season — and he’s on pace to clear that mark at present.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Release Josh Smith, Matt Hague; Assign Jayson Werth To Triple-A]]> 2018-04-24T19:54:31Z 2018-04-24T19:54:31Z The Mariners have made a few transactions at their top affiliate, per Tacoma Rainiers announcer Mike Curto (via Twitter). Righty Josh Smith and infielder Matt Hague have both been released from the Triple-A roster, which now features outfielder Jayson Werth and just-acquired lefty Roenis Elias.

    Seattle had inked both Smith and Hague to minors deals, but evidently felt the roster spots were better utilized on other assets. One of those is Werth, a 15-year MLB veteran who will be playing in his age-39 season. He has been working out at extended Spring Training but could now push toward the MLB roster if he shows well at Tacoma.

    Smith, 30, compiled a 14:2 K/BB ratio in his 10 1/3 innings early this season, though he also allowed seven earned runs on 17 hits. In parts of three seasons in the majors, he carries a 5.30 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 127 1/3 innings. The 32-year-old Hague, meanwhile, is a right-handed hitter who primarily has lined up at first base as a professional. He was slashing an eyebrow-raising .226/.419/.264 through 74 plate appearances, with an unusual mix of only two extra base hits but 19 walks against just nine strikeouts.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Trade Roenis Elias To Mariners]]> 2018-04-23T18:13:17Z 2018-04-23T17:29:23Z The Red Sox announced that they’ve traded left-hander Roenis Elias to the Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. Boston had originally acquired Elias alongside right-handed reliever Carson Smith in a trade that sent Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to Seattle. The Mariners had two open 40-man spots prior to the trade, so they don’t need to make a corresponding move for Elias, who will report to Triple-A Tacoma.

    Elias, 29, debuted with the Mariners as a 25-year-old back in 2014 and turned in a terrific rookie season, tossing 163 2/3 innings of 3.85 ERA ball with 7.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9 and a 45.4 percent ground-ball rate. His sophomore season yielded comparable results in 2015, but the Mariners flipped him for a more established arm at the time in the form of Miley.

    Despite his quality results in Seattle from 2014-15, Elias was a scarcely used piece in Boston. The Sox gave him just eight big league innings in total from 2016-17, and he spent most of his time with the organization in Triple-A. Elias had a solid season with Pawtucket in 2016 when he turned in a 3.60 ERA over 125 innings (19 starts, two relief appearances), but injuries limited him to just 43 innings between the Majors and minors last year.

    With the Mariners, Elias will likely be shuttled between Tacoma and Seattle for much of the season and serve as a depth option for both the rotation and the ’pen, though he’s worked exclusively as a reliever with Boston this season. Given his previous success with the M’s and his solid 2016 season in Triple-A, it’s not out of the question that he could eventually claim a more permanent role on the big league roster.

    The Mariners have three lefties in the Major League bullpen at present: James Pazos, Marc Rzepczynski and Wade LeBlanc. It’s still early in the season, of course, but neither LeBlanc nor Rzepczynski has come out of the gates with an especially strong start to the season. Dario Alvarez is the only other lefty reliever on the 40-man roster in the minors, so Elias provides some additional depth in that regard.

    [Related: Updated Boston Red Sox depth chart and Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    From Boston’s vantage point, Elias may simply have been a ways down the depth chart and taking a 40-man spot the team would rather allocate elsewhere. While Brian Johnson is currently the lone left-hander in the big league bullpen, southpaw options on the 40-man roster in the upper minors include Bobby Poyner, Robby Scott and Williams Jerez. Left-hander Daniel McGrath, 23, could be another eventual option who’s gotten off to a strong start in Double-A, though he’s not yet on the 40-man roster.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Why The Mariners Kept Ichiro Over Heredia]]> 2018-04-23T13:30:46Z 2018-04-23T04:49:41Z
  • The Mariners’ demotion of Guillermo Heredia raised some eyebrows, both due to Heredia’s strong start to the season and the fact that Seattle had a seemingly more obvious expendable piece in Ichiro Suzuki.  Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto explained the move in an interview with’s Greg Johns, noting that the left-handed hitting Suzuki was a better short-term fit since the M’s are set to face a long stretch of games against right-handed starters.  (Seattle was expected to send down a reliever rather than Heredia to accommodate Erasmo Ramirez’s return from the DL today, though that plan was scuttled by a short outing from James Paxton on Saturday.)  Dipoto insisted that Ichiro’s iconic stature didn’t have any bearing on the decision, though he did note that Ichiro’s leadership presence was a factor.  “I don’t think people realize the impact Ichiro has made in our clubhouse in one-and-a-half months in mentoring young teammates and even the older players who respect him so much,” Dipoto said.  “There has to be a balance in decisions and not solely what you see on the field. And that’s not to take away from the quality of teammate Guillermo is as well. This was not an easy decision, but it’s also not a permanent decision.”  Given that Ichiro’s career could be nearing the end, The Athletic’s Corey Brock wonders when the Mariners will finally part ways with the future Hall-of-Famer, and Brock speculates that the team could be waiting for their next homestand to give Suzuki a final appearance in front of the Seattle fans.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[D’Backs Acquire International Bonus Slot From Mariners For Righty Edwin Quezada]]> 2018-04-24T18:07:47Z 2018-04-22T23:42:08Z The Diamondbacks have acquired a 2017-18 international bonus slot from the Mariners, as per press releases from both teams.  Seattle will get minor league right-hander Edwin Quezada back on their end of the swap.  The amount of money changing hands isn’t yet known, though international pool money can only be dealt in $250K increments.

    The Mariners actively looked to add to their bonus pool during the current international signing period as the team pursued Shohei Ohtani.  The M’s added roughly $2.5MM in additional international funds in trades with the Marlins, Twins, and White Sox over the offseason, though once Ohtani chose to sign with the Angels, the Mariners reversed course and began to unload some of that excess cash.  GM Jerry Dipoto added two arms to the system in the form of southpaw Anthony Misiewicz (while sending $1MM in pool money to the Rays) and right-hander Shawn Armstrong from the Indians for $500K, and now the Mariners have added another pitcher in Quezada.

    The 21-year-old was signed out of the Dominican Republic last year and he made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League, posting a 1.74 ERA, 2.71 K/BB rate, and 46 strikeouts over 41 1/3 innings of work.  Quezada appeared as a reliever in 12 of 15 games.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Activate Erasmo Ramirez, Option Guillermo Heredia]]> 2018-04-22T19:51:19Z 2018-04-22T19:45:10Z
  • The Mariners reinstated righty Erasmo Ramirez from the DL on Sunday and somewhat surprisingly optioned outfielder Guillermo Heredia to Triple-A. In doing so, they bought more time for franchise icon and fellow outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, whom Heredia has easily outplayed thus far. Ichiro, the game’s oldest position player at 44, has opened with an unusual .212/.212/.212 line in 33 trips to the plate. The 27-year-old Heredia, on the other hand, has slashed .310/.417/.552 with a pair of homers in 37 PAs. Ramirez, who had been down with a lat strain since spring training, slotted back into Seattle’s rotation Sunday.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Juan Nicasio Dealing With Drop In Velocity]]> 2018-04-22T14:23:36Z 2018-04-22T14:23:38Z
  • As is the case with Norris, Mariners reliever Juan Nicasio has dealt with a decline in velocity early this season. While Nicasio insists he’s not having any health issues, it’s nonetheless alarming that the offseason investment’s fastball velocity is averaging 93.2 mph after clocking in at 95.7 in 2017, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. Nicasio’s velo did increase last season, which is cause for optimism, though it also started out at a higher level (upward of 95 mph), Divish points out. In 2017, his first year as a full-time reliever, Nicasio was terrific with three clubs (the Pirates, Phillies and Cardinals). The Mariners then awarded him their richest contract of the winter in free agency (two years, $17MM), but with five earned runs allowed in 9 2/3 innings, he has gotten off to a slow start.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Release Pat Light]]> 2018-04-19T16:52:40Z 2018-04-19T16:48:21Z
  • The Mariners have released right-hander Pat Light from Triple-A Tacoma, as Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto tweets. The hard-throwing Light once rated among the better farmhands in the Red Sox system and was traded to the Twins in the 2016 Fernando Abad swap, but his control issues have prevented him from carving out a role in the big leagues. Light logged 16 2/3 innings between Boston and Minnesota in 2016, and while he struck out 16 batters in that time, he also issued 16 walks. Light’s strikeout rate plummeted with the Triple-A affiliates for the Pirates and Mariners last season, and in three innings with Tacoma in 2018, he issued eight walks and hit two batters.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Facing Numerous Roster Decisions ]]> 2018-04-17T16:05:47Z 2018-04-17T16:05:47Z
  • The Mariners are facing a significant number of roster decisions in the coming days, beginning with the debate over how to clear space on the 25-man roster for fifth starter Ariel Miranda tonight, writes Greg Johns of Seattle also needs to find space to activate Ben Gamel from the disabled list, as he’s now played nine games on his minor league rehab assignment and is largely ready for big league activity. But Gamel’s return presents its own set of issues, as the club will face a decision on struggling 44-year-old Ichiro Suzuki. As Johns examines at much greater length, the team essentially needs to determine whether it’s best to move forth with a seven- or eight-man bullpen while also clearing space for a few returning regulars and making some sort of determination on Ichiro.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Kiermaier, Zunino, Iwakuma, Hosmer, Pomeranz]]> 2018-04-15T22:59:30Z 2018-04-15T22:59:30Z Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier suffered a right thumb sprain during today’s game against the Phillies. He’ll get an MRI on Monday, says manager Kevin Cash (h/t Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). There’s no official word yet as to the severity, but Cash says that “he’s going to be out” and that “there’s a chance he’s going to miss a chunk of time.” On Sunday, Johnny Field replaced Kiermaier after his departure, and could get the lion’s share of the work in center field while the former Gold Glove winner is out.

    More of the latest injury notes from around MLB…

    • Bob Dutton of offers some insight into the return timetable of Mariners catcher Mike Zunino, who’s been sidelined the entire season thus far with an oblique strain. On Monday, he’ll begin a rehab assignment at the Class A Advanced level. “I’m really close,” said Zunino. “I think I’m ready now. I’ve had a couple of days of full swings in batting practice, but they’re just being really cautious.” As Dutton notes, that probably means the assignment will last at least two or three games. Meanwhile, 37-year-old right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma has been throwing bullpen sessions and could begin a rehab assignment himself in a few weeks. He had shoulder surgery on September 27th of last year after spending the bulk of the season on the DL.
    • Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer missed his second consecutive game today with what’s being described as lower back tightness, AJ Cassavell of reports. A club spokesman has apparently called the injury “minor”. The Friars gave Hosmer an eight-year, $144MM contract that represents a significant investment in both their present and future, and he’s off to a solid start so far this season, hitting .288/.364/.458 in 15 games.
    • Lefty Drew Pomeranz of the Red Sox is scheduled to be activated for Friday’s tilt against Oakland, Rob Bradford of reports (via Ryan Hannable of the same publication). it’ll be his first start of the season. Pomeranz has been sidelined with a flexor tendon strain all season, and his return should further improve a Red Sox ballclub that’s currently 13-2 and sits high atop the AL East.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Nelson Cruz Returns From DL]]> 2018-04-15T13:00:48Z 2018-04-15T00:37:36Z
  • The Mariners activated designated hitter Nelson Cruz prior to Saturday’s game against Oakland, sending right-hander Casey Lawrence to Triple-A to clear roster space, the team announced. Cruz went on the DL on April 3 with an ankle sprain, before which he opened the year with two home runs in just six at-bats.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Miranda To Stay In Rotation For Now]]> 2018-04-11T02:53:55Z 2018-04-11T02:53:55Z
  • Lefty Ariel Miranda will remain the Mariners’ fifth starter for the time being, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. He’ll take the ball on April 17 when the fifth spot in the rotation next comes up, Divish notes, rather than right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who is working his way back from a lat strain. However, the team doesn’t want to rush Ramirez back and will keep him on a slower progression while entrusting Miranda with a larger role. The 29-year-old Miranda is no stranger to the Seattle rotation, having made 39 starts for the M’s over the past two seasons after being acquired in a one-for-one swap that sent Wade Miley to Baltimore.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Expect Cruz, Zunino, Gamel Back Shortly]]> 2018-04-10T19:02:47Z 2018-04-10T16:29:51Z
  • Likewise, the Mariners are seeing positive signs from a variety of key players, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports (Twitter links). DH Nelson Cruz, catcher, Mike Zunino, and outfielder Ben Gamel could also be on the active roster by the end of the coming weekend, with the former seemingly furthest along. That’s certainly good news for the M’s, who have watched the division-rival Astros and Angels set a fast pace to open the new season.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Place Ryon Healy On DL, Recall Chasen Bradford]]> 2018-04-09T18:42:11Z 2018-04-09T18:42:11Z The Mariners announced today that they’ve placed first baseman Ryon Healy on the 10-day disabled list due to a sprained right ankle. The move is retroactive to yesterday, so Healy will be eligible to return from the DL in nine days’ time, though no specific timeline was given for his rehab. Right-hander Chasen Bradford, an offseason waiver claim from the Mets, has been recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to take his place on the roster.

    Healy, 26, is off to just a 2-for-22 start to his Mariners career and has now been dealt a pair of injuries early in his Seattle tenure, as he also missed several weeks of Spring Training following surgery on his right hand. He did knock in three runs with a double on Saturday, though he’ll now have to wait more than a week (at least) to try to build on that momentum. In his absence, the Mariners can turn to Daniel Vogelbach to line up at first base or go with utility options such as Taylor Motter or Andrew Romine at first base, leaving Vogelbach to DH in place of the also-injured Nelson Cruz.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Healy, Sheriff, Rizzo, J.C. Ramirez]]> 2018-04-08T18:49:06Z 2018-04-08T18:49:06Z Mariners first baseman Ryon Healy showed up to the team’s clubhouse today in a walking boot; he twisted his ankle in a postgame workout, says Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s been described as a “pretty bad sprain”, and Healy will have an MRI soon. The expectation seems to be that he will require a DL stint, though the severity of the injury is unclear at this time. Healy provided the heroics in last night’s win; it seems likely that Dan Vogelbach will receive everyday at-bats in his absence.

    More injury items from around the league…

    • Cardinals left-hander Ryan Sheriff has been placed on the DL with a toe injury; the team has recalled right-hander John Brebbia from Triple-A Memphis in a related move. Sheriff was added to the roster with the news that Brett Cecil would be out for an extended period of time; he allowed one earned run in his 2 2/3 innings of work this season. Sheriff also managed a 3.14 ERA last season in 14 1/3 innings of work for the Cardinals.
    • Anthony Rizzo has missed a couple of games for the Cubs due to back tightness, says Carrie Muskat of The first baseman’s back has evidently been bothering him ever since the club’s trip to Cincinnati. Rizzo has just three hits (including one home run) in 32 plate appearances to begin the season.
    • J.C. Ramirez is officially headed to the DL with forearm issues, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets. We noted earlier that the righty had been experiencing forearm tightness; he now joins fellow Angels starters Matt Shoemaker and Andrew Heaney on the disabled list, leaving the club incredibly thin in the rotation beyond Garrett Richards, Shohei Ohtani and Tyler Skaggs. Parker Bridwell and Nick Tropeano seem to be the likeliest candidates to get rotation attention, but for the time being the club has recalled relievers Felix Pena and Eduardo Paredes (righty reliever Akeel Morris was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake).
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Chris Herrmann To Minors Deal]]> 2018-04-07T23:27:42Z 2018-04-07T23:27:14Z The Mariners have signed catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann to a minor league contract, Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto reports.  Curto broke the news yesterday that Herrmann was working out with the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, and it may be a couple of days before Herrmann is officially activated in order to give him time to get fully ramped up.

    Herrmann will take over from the just-released Tuffy Gosewisch as the primary Triple-A depth catcher for the Mariners, as Curto notes.  The M’s are thin at the position at the big league level, with Mike Marjama and David Freitas handling duties behind the plate while Mike Zunino is on the DL with an oblique injury, so there’s a chance Herrmann could get a promotion sooner rather than later.  (Especially since Seattle is being cautious with Zunino’s recovery.)

    The Diamondbacks designated Herrmann for assignment and ultimately released him prior to Opening Day, thus saving themselves three-quarters of the $1.3MM owed to Herrmann in an arbitration-avoiding deal over the winter.  Herrmann is coming off a rough .181/.273/.345 performance over 256 plate appearances with Arizona last season, a major dropoff from the impressive .284/.352/.493 slash line he posted over 166 PA in 2016.  Herrmann can also fill in at first base and in the corner outfield, giving him more versatility than the average backup catcher.