MLB Trade Rumors » » Seattle Mariners 2017-12-11T21:04:44Z Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Claim Cameron Perkins]]> 2017-12-11T20:34:15Z 2017-12-11T20:34:15Z The Mariners have claimed outfielder Cameron Perkins from the Phillies, the team announced and Devan Fink of SB Nation first tweeted. He had been placed on outright waivers recently. The move leaves the Phils with one open 40-man spot and the Mariners with three.

Perkins, 28, struggled badly in his first taste of the majors in 2017. But the 2012 6th-rounder had shown more at times in the minors. Over 295 plate appearances at Triple-A in 2017, he slashed .288/.374/.447. Though he hit just seven home runs, Perkins drew thirty walks against 47 strikeouts in that span.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners Release Seth Frankoff]]> 2017-12-11T02:32:38Z 2017-12-11T02:32:38Z The Mariners have released righty Seth Frankoff, as per a team press release.  Frankoff was granted his release so he could pursue an opportunity with a team in South Korea.

Frankoff made his MLB debut last season, appearing in one game for the Cubs and tossing two innings.  Chicago designated Frankoff for assignment in September, only for Seattle to claim him off waivers a few days later.

Originally a 27th-round pick for the Athletics in the 2010 draft, Frankoff posted a 3.80 ERA, 8.9 K/9 and 2.69 K/BB rate over 637 career minor league innings with the A’s, Dodgers, and Cubs.  The 29-year-old has begun working as a starter over the last two seasons after pitching exclusively out of the bullpen from 2013-15.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Claim Mike Morin]]> 2017-12-08T21:03:38Z 2017-12-08T20:44:49Z The Mariners have claimed Mike Morin off waivers from the Royals, per a club announcement. He figures to represent yet another depth option for the Seattle staff, so long as he remains in the organization through to Spring Training.

Morin, a 26-year-old righty, went from the Angels to the Royals by way of the waiver wire late in the 2017 campaign. All told, he stumbled to a 7.20 ERA in twenty MLB innings, though there were a few signals of short-sample misfortune and his 16:5 K/BB ratio was in his usual range.

Other signals were mixed. Morin averaged a career-low 90.8 mph with his fastball, a few ticks below the levels he had sustained previously, but did maintain an appealing 12.9% swinging-strike rate that was right at his career average. In 39 1/3 Triple-A frames, he carried a 3.20 ERA but only recorded 5.7 K/9.

All told, it’s not altogether clear what Seattle can expect, but Morin is still plenty young and has had runs of success at the game’s highest level. In his debut season of 2014, especially, Morin carried a 2.90 ERA over 59 innings. He also has a clear history with Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, who held that post with the Angels when Morin was drafted and developed.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Dee Gordon]]> 2017-12-07T22:54:15Z 2017-12-07T21:57:36Z The Mariners have officially struck a deal with the Marlins to acquire second baseman Dee Gordon. Seattle will also pick up $1MM in international spending capacity. Righty Nick Neidert is going back to Miami along with fellow prospects Christopher Torres and Robert Dugger.

It’s a rather stunning move that was not at all anticipated for a Seattle organization that has highly-paid star Robinson Cano at Gordon’s accustomed position of second base. But the M’s have a plan, it seems: Gordon will move to center field, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (Twitter link) and as Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto confirms (via Divish, on Twitter).

Mar 18, 2016; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon (9) works out prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins have been working hard to pare salary this winter, and that meant finding a taker for the 29-year-old Gordon’s contract. He’s promised another $38MM through the 2020 season, including a buyout on a $14MM option for 2021, all of which will be assumed by the Mariners. Other players are sure to follow Gordon out of Miami.

As for the Mariners, adding Gordon will account for the loss of Jarrod Dyson to free agency. Gordon certainly has the speed for the outfield, though it remains to be seen how his glove will translate after a ten professional seasons spent exclusively in the middle infield. Range surely won’t be a problem, as Gordon has led the National League in stolen bases in three of the past four seasons.

Wheels, of course, are also Gordon’s calling card on offense, where he’s among the game’s most valuable baserunners. So long as he can maintain something like his 2017 slash line — .308/.341/.375 — Gordon ought to be a solid enough performer with the bat to be a net positive in terms of creating runs. That’s shy of the .333/.359/.418 output Gordon posted in his breakout 2015 season, but approximately league-average hitting with a bit more upside is plenty given Gordon’s other attributes.

[RELATED: Updated Mariners & Marlins Depth Charts]

Gordon has been a quality regular for three of the past four years. But that other season — an unfortunate 2016 campaign — is cause for some concern. Gordon’s tepid offensive work (.268/.305/.335 in 346 plate appearances) is worth noting, but his 80-game PED suspension is yet more troubling. It’s at least promising that he was able to bounce back on the field in the ensuing year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the M’s are gaining an additional $1MM in international bonus capacity. That, no doubt, will go to the team’s efforts to land Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. Seattle now has just over $3.5MM in pool space — and just slightly more than any other Ohtani pursuer.

For the Marlins, clearing the salary was the top priority. But they won’t come away empty handed. A second-round pick in 2015, Neidert dominated in 19 High-A starts last year, posting a 2.76 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 over 104 1/3 innings. But he fell flat upon a promotion to Double-A, surrendering 17 earned runs on 33 hits and recording just 13 strikeouts against five walks in his 23 1/3 innings there. And Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets that scouts have not been all that high on Neidert’s future prospects in the majors.

Neidert rated among the best prospects in a generally lightly regarded Seattle farm, while Torres also cracks the top ten on’s most recent list. He’s a speedy, young, switch-hitting shortstop who has quite a lot of development but also real promise. The 22-year-old Duggar, meanwhile, is a recent collegiate product who carried a 2.00 ERA in 72 Class A frames split between the rotation and the pen in 2017. Though his results weren’t as impressive after a mid-season promotion, he managed 9.3 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 along with a 3.94 ERA  in his 45 2/3 frames at High-A.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the deal (Twitter link). Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio tweeted Neidert’s inclusion, while Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted the other prospects. Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel reported that the Mariners would assume Gordon’s full contract, while Mark Feinsand of tweeted the inclusion of the bonus pool money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Notes: Rotation, Gamel, Iwakuma, Moll]]> 2017-12-07T16:45:18Z 2017-12-07T16:21:55Z The Mariners feel they need to bolster their rotation and are likely to increase their efforts to add a starter on the trade and free-agent markets if they miss out on right-hander Shohei Ohtani, Bob Dutton reports (Twitter links). If the Mariners are successful in luring Ohtani to Seattle, however, they’ll likely focus more on beefing up the bullpen and adding an outfielder to the mix. Certainly, the Mariners are doing everything in their power to be able to make the best offer possible to Ohtani, as they’ve now traded prospects Thyago Vieira (to the White Sox) and David Banuelos (to the Twins) to add an additional $1.5MM worth of international bonus allotments.

A few more notes out of Seattle…

  • General manager Jerry Dipoto has spoken recently about his team’s desire for versatility on the roster, and to that end, the Mariners are asking Ben Gamel to work out at first base this offseason and in Spring Training, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Gamel, 25, turned in a solid .275/.322/.413 batting line with 11 homers last year and is capable of handling all three outfield spots already. Seattle picked up Ryon Healy to serve as its primary first baseman in 2018 and beyond, though certainly the ability to give Gamel some reps at first would give manager Scott Servais additional flexibility when filling out the lineup card.
  • Dipoto joined Aaron Goldsmith on the third installment of the Mariners’ new “Wheelhouse” podcast and, as he has in the previous two episodes, discussed a host of topics that Mariners fans will want to hear. Notably, Dipoto tells Goldsmith that Hisashi Iwakuma (who recently signed a minor league deal with the Mariners) will be in Spring Training on a throwing program and, if all goes well, will be ready to pitch by mid-May. Dipoto gushes about Iwakuma’s work ethic and ability to sequence pitches to deceive hitters and says that he hopes the remainder of Iwakuma’s days as a player are spent in a Mariners uniform.
  • Also of note, Dipoto explains that the Mariners are going to try to convert waiver claim Sam Moll from a reliever back into a starter. Dipoto notes that Moll has a solid riding fastball in the 90-94 mph range and a changeup that helps him generate grounders, as well as a breaking pitch that trails behind his other two offerings somewhat in quality. Moll has only started six games as a professional but was a starter in college and intrigues the Mariners in that role. At minimum, Dipoto says the Mariners view Moll as a multi-inning relief candidate with a pair of minor league options, giving them some nice flexibility next year.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners, Casey Lawrence Agree To Minor League Deal]]> 2017-12-07T14:51:29Z 2017-12-07T14:51:29Z The Mariners have agreed to bring back right-hander Casey Lawrence on a minor league contract, per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy. He’d previously been outrighted off the 40-man roster and become a free agent. Presumably, he’ll be in Major League camp this coming spring.

The 30-year-old Lawrence proved to be an oft-used depth piece for an injury-plagued Mariners staff in 2017. After being claimed off outright waivers (out of the Blue Jays’ system) in early May, Lawrence was recalled to the Majors on four separate occasions by the Mariners through season’s end.

All told, Lawrence tossed 42 innings for the M’s, and while his 5.57 ERA wasn’t pretty, he did average 9.6 K/9 against a respectable 3.0 BB/9 mark in his 23 appearances. Home runs proved to be a significant problem for the rookie, though, as he also averaged 1.93 big flies per nine innings pitched in Seattle. Metrics like xFIP (3.87) and SIERA (3.68) reviewed Lawrence’s work far more favorably than his ERA (due largely to those K/BB numbers), but he’ll need to rein in the home runs if he’s to have any sort of chance at success in the Majors.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Acquire David Banuelos From Mariners In Exchange For International Bonus Money]]> 2017-12-07T02:37:05Z 2017-12-07T02:12:57Z The Mariners announced that they’ve traded catching prospect David Banuelos to the Twins in exchange for international bonus money. Minnesota has also announced the deal, revealing that they’re sending $1MM of their $3.245MM pool to Seattle in the deal.

For the Mariners, the money added in tonight’s deal will allow them to pad their offer to Shohei Ohtani. Seattle’s international pool now sits at $2.5575MM, which still leaves them shy of the Rangers’ leading pool of $3.535MM but nonetheless allows them to sweeten their offer. Money, of course, isn’t thought to be the deciding factor when it comes to choosing a landing spot for Ohtani, but those of the seven finalists that are allowed to offer him more than $300K unsurprisingly appear to be putting forth their best effort to maximize their spending capacity. The Angels, for instance, are also set to reel in $1MM in bonus money from the Twins in a trade of their own.

The Twins will pick up a prospect that ranked 10th in a weak Mariners farm system, per’s organizational rankings. Banuelos, 21, will give the Twins an intriguing prospect at what had been a relatively thin position in the organization. Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Cal State Long Beach, and he went on to bat .236/.331/.394 with four homers and eight doubles in in short-season Class-A this summer. Banuelos, who threw out 38 percent of would-be base thieves, draws praise from’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo for his plus arm behind the plate and strong plate discipline/on-base skills.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Finalizing Trade To Acquire International Bonus Money From Twins]]> 2017-12-07T02:09:55Z 2017-12-07T02:07:32Z The Mariners and Twins are closing in on a deal that would send international bonus money from Minnesota to Seattle, reports’s Mark Feinsand (on Twitter). Feinsand’s colleague, Jon Morosi, had recently tweeted that the Twins were likely to trade international funds to one of the seven finalists for Shohei Ohtani tonight.

The Twins have $3.245MM in their international pool after their $3MM deal with prospect Jelfry Marte fell through due to an issue on his physical. The Twins had hoped to utilize that money to pursue Ohtani themselves, but after being informed they’d miss out on him, reports indicated that they’d be willing to part with some of that pool in trades with potential Ohtani suitors.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Hire Brian DeLunas As Bullpen Coach]]> 2017-12-05T06:38:41Z 2017-12-05T05:31:41Z
  • In other coaching news, the Mariners announced that Brian DeLunas has been hired as the team’s bullpen coach. Per the club, DeLunas has most recently worked for private entities CSE Baseball and Premier Pitching and Performance (P3) and previously served as a pitching coach at a variety of levels, including at the University of Missouri. Meanwhile, the Athletics have added Al Pedrique as the club’s new first base coach while shifting Mike Aldrete to assistant hitting coach and Marcus Jensen to bullpen coach. Pedrique, a former big leaguer, was most recently the manager for the Yankees’ top affiliate and has previously coached in the majors for the Diamondbacks and Astros.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Plans To Meet With Seven Teams]]> 2017-12-04T13:34:05Z 2017-12-04T13:34:05Z Shohei Ohtani has already narrowed his list of potential landing spots to seven team, according to multiple reporters (with Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM the first to tweet the final seven). Only the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Padres, Mariners, Rangers and Cubs will receive meetings with Ohtani. While Ohtani has three weeks to negotiate with teams, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that Ohtani could make a decision well before that point, noting that he could be introduced by his new club at next week’s Winter Meetings.

    Of the remaining teams in the fold, the Rangers still have the most money to offer Ohtani, at $3.535MM, though his signing bonus seems increasingly to be a secondary consideration in where he ultimately signs, especially after last week’s reports that Ohtani could top $20MM in annual earnings in marketing endorsements. Certainly, his list of finalists reflects a preference for West Coast teams and a proximity to Japan, though the presence of the Rangers and Cubs indicates that he’s not quite locked into that mindset just yet.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, Angels Among Teams To Meet With Shohei Ohtani]]> 2017-12-04T05:40:13Z 2017-12-04T05:40:33Z 11:40pm: The Angels are indeed one of the finalists, as per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).

    10:39pm: The Angels are thought by “multiple sources” to be one of the finalists, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets.  The Tigers are out of the running, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

    8:59pm: The Rangers and Cubs will both meet with Ohtani, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link), and they’re also the only two non-West Coast teams who appear to still be alive in the candidate process.  The Rangers, Grant notes, have yet to comment on their status one way or the other.

    7:22pm: The Nationals won’t be receiving a meeting, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes reports (Twitter link).

    6:58pm: The Braves are out,’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter).

    6:50pm: The Padres will receive a meeting with Ohtani, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  The Dodgers are also thought to still be active in the Ohtani sweepstakes though Heyman doesn’t have confirmation; regardless, the Dodgers aren’t thought to be favorites to land Ohtani.

    6:38pm: The Rays, Cardinals and White Sox are out, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (all Twitter links).

    6:15pm: The Diamondbacks won’t receive a meeting, Ken Rosenthal tweets.

    6:12pm: The Blue Jays, Pirates, and Brewers are all out, as respectively reported by’s Shi Davidi,’s Adam Berry, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt (all Twitter links).

    5:48pm: The Mets are also out, as per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

    5:38pm: Ohtani’s list is “heavy” on West Coast teams, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, though the Cubs may still be involved.  Not every west-based team is included, however, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the A’s aren’t involved.

    5:28pm: The Red Sox are also out of the running, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  The Twins also won’t be getting a meeting with Ohtani, Heyman tweets.

    5:16pm: The Giants and Mariners are among the teams that will receive meetings with Shohei Ohtani and his representatives next week, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  It isn’t known who the other finalists are in the Ohtani sweepstakes, though the Yankees are one of the teams that didn’t make the cut, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including’s Brendan Kuty and’s Bryan Hoch).

    According to Cashman, Ohtani seems to be leaning towards West Coast teams in smaller markets.  This ties to a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman saying that Ohtani’s reps are informing teams that the two-way star would prefer to play in a smaller market.

    The news adds another fascinating layer to the Ohtani sweepstakes, which was already one of the more intriguing free agent pursuits in recent memory.  Given the seeming lack of immediate financial motive that inspired Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball, it opened the door for every team in baseball (regardless of market or payroll size) to make a push for the 23-year-old.  There had been speculation that Ohtani might look to avoid playing in a larger market, so this apparent confirmation creates a realistic possibility that he will land with a team that wouldn’t normally be considered a favorite to land such a coveted free agent.

    Of course, San Francisco isn’t exactly a small market, though Ohtani wouldn’t necessarily be the center of attention on a club with such established stars as Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner (and maybe even Giancarlo Stanton in the near future).  Playing for an NL team, however, would force Ohtani into a pinch-hitting or even a part-time outfield role for the at-bats he seeks in his attempt to be a two-way player in the big leagues.  The Mariners do have such a DH spot available (in a timeshare with Nelson Cruz), and were considered to be a contender for Ohtani given their long history of Japanese players.

    The Yankees also have had several significant Japanese players on their past and current rosters, and were widely seen as one of the major favorites for Ohtani’s services from a financial (in terms of available international bonus money) and positional (openings at DH and in the rotation) standpoint, not to mention their international fame and their young core of talent ready to make a World Series push.  With Ohtani now out of the picture, the Yankees could move to signing more pitching depth — a reunion with C.C. Sabathia has been widely speculated as a possibility — or a veteran bat to serve as designated hitter, if the club doesn’t just rotate its DH days to find plate appearances for everyone on the current roster.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Hisashi Iwakuma Out Until At Least Late May]]> 2017-12-03T04:20:55Z 2017-12-03T04:20:55Z
  • Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto told KJR-AM this week that right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma won’t be ready to pitch again until late May or early June, per Greg Johns of (Twitter link). Iwakuma, who re-signed with the Mariners on a minor league contract on Wednesday, threw just 31 innings in 2017 as he dealt with shoulder problems. The 36-year-old underwent surgery in late September.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Saturday]]> 2017-12-03T02:00:28Z 2017-12-03T00:54:57Z The latest on game-changing Japanese ace/slugger Shohei Ohtani, whom the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters posted on Friday and who’s at the beginning of a three-week window to work out an agreement with a major league team:

    • The Ohtani sweepstakes is seemingly on the verge of picking up in earnest, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the 23-year-old CAA Sports client will meet with various teams in Los Angeles next week (Twitter link). The Mariners are among those clubs, suggests Passan, who relays that team brass has asked multiple members of its roster to clear their schedules for a potential meeting with Ohtani. That comes on the heels of general manager Jerry Dipoto’s revelation last week that the Mariners are preparing an aggressive push press for Ohtani. “We’re not joking around. We’re bringing the big guns,” declared Dipoto (Twitter link via Greg Johns of
    • Ohtani’s camp will notify certain teams this weekend if they’ll remain in the mix to sign him, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Padres are hopeful they’ll advance to the next round. “As a group, we’re prepared, and I think he’s a player that obviously we’ve scouted and have history with,” GM A.J. Preller told Lin. “You try to see what the fits are and why he’s a good fit for us and why we’re a good fit for him. We’re kind of down the path of doing that work.”
    • The Red Sox will also chase Ohtani, per president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who told Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald via text: “Would acknowledge our interest. Beyond that, all would be confidential.” Ohtani joining Chris Sale and David Price would make for a rather enticing top of the rotation, needless to say, and he could also factor in as a designated hitter for a Boston club that received uninspiring production there last season in the first year of the post-David Ortiz era.
    • Count the World Series-winning Astros as yet another team that will court Ohtani. Owner Jim Crane told Brian McTaggart of that the Astros will “put a full-court press on” to sign Ohtani, adding that they’ll “probably send the A-team out there.” He also noted that the Astros “need a left-handed DH, so there you have it.” In addition to having the ability to demonstrate his offensive prowess in Houston, Ohtani would add another potential front-end starter to a rotation that already includes past Cy Young winners Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel.
    • While the Rays are obvious long shots to land Ohtani, they have an advantage over other teams with the presence of two-way prospect Brendan McKay, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times observes. McKay, the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft, could be both a pitcher and a hitter in the majors. “We’re hopeful (McKay) can do it,” Rays GM Erik Neander said. “We want to give him the opportunity to do it because he’s shown he deserves that opportunity and we don’t want to take that away from him prematurely.” Citing McKay’s presence, the Rays will emphasize to Ohtani that they’re open-minded about developing and employing a two-way player, per Topkin, who also expects them to pitch Tampa Bay’s “relaxed” lifestyle during the recruiting process.
    • The Marlins, MLB’s other Florida-based organization, are unlikely to make an effort for Ohtani, Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. The cost-cutting Marlins are wary of the financial commitment it would take to reel in Ohtani, who won’t require much from a salary standpoint but will cost a $20MM posting fee. While that looks like a relatively minor amount for a possible franchise face like Ohtani, the Marlins simply aren’t in position to fork it over in their current financial state, Healey explains.
    • While the Indians only have $10K in international bonus pool space, they’re expected to partake in the Ohtani derby, per Paul Hoynes of He’d slot into an already loaded rotation, one which features two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco; additionally, Ohtani could DH for a team at risk of losing Carlos Santana in free agency.
    • All things considered, the Yankees may be the favorites for Ohtani. There’s a general “fear” coming from other franchises regarding the Bronx Bombers, tweets Passan, given the talent on hand, the market they’re in and their strong relationship with CAA Sports. They also have the second-biggest international bonus pool.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Non-Tenders]]> 2017-12-02T07:43:50Z 2017-12-02T01:10:38Z The deadline to tender 2018 contracts to players is tonight at 8pm EST. We’ll keep track of the day’s non-tenders in this post (all referenced arbitration projections courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) …

    • The Giants non-tendered righty Albert Suarez, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Suarez, 28, was not yet eligible for arbitration.
    • Righty Tom Koehler and infielder Ryan Goins are heading to the open market after being non-tendered by the Blue Jays, per a team announcement.
    • The Rays announced that lefty Xavier Cedeno has been non-tendered, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
    • The Cubs non-tendered catcher Taylor Davis, per a team announcement. He was not yet eligible for arbitration.
    • Four Rangers players have not been tendered contracts, per a club announcement. Righties Chi Chi Gonzalez, A.J. Griffin, and Nick Martinez have been cut loose along with infielder Hanser Alberto. Griffin ($3.0MM projection) and Martinez ($2.0MM) were both noted as non-tender candidates by MLBTR. The other two players were not yet eligible for arbitration. Gonzalez was a former first-round pick who had struggled of late and underwent Tommy John surgery in July.
    • The Diamondbacks have also non-tendered lefty T.J. McFarland, who had projected at a $1.0MM salary.
    • The Reds non-tendered lefty Kyle Crockett, a pre-arb lefty who was only recently claimed on waivers, per a club announcement.
    • Per a club announcement, the Brewers have non-tendered veteran righty Jared Hughes. He will end up being the only 40-man player not to receive a contract from Milwaukee. Hughes had projected at a $2.2MM arbitration value. The 32-year-old is a master at inducing grounders and has turned in repeatedly excellent results. He also averaged a career-best 93.9 mph on his sinker in 2017.
    • The Mariners have non-tendered lefty Drew Smyly and righty Shae Simmons, per a club announcement. While the former was expected, due to Smyly’s Tommy John surgery, the latter rates as something of a surprise given his cheap $700K projection. Of course, it’s possible the club is not optimistic of his chances of bouncing back from arm troubles.
    • The White Sox will not tender a contract to reliever Jake Petricka, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). He had projected to take home $1.1MM in his second trip through the arb process. Also non-tendered, per a club announcement, were righties Zach Putnam and Al Alburquerque as well as infielder Alan Hanson.
    • It seems that righty Bruce Rondon will wind up his tenure with the Tigers, as the organization is set to non-tender him, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free-Press (via Twitter). Rondon was long viewed as a potential late-inning arm for the Tigers, but had some notable run-ins with the organization, struggled with control, and never consistently produced at the MLB level. Though he projected to earn just $1.2MM, Rondon will be allowed to find a new organization. He will turn 26 later this month.
    • The Diamondbacks will non-tender righty J.J. Hoover, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Hoover projected at just $1.6MM, but Arizona is watching every penny as it seeks to return to the postseason with a tight payroll situation. The 30-year-old turned in 41 1/3 innings of 3.92 ERA ball in 2017 with 11.8 K/9 but also 5.7 BB/9 on the year.
    • The Royals announced that they have non-tendered outfielder Terrance Gore. Though Gore was not eligible for arbitration, teams occasionally utilize today’s deadline to prune their 40-man rosters. Gore had quite an interesting run with Kansas City, scarcely playing at all during the regular season and then appearing as a speed-and-defense asset in the team’s two storied postseason runs. Now, though the fleet-footed 26-year-old is out of options. With an upper minors OPS that hovers just over .600, Gore just was not going to break camp with the club. It seems reasonable to think there’s a chance he’ll return to the organization on a minors deal, though Gore will also have a shot at exploring the broader market.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: 12/1/17]]> 2017-12-05T00:35:30Z 2017-12-02T01:05:54Z With the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players set for 8pm tonight, there should be several agreements over the next few hours — particularly among players that were considered to be potential non-tender candidates. Many non-tender candidates will be presented with offers that are lower than what they’d project to earn via arbitration in a “take it or leave it” manner; some will agree to the lesser deal (as Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt did earlier this morning) while others will reject and likely hit the open market.

    Here’s today’s slate of players that have avoided the arb process and locked in at least a partial guarantee for the upcoming season (arbitration contracts are not fully guaranteed, but each of these players will be guaranteed one sixth of the agreed-upon sum unless specifically negotiated otherwise). All projections are via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz

    • The Padres announced that lefty Robbie Erlin has agreed to a contract for 2018. The 27-year-old missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery and was projected to earn $700K through arbitration. Terms of his deal have not yet been reported.
    • The Braves appear to have agreed to terms with just-claimed righty Chase Whitley, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Whitley, who was projected to earn $1.0MM in his first season of arb eligibility, is said to be in line for an opportunity to work as a starter. It’s a split deal that would pay Whitley $800K in the majors, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.
    • The Mariners agreed with Andrew Romine on a $1.05MM contract, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Romine, a versatile infielder, was claimed off waivers after the end of the 2017 season.
    • Outfielder Abraham Almonte has reached a deal to avoid arbitration with the Indians, per a club announcement. He had featured as a possible non-tender candidate but instead found common ground with the organization. Almonte, 28, slashed just .233/.314/.366 in his 195 trips to the plate in 2017. He had projected to earn a $1.1MM payday in his first season of arbitration eligibility but will take home $825K, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter).
    • The Royals have agreed to terms with righty Mike Morin to avoid arbitration, the club announced. He’ll receive a split contract,’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets, with a $750K annual earning rate in the majors and $250K in the minors. Morin, who projected at $700K, drew a mention on MLBTR’s non-tender candidates list. Indeed, his contract reflects the middling season that he turned in. Morin allowed 16 earned runs in twenty MLB frames, though he was more effective at Triple-A.
    • Yimi Garcia and the Dodgers have avoided arbitration, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter). Garia projected to command only a $700K salary after missing all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery; he’ll end up taking home $630K, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Now 27, Garcia had established himself as a significant member of the Dodgers’ bullpen in 2015, when he compiled a 3.34 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 over 56 2/3 innings. But injuries limited him in the ensuing season and ultimately culminated in a UCL replacement.
    • Per a club announcement, the Indians have agreed to a contract with righty Dan Otero. Otero will take home $1.3MM, per’s Jordan Bastian (via Twitter). He was projected to command $1.4MM. The 32-year-old Otero has been an unmitigated bargain for Cleveland over the past two years, turning in 130 2/3 total innings of 2.14 ERA pitching despite averaging just 6.5 K/9 in that span. Otero has succeeded with unfailing command (just 19 walks since joining the Indians) and a hefty groundball rate (over 60% in each of the past two seasons).
    • The Angels and righty Blake Wood agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal that falls well shy of his $2.2MM projection, as FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to report (via Twitter). Wood struggled mightily in Cincinnati before being picked up by the Halos late in the year and turning his season around a bit. In 17 innings with the Angels, he posted a 4.76 ERA with a much more promising 22-to-4 K/BB ratio. Heyman notes that he can earn up to $50K worth of incentives as well.
    • The White Sox announced that they’ve signed right-hander Danny Farquhar to a one-year deal worth $1.05MM — a pact that falls shy of his $1.5MM projection. In 49 1/3 innings between the Rays and ChiSox, the 30-year-old logged a 4.20 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 and a 41.7 percent ground-ball rate.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets, Rockies, Mariners Showing Interest In Jay Bruce]]> 2017-12-01T14:33:32Z 2017-12-01T14:32:33Z Dec. 1: The Mets are interested in Bruce on a three-year contract, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. Bruce is still seeking a five-year deal according to Puma, indicating that despite a stagnant free-agent market, he hasn’t gotten anxious and lowered his early-November asking price (at least in terms of years).

    Nov. 30, 6:46pm: Other organizations with some level of interest in Bruce include the Rockies and Mariners, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).

    It’s not known just how the Rockies view Bruce, but it’s conceivable they’d consider him as a first base target. Colorado was willing to roll the dice on utilizing Ian Desmond at first last year, but ended up using him mostly in the outfield and will likely keep him on the grass in 2017. That leaves first as the team’s most evident need in the field, though perhaps the club could instead view Bruce as a direct replacement for outgoing free agent corner outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

    Seattle evidently has its eye on a lefty outfield bat, as it has also been linked with Jon Jay (who is, of course, otherwise quite a different hitter than is Bruce). The M’s current outfield mix is more proficient in the defensive and baserunning departments, so Bruce could add a different skillset that might allow for greater situational flexibility.

    5:28pm: The Mets share mutual interest with free agent slugger Jay Bruce, according to a report from Marc Carig of Newsday. Bruce, of course, opened the 2017 season in New York but was dealt in the middle of the year to the Indians.

    It’s far from clear at this point whether the sides match up, but obviously they are plenty familiar after Bruce played 153 games with the Mets between his mid-2016 acquisition and the subsequent trade. Though he struggled initially, Bruce gave the Mets 448 plate appearancs of .256/.321/.520 hitting and 29 home runs in the most recent season — numbers that he largely maintained (.248/.331/.477) upon heading to Cleveland.

    The time that Bruce spent with the Indians may actually have helped link him back to the Mets. Carig’s source notes that Bruce has a positive relationship with new Mets skipper Mickey Callaway, who just came over from the Cleveland organization.

    It’ll be interesting to see how serious the Mets are about adding a player like Bruce, who only is even under contemplation owing to problems with two youngsters the organization had hoped to rely upon. Outfielder Michael Conforto is recovering from major shoulder surgery while first baseman Dominic Smith is coming off of a poor initial showing in the majors while facing some front office scrutiny for his conditioning. There are some generally positive signs for Conforto. And Smith at least seems to be taking the concerns to heart with a stepped-up effort to trim up, as Mike Puma of the New York Post was among those to report (Twitter links).

    Bruce has not spent much time at first, but was used there briefly by the Mets in 2017. Evidently, the team is comfortable with the idea of giving him significant time there. Unlike another rumored possibility, free agent Carlos Santana, Bruce would also provide an option in the corner outfield, where he has spent the bulk of his career.

    Of course, what Bruce cannot do is offer any kind of solution to some of the Mets’ other pressing needs. Signing him, naturally, would draw resources that otherwise might be dedicated elsewhere, which is particularly notable given that Bruce is expected to command a long-term contract. (MLBTR predicts he’ll net $39MM over three years, but it’s certainly possible he could garner more.)

    Notably, per Carig, the Mets are having some difficulty finding traction with potential second base targets. New York’s middling slate of upper-level prospects is “a barrier” in dialogue with the Tigers regarding Ian Kinsler, Carig reports, while the Mets have yet to engage in earnest with the Marlins on Dee Gordon.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Hisashi Iwakuma To Minor League Contract]]> 2017-12-01T13:31:12Z 2017-12-01T13:31:17Z Dec. 1: FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that Iwakuma’s contract comes with a $2.5MM base salary upon making the big league roster as well as a hefty $6MM worth of incentives based on games started. Heyman also notes that Iwakuma’s deal contains a separate incentives package based on potential work out of the bullpen.

    Nov. 27: The Mariners announced that they’ve re-signed right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

    Iwakuma, 37 in April, has spent his entire big league career with the Mariners, for whom he debuted back in 2012. Seattle bought out the 2018 club option on his contract after an injury-ruined 2017 season in which a right shoulder injury limited Iwakuma to just 31 innings. However, the veteran told reporters in Japan recently that he was weighing an offer to return to the Mariners. He’ll now head to big league camp with the M’s and try to earn a spot on the roster for what would be his seventh season in the Emerald City.

    While the 2017 season wasn’t pretty for Iwakuma, he’s largely been an effective mid-rotation starter in Seattle — and quite a bit more in his best seasons. From 2012-16, Iwakuma turned in 852 2/3 innings of 3.39 ERA ball, averaging 7.4 K/9 against an outstanding 1.8 BB/9 mark while routinely turning in yearly ground-ball rates right around the 50 percent mark. His best campaign by virtually any measure came in 2013, when the then-32-year-old made his lone All-Star team and finished third in American League Cy Young voting on the heels of a 2.66 ERA over the life of 219 2/3 innings.

    It’s obviously not reasonable to expect Iwakuma to return to his peak form, but even his 2016 season was a solid effort — one that the Mariners would be happy to see replicated in 2018. That year saw Iwakuma produce 199 innings of 4.12 ERA ball with averages of 6.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 against a 40.8 percent ground-ball rate.

    Iwakuma won’t be guaranteed a rotation spot, as he has been in previous seasons with the Mariners, but he ought to have a legitimate chance to reclaim his place in manager Scott Servais’ starting five if he’s health come March. At present, the Mariners have James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake locked into rotation spots. Beyond that mix, however, there would appear to be two open spots. Iwakuma will join a race that includes Erasmo Ramirez, Andrew Moore, Marco Gonzales and Andrew Albers. Righties Chase De Jong, Max Povse, Rob Whalen and Seth Frankoff are all currently on the Mariners’ 40-man roster as well.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Still Pursuing Jon Jay]]> 2017-12-01T06:49:57Z 2017-12-01T00:32:12Z
  • The Mariners are still involved in the market for outfielder Jon Jay, Crasnick reports on Twitter. Indeed, Seattle is a “prime player” for the veteran, who doesn’t deliver much power at all but owns a lifetime .288 batting average and has long been a significant on-base threat. As a left-handed hitter who can play some center field, Jay would likely fit well on quite a few rosters, so it stands to reason that he’d field interest from other quarters.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Claim Sam Moll]]> 2017-11-30T18:49:38Z 2017-11-30T18:49:03Z The Mariners announced that they’ve claimed left-handed reliever Sam Moll off waivers from the Pirates, bringing their 40-man roster to a total of 37 players.

    Pittsburgh had only just claimed the 25-year-old Moll off waivers from the A’s on Monday, but the Bucs apparently did so with the hope of then passing Moll through waivers themselves in order to keep him in the organization without committing a 40-man roster spot.

    A former third-round pick of the Rockies, Moll made his big league debut in 2017, though he was tagged for eight earned runs in a small sample of 6 2/3 innings. His work in the minors, however, is more solid. In 54 1/3 innings between the Triple-A affiliates for the Rockies and the A’s, Moll pitched to a 3.64 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9.

    Moll has a history of missing bats and inducing grounders at an above-average rate through the Double-A level and will give Seattle a lefty with multiple minor league options remaining to compete for a bullpen spot next spring — assuming he makes it to camp with the Mariners and doesn’t land with another organization via waivers, of course.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners' Offer To Hisashi Iwakuma Likely A Minor League Deal]]> 2017-11-26T04:17:04Z 2017-11-26T01:14:44Z
  • If the Mariners bring back free agent righty Hisashi Iwakuma, it’ll likely be on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, Greg Johns of suggests. The 36-year-old Iwakuma revealed this week that he’s weighing an offer to re-sign with Seattle, which declined his $10MM club option in favor of a $1MM buyout at season’s end, and Johns expects him to accept it.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto On Ohtani, Healy, Platoons, Relievers]]> 2017-11-23T05:19:52Z 2017-11-23T05:19:52Z In the first episode of a new Mariners podcast, The Wheelhouse, general manager Jerry Dipoto joined host Aaron Goldsmith to discuss a plethora of topics regarding his team. The 41-minute, must-listen interview is packed with candid assessments of the Mariners’ roster, trade anecdotes and, perhaps most appealing to the general MLBTR audience, more than 15 minutes of talk on Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani.

    Dipoto doesn’t shy away from expressing his excitement to finally be able to talk about Ohtani now that the 23-year-old is going to be posted for big league clubs, and he’s frank in explaining his desire to make a serious run at signing the right-hander/slugger.

    “We want to sell the Seattle experience,” says Dipoto. “What it means to the Japanese-American, our culture and how this organization has trended — and trended so positively — when we have a star Japanese player. And make no mistake — this is a star Japanese player. He’s talented. He’s gifted. He’s going to make some team a lot better.”

    The GM goes on to acknowledge, of course, that Ohtani’s specific preferences when selecting a team remain unclear. It’s possible that Ohtani, for instance, would rather head to an organization that doesn’t have a storied history of Japanese stars so that he can form his own legacy, Dipoto suggests. For the time being, there’s not yet a great way to gauge his top priorities. There are countless variables that’ll determine where Ohtani lands, and while money doesn’t appear to be the primary factor, the Mariners will be on the lookout for means by which to acquire additional international funds to pad their offer to Ohtani.

    To that end, Dipoto concedes that his trade of hard-throwing righty Thyago Vieira to the White Sox in exchange for international funds was “pretty much” done as a means of increasing his maximum offer to Ohtani. The Mariners also had a glut of pitchers on the roster, he notes (26 of the 39 players on the 40-man) and were in need of some maintenance before this week’s deadline to set the roster for the Rule 5 Draft, though that didn’t seem to be the primary motivation.

    “We have made no bones about it in talking to other clubs,” Dipoto says of adding extra international money. “We’ve gathered as much as we can. … We are not going to leave a stone unturned in the efforts to do it again if the opportunity exists. We’ll be responsible in how we do it, but we understand that this is a one-time buying opportunity, and you have to be prepared. To me, the worst thing we can be is sitting on the sideline, being too conservative — sitting on our hands when an opportunity to change the history of your organization comes along, because that’s what this might be.”

    The Mariners, Dipoto confirms, have just shy of $1.6MM to offer Ohtani at this point and have the capacity to acquire another roughly $2.3MM within the confines of MLB’s international bonus pool system. However, clubs are becoming less willing to part with international funding — hardly a surprise given not only Ohtani’s posting but also the new slate of prospects that are available to MLB clubs in the fallout from the Braves’ investigation (headlined, of course, by Kevin Maitan).

    The Mariners have spent at least the past year working on their sales pitch to Ohtani, going so far as to prepare a “film on the merits of Seattle and the Mariners” as they seek different ways to pique his interest.

    “This is maybe the most unique circumstance in baseball that I can recall,” Dipoto adds. “It is all about how you as a city, as an organization and as human beings appeal to an individual, rather than the final paycheck. In my lifetime, that’s really never been a thing.”

    The Mariners, like most other clubs (presumably), view Ohtani as an immediately MLB-ready “plug-and-play difference maker” that doesn’t need a stop in the minors before pitching in a big league rotation. Dipoto notes that his team’s interest in signing Ohtani is so great that they’d be willing to play Nelson Cruz in the outfield a few times per week in order to free some DH at-bats for Ohtani on days he does not pitch.

    With or without Ohtani, the Mariners’ lineup will have a different composition next season. The first major move of Seattle’s offseason was to flip Emilio Pagan and 17-year-old shortstop Alexander Campos to the Athletics in a trade for Ryon Healy, who will be the team’s new first baseman. Dipoto praises Healy’s lengthy track record of hitting, dating back to A-ball and even into his amateur days, noting that the Mariners have had interest in him since 2016. While Healy’s lack of walks doesn’t necessarily fit this front office’s typical blueprint for an offensive player, the GM expresses confidence that his new acquisition will be a positive contributor.

    “Our ability to get on base may be a little more linked to the bat than we prefer, but he brings something that’s hard to find for us, and that’s cheap affordable power at a position that’s been difficult to fill,” says Dipoto. “…And that gives us one solution at an affordable rate with a player we hold for five more years — that allows us the ability to go focus our resources to fill needs in other areas.”

    While Healy will be penciled in as the primary first baseman, his ability to play third base if needed held some appeal to the Mariners as well. Generally speaking, Dipoto voices a preference to avoid a necessity to rely heavily on strict platoons. The team still relishes the idea of acquiring versatile players that can handle multiple positions as a means of retaining roster flexibility, but taking up two roster spots to field one position is somewhat of an inefficiency that the M’s would prefer to move away from.

    Seattle will also feature some changes in the bullpen, having traded Pagan and brought in right-hander Nick Rumbelow from the Yankees. Dipoto raves about Rumbelow’s performance in his return from Tommy John surgery this past season and praises him as a potential future setup man in the Seattle ’pen.

    Rumbelow isn’t the first near-MLB ready player the Mariners have plucked from the Yankees, and Seattle will undoubtedly hope that he pans out similarly well. Both outfielder Ben Gamel and left-hander James Pazos have established themselves in Seattle, so much so that Dipoto notes that he gets asked about Pazos more than any other player in trade talks.

    “You don’t find a lot of 26-year-old lefties who throw in the mid-90s, who are making close to league minimum, who have gone out and shown that they can be effective in the big leagues.”

    Again, the entire interview is an excellent listen, with Dipoto sharing scouting stories on Ohtani, trade anecdotes, insight into the Mariners’ roster composition and some general insight into the various motivations behind his most recent set of trades. Fans of the Mariners and other clubs alike should find plenty of interest in the lengthy chat between Dipoto and Goldsmith.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Free Agent Notes: Jay, Shaw, Frazier]]> 2017-11-22T21:17:59Z 2017-11-22T21:17:59Z Over at Fangraphs, Dave Cameron has identified his five best potential free agent values and, on the other hand, five most worrisome open-market landmines. Those posts are always interesting and are well worth a read as we wait for the market to get started in earnest.

    Here are a few free agent notes on Thanksgiving Eve:

    • The Mariners have engaged with free agent outfielder Jon Jay, according to’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link). It “seems as though there’s some momentum there,” he adds, while also cautioning that there isn’t a deal in place at present. Jay checked in just inside the top forty players on MLBTR’s ranking of the top fifty free agents, with a predicted contract of two years and $14MM. Last year, he slashed .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs while seeing time across the outfield. It seems unlikely that the left-handed hitter would command everyday time in Seattle, but might effectively step into the place in the rotation vacated by fellow free agent Jarrod Dyson.
    • It’s possible the Mets will “move[] soon” to add to their bullpen, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. He suggests right-handed free agent Bryan Shaw as a name to watch for the organization, which has indicated an interest in beefing up its relief corps in part to reduce the workload on a rotation that has dealt with health issues of late. Shaw, 30, is about as steady and reliable as relievers come. He carries a 3.13 lifetime ERA through 446 1/3 innings across seven seasons. Shaw has handled at least 64 frames in each of the past five campaigns and has never finished a season with an earned run average over 3.52 (last year’s mark). He has also paced the American League in appearances in three separate seasons for the Indians, including each of the past two. MLBTR rated Shaw the 25th-best free agent available and predicted he’d score a $21MM guarantee over three years, though there’s likely some contractual upside beyond that mark.
    • Though Todd Frazier has spent most of his career at third base and is still capable of manning the position, Feinsand reports that his representatives are pitching the veteran as an option at either infield corner. The 31-year-old Frazier turned in a solid 2017 campaign, split between the White Sox and Yankees, in which he posted a .213/.344/.428 batting line with 27 home runs. While that represented a big jump in the on-base department over his prior two seasons, Frazier also wasn’t quite as prolific in terms of power as he was after swatting 35 and 40 long balls in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Odds are that the team to sign Frazier will mostly value him as an option at third, particularly given that there are a fair number of other options available at first base, but the openness to both positions certainly won’t hurt his market outlook. Frazier landed ahead of the two players listed above on our free agent board, with a predicted three-year, $33MM contract placing him 17th on the list.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Hisashi Iwakuma Says He Is Weighing Offer To Return To Mariners]]> 2017-11-21T04:28:45Z 2017-11-21T04:25:39Z Veteran righty Hisashi Iwakuma told reporters in his native Japan that he is weighing an offer to return to the Mariners, as the Japan Times reports (h/t’s Greg Johns). The precise nature of the team’s proposal is not known.

    The 36-year-old Iwakuma says that, while there’s nothing official at the moment, he may “be able to make a positive announcement soon.” He added that he hopes to rehab his surgically repaired shoulder “in time for the start of the new season.”

    The 2017 campaign was more or less a total wash for Iwakuma, who turned in six mediocre starts before his shoulder put him on the shelf. He lost nearly three miles per hour on his average fastball while recording only 16 strikeouts and surrendering seven long balls in 31 frames.

    Seattle recently made the easy call to decline a $10MM club option over Iwakuma, preferring instead to pay him a $1MM buyout. That decision wrapped up the contract — a one-year pact with consecutive vesting/club options — that brought the veteran hurler back to the M’s after a physical scuttled a deal with the Dodgers in the 2015-16 offseason.

    As MLBTR’s Connor Byrne detailed in examining the Mariners’ offseason needs, the club has a variety of options on hand to fill out the staff. But while GM Jerry Dipoto has generally expressed satisfaction with the existing unit, there are plenty of questions — and opportunities — remaining in the rotation.

    Taking a low-risk shot on the respected Iwakuma would certainly be one way for the team to open the door to finding some quality innings. In 2016, Iwakuma turned in 199 innings of 4.12 ERA pitching. And he was quite a bit more productive in the four seasons before that, working to a cumulative 3.17 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 through 653 2/3 frames after moving to Seattle from Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles before the 2012 campaign. Regaining anything approaching that form, though, will obviously require a full return to health.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners Notes: Cruz, Righty Pitching]]> 2017-11-20T00:29:53Z 2017-11-20T00:29:53Z
  • The Mariners apparently aren’t planning to make Nelson Cruz available in trade talks, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  The newly-acquired Ryon Healy will be used at first base, leaving Cruz to his usual role as Seattle’s designated hitter.  A 37-year-old, DH-only player entering the final year of his contract would seem like a logical trade chip on paper, though Cruz has been such a valuable hitter for the M’s that moving him would be a questionable move for a team planning to contend in 2018.  Cruz has done nothing but rake since coming to Seattle three seasons ago, batting .292/.368/.557 with 126 homers over 1967 plate appearances.
  • Healy was acquired for Emilio Pagan, and between losing Pagan and fellow righty Thyago Vieria (in another deal with the White Sox), Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto told’s Greg Johns and other reporters that he feels his team was able to spare the arms.  “Right-handed bullpen is a place we felt we had a little depth, and we turned some of that depth into a first baseman, which was not an area we were quite as flush,” Dipoto said.  While the M’s were hit hard by injuries last year, they do have a number of rotation and bullpen options on hand, including several youngsters rising through the farm system.  (For a full overview of the Mariners’ pitching options, check out their roster page at Roster Resource.)
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Nick Rumbelow]]> 2017-11-19T05:04:14Z 2017-11-18T21:46:17Z The Mariners have announced that they’ve acquired right-hander Nick Rumbelow from the Yankees in exchange for a pair of minor league pitchers, left-hander JP Sears and righty Juan Then.

    It’s not an earth-shattering trade by any means, but it certainly does have at least one significant implication. The Yankees are facing a significant roster crunch that needs to be resolved by November 20th, which is the deadline to set rosters ahead of the Rule 5 Draft. As Josh Norris of Baseball America points out (subscription required and recommended), the Yankees only had two open spots on the 40-man as of Thursday, and have a number of players worth protecting. That list includes No. 3 overall prospect Gleyber Torres, along with Albert Abreu, Thairo Estrada, Domingo Acevedo and Billy McKinney. Trading Rumbelow, who was added to the 40-man roster on November 6th, doesn’t magically solve the Yankees’ Rule 5 dilemma, but it helps by clearing one more spot.

    This is the third trade to go down during the 2017-2018 offseason, and the Mariners have been involved in all three so far. Most recently, Seattle also acquired corner infielder Ryon Healy from the Athletics (link).

    [Related: Updated Mariners Depth Chart]

    Rumbelow has just 15 2/3 major league innings under his belt, all coming in relief during the 2015 season. The right-hander allowed seven runs and struck out 15 while walking five batters. He began the 2016 season at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre and pitched just one inning before suffering a UCL sprain and ultimately undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was subsequently designated for assignment in mid-November. However, it only took 11 1/3 solid minor league innings this past season to convince the Yankees to add him back to the 40-man.

    Sears, 21, was an 11th-round pick in this year’s draft out of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. The reliever struck out a whopping 49 batters across just 27 2/3 innings across two levels of the lower minors, including 17 innings in A-ball during which he didn’t allow a run.

    The 17-year-old Then was an international signing out of the Dominican Republic. Like Sears, his only professional season to date is 2017. The right-hander started 13 games for the Mariners’ Rookie affiliate, posting an excellent 2.64 ERA to go along with 8.22 K/9, 2.20 BB/9 and a 53% ground ball rate.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dipoto, Forst On Healy/Pagan Swap]]> 2017-11-16T20:30:58Z 2017-11-16T20:30:58Z
  • Forst told reporters following last night’s Healy trade that the Mariners first contacted the Athletics about Healy “right after” the regular season ended (link via’s Jane Lee). The two sides talked on and off over the past month, and Forst notes that right-hander Emilio Pagan, one of two players Oakland received in the deal, is someone they’ve tried to acquire from the Mariners in the past. “Once it was clear [Pagan] could be part of this deal, then we spent the last week or so trying to work it out,” said Forst. Lee notes that the A’s will continue to seek bullpen help and could place an emphasis on finding a left-handed reliever.
  • Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto also spoke with reporters following last night’s trade and firmly stated that Healy is expected to be the team’s regular first baseman (link via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times). “We are planning on Ryon playing first base in an every-day or near-every-day role or basis,” said Dipoto shortly after praising Healy’s all-fields power. “…He’s performed quite well against left-hand pitching. You saw a little bit of a dip against righties. But I think that’s the league adjusting to Ryon and now is his chance to adjust back.” Divish also has quotes from Healy about being traded and further quotes from Dipoto on the difficulty of informing Pagan that he’d been dealt.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Trade Thyago Vieira To White Sox For International Bonus Money]]> 2017-11-16T19:05:50Z 2017-11-16T19:03:36Z 1:03pm:’s Jonathan Mayo reports that the Mariners are picking up $500K in the trade (Twitter link). However, Mayo also notes that the previously reported sum of $1.57MM that the Mariners had to work with was incorrect. Seattle, according to Mayo, initially had just a bit north of $1MM remaining in their pool, so this trade pushes their remaining total to $1.5575MM.

    11:08am: The Mariners announced on Thursday that they’ve traded right-hander Thyago Vieira to the White Sox in exchange for international bonus money. The move opens a spot on Seattle’s 40-man roster in advance of next week’s deadline to set 40-man rosters for the Rule 5 Draft, and it also gives the Mariners some additional funds for the pursuit of Shohei Ohtani and other high-end international amateurs.

    The amount of money Seattle is receiving isn’t yet known, though international money must be traded in increments of $250K under the new collective bargaining agreement, so they’ll add at least that much to their pool. Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reported last week that Seattle’s bonus pool stood at $1.57MM, so they’ll add at least $250K to that sum. The Rangers ($3.535MM), Yankees ($3.25MM) and Twins ($3.245MM) still have the most to offer Ohtani, if he is indeed posted.

    In exchange for the additional funds, the White Sox will reel in an MLB-ready bullpen arm capable of reaching triple-digit velocity readings on his fastball with regularity. Vieira, 25 in January, pitched to an even 4.00 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A last season. While his strikeout numbers at those upper levels weren’t what they were in Class-A Advanced, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of still pegged Vieira eighth among Mariners farmhands, placing a true 80 grade his fastball and giving him a 55-grade (above-average) curveball as well. Vieira has struggled with control at times in the minors, though Callis and Mayo note that he comes with a closer’s ceiling if he can put everything together.

    For a White Sox club that traded David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings and Tyler Clippard this past summer, the addition of Vieira gives them an intriguing young piece with six years of club control if all pans out well.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Ryon Healy]]> 2017-11-16T02:18:58Z 2017-11-16T01:42:57Z The Mariners announced that they’ve acquired first baseman Ryon Healy from the division-rival Athletics in exchange for right-hander Emilio Pagan and minor league infielder Alexander Campos.

    Ryon Healy | Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

    Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto wasted little time in making his first significant move of the offseason, as Healy should now vault to the top of the Mariners’ depth chart at first base. Healy’s name has been oft-suggested as a trade candidate with the emergence of corner infielders Matt Chapman and Matt Olson in Oakland. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has reported on multiple occasions that the A’s would prefer to shift slugging left fielder Khris Davis to DH, and the move of Healy to Seattle allows Oakland to do just that. The A’s are reportedly on the hunt for a controllable, right-handed-hitting outfielder this offseason, and there’s now a more clear vacancy for them in left field.

    That, of course, is not to downplay the value of Healy, who comes to the Mariners with another five years of team control. The 25-year-old has belted 38 home runs through his first 888 plate appearances (221 games) with the A’s from the 2016-17 seasons. Healy hasn’t shown much plate discipline to go along with that pop (3.9 percent walk rate), but his overall .282/.313/.475 batting line is solid — especially considering the fact that he’s played half of his games in the spacious Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

    [Related: Updated Oakland Athletics Depth Chart and Seattle Mariners Depth Chart]

    While Healy originally came to the Majors as a third baseman, he quickly moved across the diamond to first base last season in Oakland after posting poor defensive ratings at the hot corner. He’s only played 307 innings of first base in the Majors, though Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating both peg him at about a run better than average there. Obviously, time will tell whether he’s capable of playing a plus first base over the course of a full season, but the Mariners typically place a premium on defense, so it seems that they’re confident in Healy’s ability to do so for the time being. (Designated hitter Nelson Cruz will be a free agent after this season, so Healy could theoretically slide into that spot next year if his glovework proves to be sub-par.)

    “Ryon brings a power bat to our line-up at first base, while providing the flexibility to play third base,” said Dipoto in a statement announcing the move. “He adds to a growing core of productive young players who impact our present and future.”

    The move has further ramifications for the Mariners, who have been linked to both Carlos Santana and Yonder Alonso early in the offseason but now seem largely set at first base. The move also further blocks Dan Vogelbach’s path to regular big league playing time, though the 25-year-old still has a minor league option remaining and can also factor in as a bat off the bench and/or a part-time first baseman and DH himself.

    Looking to the Atheltics’ side of the equation, they’ll not only free up a spot for the addition of a new left fielder, they’ll add an intriguing big league setup option to their bullpen in the form of Pagan. Set to turn 27 next May, Pagan logged a 3.22 ERA with 10.0 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 in 50 1/3 innings with the Mariners in 2016 — his rookie season.

    Those K/BB numbers are fairly jaw-dropping, though Pagan’s value last season was curbed by his susceptibility to home runs. While only 9.5 percent of his fly-balls left the yard for homers (well below the league average), Pagan is such an extreme fly-ball pitcher (22.3 percent ground-ball rate, 56.9 percent fly-ball rate) that he still yielded an average of 1.25 homers per nine innings pitched. Pagan has been a pronounced fly-ball pitcher throughout his minor league tenure, though never quite to that extreme, so it’s possible that he could cut back on his home run tendencies a bit moving forward.

    Because Pagan didn’t even make his big league debut until midway through the 2017 season, he fell shy of a full year of service time. That gives Oakland six years of control over him if he can indeed settle in as a regular in their bullpen. He also has two minor league options remaining, so the A’s can freely shuttle him back to Triple-A if he needs additional development time.

    As for Campos, the 17-year-old shortstop was rated as the No. 15 prospect in Seattle’s farm system per’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis. Campos signed for a $575K bonus with the Mariners in July 2016 and went on to bat .290/.413/.367 through 254 plate appearances in the Dominican Summer League this past season. Callis and Mayo praise his above-average speed and “advanced defensive skill set” in noting that while he’s a long ways from the Majors, he profiles as at least a reserve player with the possibility to grow into more as he continues to add strength and develop his offensive game.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Add Kirk Nieuwenhuis On Minor League Deal]]> 2017-11-15T01:17:47Z 2017-11-15T01:17:47Z
  • The Mariners have agreed to a minor league pact with veteran outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The 30-year-old received just 31 big league plate appearances in Milwaukee this past season but has been a frequent contributor with the Brewers and Mets dating back to the 2012 season. The Mariners are known to be on the lookout for center field depth with Jarrod Dyson’s potential departure, and Nieuwenhuis is capable of playing all three outfield spots. He’s a career .221/.311/.384 hitter in 1116 plate appearances at the big league level.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dipoto On Ohtani, Ichiro]]> 2017-11-14T23:09:44Z 2017-11-14T23:09:44Z Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto acknowledged to reporters at the GM Meetings that his club has interest in right-hander Shohei Ohtani, though like other GMs, his comments were mostly vague (link via Greg Johns and Joe Frisaro of “We, like 29 other clubs, have scouted him extensively,” said Dipoto. (Johns and Frisaro note that Dipoto and VP of scouting Tom Allison watched Ohtani pitch in Japan this past September.) “…He’s obviously an incredibly talented player and whoever gets him will be quite happy, I’m sure.” Dipoto wouldn’t comment on whether the team is giving serious consideration to a reunion with Ichiro Suzuki, who is now a free agent. While Dipoto suggested that Ichiro’s free agency “opens a door,” he went on to add that he’s “not entirely sure” it’d be a priority, given the team’s needs at first base, in center field and on the pitching staff.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Among Clubs That Have Reached Out To Lucas Duda]]> 2017-11-14T21:53:26Z 2017-11-14T20:51:52Z Some of the same teams to have looked into other free agent first basemen — the Red SoxAngels, and Mariners — have each contacted Lucas Duda as well, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). While he is arguably best served as a platoon option, it’s worth noting that Duda has generally been quite a productive offensive player and could represent a more affordable target than some other sluggers. The 31-year-old could turn into an excellent value if he’s able to approach the kind of output he sustained from 2014-15 and also demonstrated in the first half of the 2017 campaign.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Early Markets For Santana, Morrison Taking Shape]]> 2017-11-14T20:58:23Z 2017-11-14T19:40:44Z TODAY: The early interest in Santana is robust, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, who writes that Santana “is thought to be drawing interest from as many as 10 teams.”

    Among those reaching out to his representatives, per Heyman, are the Angels as well as two eyebrow-raising NL East clubs: the Mets and Phillies. The New York franchise has had its moments of frustration with Dominic Smith, though it would remain surprising to see him blocked entirely by a player that likely can’t be utilized anywhere other than first base. Mike Puma of the New York Post does tweet, though, that the club could send Smith back to Triple-A and eventually shop him. And the Phillies would appear to be set at first with Rhys Hoskins, though he could in theory be shifted to the corner outfield after experimenting there last year. (Of course, the team has other young players in the outfield and indications are that the preference is not to disturb that mix.)

    YESTERDAY: The Red Sox have an obvious hole at first base in their lineup, and they’re set to begin the preliminary stages of filling that vacancy at this week’s GM Meetings. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets that Boston will sit down with Carlos Santana’s agents at Octagon, while Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that the Sox have also lined up a meeting with Logan Morrison’s representatives at ISE Baseball.

    Boston isn’t alone in eyeing that pair, however. Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels are considering a run at Morrison as they look to add some left-handed punch to their lineup. Morrison is one of multiple players on Anaheim’s radar, Fletcher notes.

    Meanwhile, the Mariners have interest in bringing Santana into the fold, according to’s Jon Morosi (on Twitter). There have yet to be any “substantial” discussions between the two sides, Morosi cautions (as one would expect this early in the offseason), but first base is a definite area of need for the Mariners. Seattle saw both Yonder Alonso and Danny Valencia hit free agency when the season ended, and while Dan Vogelbach represents an internal option, he’s not considered to be a strong defender.

    Santana, 32 in April, is widely considered to be one of the best first basemen available on the free-agent market this offseason. While he wouldn’t necessarily provide the huge power bat that many Sox fans covet — he belted a career-high 34 homers in 2016 but saw that mark fall to a more typical 23 homers in 2017 — Santana is an on-base machine who has also worked himself into one of the premier defensive first basemen in the league.

    A switch-hitter, Santana batted .259/.363/.455 this past season and has never posted an OBP south of .351 in a season. Santana has walked at a 15.2 percent clip in his career against just a 17 percent strikeout rate (13.2 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively, in 2017). Originally a catcher, Santana eventually moved off the position to first base and has built up a quality reputation there. He was a Gold Glove finalist this past season after registering a +10 Defensive Runs Saved mark and a +4.8 Ultimate Zone Rating. The Indians made a qualifying offer to Santana, so he’d cost the Red Sox their second-highest pick in next year’s draft as well as $500K of their international signing pool. The Mariners would have a lighter penalty, only surrendering their third-highest pick.

    As for Morrison, he’s a younger option that’ll play most of next season at the age of 30. A longtime top prospect, Morrison’s career never fully took off as hoped in either Miami or in Seattle. However, he rebounded from a slow start with the Rays last year to hit .275/.350/.498 with 14 homers over his final 303 plate appearances before a wrist injury ended his season.

    Morrison returned to the Rays as a free agent on a one-year, $2.5MM contract this past offseason and proved to be one of the top bargains in all of baseball. In 601 plate appearances, Morrison posted a .246/.353/.516 line and 38 homers while receiving slightly above-average marks from DRS and UZR himself (+1 from each metric). He doesn’t come with the platoon issues that many left-handed hitters carry, either, as he hammers right-handed opponents and has been a bit above average against lefties over the past two years. Including his strong finish in 2016, Morrison has raked at a .256/.352/.510 pace (130 wRC+) with an 11.8 percent walk rate and a 23.1 percent strikeout rate in 904 plate appearances.

    Despite that huge season, the budget-conscious Rays opted not to extend a QO to Morrison. Tampa Bay had already extended a QO to righty Alex Cobb and surely didn’t relish the notion of taking the risk, however small, of two players accepting one-year salaries worth $17.4MM. Morrison now benefits from that decision, though, as he won’t require interested parties to surrender a draft pick or international money upon signing.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners "Highly Unlikely" To Bring Back Ichiro]]> 2017-11-11T00:40:17Z 2017-11-11T00:38:48Z
  • The Mariners are “highly unlikely” to reunite with free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, Greg Johns of hears. While Ichiro established himself as a Mariners legend during his time with the club from 2001-12, bringing the 44-year-old back would go against the team’s plans to get younger, Johns notes. It’s also unclear how much the future Hall of Famer has left at this point, given that he slashed a paltry .255/.318/.332 in 215 plate appearances with the Marlins this past season. That subpar output led the Fish to decline Ichiro’s inexpensive team option ($2MM).
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Could Be In Mix For Jay Bruce]]> 2017-11-10T01:49:27Z 2017-11-09T22:22:29Z
  • Jay Bruce’s camp is reportedly setting its sights high and asking for a five-year deal worth $80-90MM, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported yesterday. High asking price notwithstanding, Heyman reports today in his weekly notes column that the Blue Jays, Giants, Mariners and Cardinals are four potential landing spots for Bruce in free agency. Heyman notes that Bruce should be able to comfortably land a three-year commitment that could price him out of the comfort zones of the Mets and the Indians.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Shohei Otani]]> 2017-11-08T20:25:06Z 2017-11-08T19:31:12Z 2:23pm: There’s a “tentative understanding” in place simply to extend the prior posting regime for another year, Sherman reports. The MLBPA has yet to weigh in on the subject, though, and there’s still not a final deal in place.

    1:31pm: In the wake of Shohei Otani’s decision to hire a MLBPA-certified player representative, it seems that there’ll be a renewed push to figure out a way to resolve the impasse that has threatened to derail his planned move to the majors. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that there’s a sense that the move will help facilitate an agreement that all involved will approve.

    Indeed, Otani’s reps at CAA are scheduled to “meet soon” with the player’s association to attempt to get on the same page in an effort to sort things out, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets. That’s just the first step here, of course, as Otani and the MLBPA will still need to engage with Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball — the two entities that are primarily negotiating a new system governing inter-league player transfers.

    The difficulties here are tied to two factors: first, MLB’s rules capping international bonuses on certain younger international free agents; and second, the expiration of the prior posting system. There was a time when Otani’s current team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, might have auctioned Otani’s negotiating rights for something approaching or even exceeding nine figures while Otani might have commanded a guarantee of as much or more. Under the just-expired transfer system, the Fighters would at least have stood to receive the maximum allowable $20MM fee. But that’s no longer how things work.

    The transfer rules currently under contemplation would do away with the (up-to) $20MM flat-fee approach in favor of one that would allow the NPB team to earn a percentage of the bonus the posted player negotiates. If Otani was free to seek his market value, that wouldn’t likely pose a problem. But his earnings are now severely limited; while he is evidently at peace with that, his would-be former team is obviously not enamored of the possibility of losing its best player for what would be relative peanuts.

    Under MLB’s current international rules, MLB clubs can’t go past their international spending pools (as supplemented via trade) to sign Otani. Those are even more limited than might be realized, though, due to teams’ preexisting commitments with young international players. (This was already known, of course, though the details remained fuzzy.)

    According to a report from the Associated Press, only six teams even have enough uncommitted pool space to offer Otani seven figures. The Rangers ($3.535MM), Yankees ($3.25MM), and Twins ($3.245MM) easily lead the way, with the Pirates ($2.2MM+), Marlins ($1.74MM), and Mariners ($1.57MM+) also have some money to spend — or, perhaps, to trade to a would-be Otani suitor. For someone who is expected to be an immediate and significant contributor at the major-league level, that’s a pittance no matter the precise amount. Of course, he’ll also have a chance to make significant income off the field and through a future extension or trip through arbitration.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Outright Zach Vincej]]> 2017-11-07T19:17:58Z 2017-11-07T19:17:58Z The Mariners have outrighted infielder Zach Vincej to Triple-A, per a club announcement. He had only recently been claimed off waivers from the Reds.

    Clearly, Seattle hoped all along to grab and stash the 26-year-old infielder. He has seen brief action at the game’s highest level and could be a depth option in 2018. Perhaps the M’s also like his chances to build upon his first run at Triple-A, when he posted a .270/.325/.370 slash.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Rumors: Dyson, Alonso]]> 2017-11-05T03:41:36Z 2017-11-05T03:41:36Z
  • The Mariners would like to retain impending free agent center fielder Jarrod Dyson, but his age (33) might stand in the way of them giving him a multiyear deal and lead to his exit, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. First baseman Yonder Alonso could return, on the other hand, considering both the Mariners’ need at the position and general manager Jerry Dipoto’s assessment of the late-season trade acquisition’s performance in Seattle. “He plays a pretty solid first base. I think he gave us a presence after we got beyond the middle of our order,” Dipoto said of Alonso, who batted .265/.353/.439 in 150 plate appearances after coming over from Oakland. While the M’s are open to keeping Alonso, he’ll be part of “a pretty flush class of free-agent first baseman,” according to Dipoto, who added that “there are a lot of different options for us, and we want to make sure that we’re maximizing our potential at that position.”
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Claim Zach Vincej From Reds]]> 2017-11-03T19:16:39Z 2017-11-03T19:13:10Z The Mariners announced that they’ve claimed infielder Zach Vincej off waivers from the Reds. Their 40-man roster now stands at 37 players.

    Vincej, 26, was the 1132nd pick of the 2012 draft — all the way down the board in the 37th round. He’s slowly risen through the minor league ranks and had a huge performance in last year’s Arizona Fall League before hitting .270/.325/.370 in his first taste of Triple-A this year. Vincej made his big league debut as a September call-up this season and went 1-for-9 with a walk and five strikeouts in just 12 plate appearances. He comes with a solid defensive reputation at shortstop but didn’t rank among Cincinnati’s top prospects. He’ll provide some middle infield depth for the Mariners if he sticks with the organization this offseason.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Claim Andrew Romine From Tigers]]> 2017-11-02T19:12:22Z 2017-11-02T18:39:10Z The Mariners announced that they’ve claimed infielder/outfielder Andrew Romine off waivers from the Tigers. He would’ve had the opportunity to elect free agency had he not been claimed. Seattle’s 40-man roster is now at 35 players after also declining options on Hisashi Iwakuma and Yovani Gallardo.

    Romine, 32 in December, has been one of the Tigers’ most versatile players in recent years. He’s played all over the diamond for Detroit since coming over from the Angels, including a game at the end of the 2017 season in which he played all nine spots on the field. Despite that Swiss-army-knife-esque profile, though, Romine hasn’t drawn strong reviews from defensive metrics for his infield work, though he has been viewed more favorably in a smallish sample of work in the outfield.

    The benefit the Tigers see in his defensive flexibility clearly was outweighed by his lack of offensive production and projected arbitration price point, however. Romine batted just .233/.289/.336 through 348 plate appearances this season and has hit .236/.293/.313 (66 OPS+) overall in parts of four years with the Tigers. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected him to earn $1.9MM via arbitration.

    It remains to be seen if the Mariners will keep Romine on the 40-man roster all winter, but he’s presently a candidate to compete with Taylor Motter for a utility role next spring.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Decline Options On Iwakuma, Gallardo]]> 2017-11-02T18:52:43Z 2017-11-02T18:24:18Z The Mariners announced on Thursday that they’ve declined their club options over right-handers Hisashi Iwakuma ($10MM) and Yovani Gallardo ($13MM). Their 40-man spots have gone to right-hander David Phelps and left-hander Drew Smyly, who have been reinstated from the 60-day disabled list.

    Iwakuma, 37 in April, has spent his entire six-year MLB career with the Mariners.  Two years ago, he was on the verge of a free agent contract with the Dodgers before they backed out, resulting in Iwakuma returning to Seattle on a one-year deal with a vesting option.  The option for 2017 did vest, but the righty made only six starts this year before succumbing to a shoulder injury.  While the injury was not initially thought to be a season-ender, Iwakuma never made it back to a big league mound and wound up having arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September.  The procedure has at least a five-month recovery time and it appears he does plan to continue pitching.

    Gallardo, a longtime Brewer, was traded by the Orioles to the Mariners in January for Seth Smith.  Gallardo failed to rebound from his ugly 2016 season, posting even worse numbers this year and earning a temporary bullpen banishment in June.  The 31-year-old righty managed only five quality starts in 22 tries.  Both Iwakuma and Gallardo may be relegated to minor league deals this winter.

    According to Bob Dutton of The News Tribune in an October article, “The Mariners’ rotation next year, at this point, projects as James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Mike Leake and two from a collection that includes Erasmo Ramirez, Ariel Miranda, Marco Gonzales and Andrew Moore.”  Dutton noted that the Mariners will be one of the many teams pursuing Shohei Otani, should he come over, but otherwise the team may not necessarily pursue a rotation upgrade.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Outright Casey Lawrence]]> 2017-10-31T22:28:21Z 2017-10-31T22:28:21Z The Mariners announced that right-hander Casey Lawrence has cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Tacoma, thus reducing the team’s 40-man roster to a count of 39. The veteran of eight minor league seasons can reject in favor of free agency.

    Lawrence, 30, joined the Blue Jays organization in 2010 after going undrafted and ultimately worked his way to the Major Leagues for the first time in 2017. Toronto brought Lawrence to the Majors in early April but designated him for assignment a month later, leading to a waiver claim by the Mariners. Lawrence was up and down in Seattle for much of the season, totaling 42 innings out of the Seattle bullpen and working to a combined 55 1/3 big league innings between the two organizations. Lawrence struggled to a 6.34 ERA overall thanks to his susceptibility to home runs, though he averaged a more encouraging 9.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 with the Mariners.

    In parts of four seasons in Triple-A, working primarily as a starter, Lawrence has logged a 3.99 ERA with 6.3 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners Claim David Freitas From Braves]]> 2017-10-27T18:33:28Z 2017-10-27T18:10:30Z The Mariners have claimed catcher David Freitas off waivers from the Braves, as per a team press release.  Right-hander Rob Whalen has also been reinstated to Seattle’s 40-man roster, thus filling every available spot on the 40-man.

    Freitas was originally a 15th-round pick for the Nationals in the 2010 draft, and he has since been part of two notable trades (from Washington to Oakland for Kurt Suzuki in August 2012 and then from the A’s to the Orioles as a PTBNL in the Jim Johnson deal in December 2013) and also been selected by the Cubs in the Rule 5 draft.  No matter the organization, Freitas has hit well in his pro career, with a .272/.358/.414 slash line over 2665 career minor league plate appearances.  Freitas made his big league debut this past season, appearing in six games for Atlanta.

    With Carlos Ruiz hitting free agency, the Mariners could see Freitas as a candidate for the backup catcher’s job; Mike Marjama is currently the top choice on the depth chart behind starter Mike Zunino.  At the very least, Freitas gives the M’s additional catching and first base depth in the minors.

    Whalen also came to Seattle from Atlanta, coming to the Mariners along with Max Povse in exchange for Alex Jackson and Tyler Pike last December.  Whalen appeared in just two games at the MLB level for Seattle in a season marked by several shuttles to and from Triple-A Tacoma, where he made just 10 starts.  His year began with a month-long DL stint due to a sore shoulder and Whalen didn’t appear in another game after being placed on the team’s restricted list in early July due to undisclosed personal issues.  In addition to 32 big league innings with the Mariners and Braves, Whalen has a 2.99 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 2.59 K/BB rate over 413 career innings in the minors.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Kapler, Wathan Among Finalists For Phillies Manager]]> 2017-10-27T12:05:34Z 2017-10-27T12:05:36Z The Phillies have an opening in the dugout after surprisingly removing Pete Mackanin from that role and transitioning him to a front office role. Philadelphia had extended Mackanin just four months earlier, making the decision all the more unexpected. We’ll track the majority of the managerial chatter pertaining to the Phils here over the course of the search and update accordingly as the hunt progresses…


    • If the Phillies opt for a manager with Major League experience,’s Buster Olney tweets that the “industry expectation” is that John Farrell will get the job.
    •’s Todd Zolecki reports that Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler is also a finalist for the position, along with Wathan. Both impressed the Phils with their first interviews, and it sounds as if the Philadelphia brass will conduct one more round of interviews with this pair (and any other yet-unknown finalists) before making a final decision.
    • The Phillies are “zeroing in” on Triple-A skipper Dusty Wathan for the job, per Nightengale (via Twitter). He’ll join Kapler, at the least, in a second wave of interviews. Wathan only briefly cracked the majors as a player, but has once again climbed the minor-league ladder since moving to the coaching ranks with the Phillies back in 2008.

    Will Interview/Have Interviewed (Still Under Consideration)

    • Recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell interviewed for the position on Oct. 25, reports Zolecki. It’s not yet clear whether Farrell’s sitdown with the Phils will result in another interview.
    • Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler is also slated for an interview, as Zolecki reports. Kapler took his position with Los Angeles after missing on the team’s managerial opening, but has continued to be cited as a possible candidate elsewhere ever since.
    • The Phillies already have one strong internal candidate in Jorge Velandia, reports Jim Salisbury of Currently a special assistant to GM Matt Klentak, Velandia interviewed for the opening on Wednesday and is a “strong candidate,” according to Salisbury, though other interviews are sure to be conducted with external candidates. Nonetheless, Salisbury writes that the 42-year-old Velandia is well versed in player development and has embraced the analytical side of the game. His work with Klentak and the rest of the front office should bode well for communication. He’s spent time on the Phillies’ big league coaching staff in the past and has also spent six seasons as a manager in the Venezuelan Winter League.
    • Current Phillies third base coach Juan Samuel has also interviewed for the opening, as Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Daily News recently reported. Samuel, 56, has been on the Phillies’ coaching staff since 2011 after coming over from the Orioles, where he worked with Andy MacPhail, who was then the Orioles’ president and now holds that same role with the Phillies. Samuel spoke to Brookover about his own openness to incorporating more data-driven decisions into on-field decisions. “If you have something available to you that gives you an advantage over other clubs, you should definitely use it,” he said.
    • Both Salisbury and Brookover list Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan as another internal candidate that is expected to interview. It’s not known yet whether the 44-year-old has interviewed, but he’s spent the past 10 seasons managing at various levels throughout the Phillies’ system, so he obviously has plenty of familiarity with the Phillies’ homegrown players and a number of the front office execs that have been with the club for an extended period of time.

    Preliminary Candidates (Interview Status Unknown)

    • The Phillies have spoken with Mariners third base coach Manny Acta, Jon Heyman of FanRag writes (and clarifies on Twitter). Acta, who managed the Nationals from 2007-09 and the Indians from 2010-12, was in the running for the Mets’ job before it went to Mickey Callaway.
    • In addition to a few of the other names already covered here, Heyman hears that the Phils have some level of interested in Red Sox bench coach Gary DiSarcina and possibly former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. Boston is in the midst of its own managerial hiring process, with the club leaving coaches like DiSarcina free to explore their options with other organizations.
    • The Phillies are interested in speaking to Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond, per Heyman. There’s been no definitive word of an interview, but the former Marlins manager has been building his dugout resume since calling it quits as a player back in 2010. At 46, he’d give the Phillies a considerably younger voice than they’ve had under recent skippers like Mackanin, Ryne Sandberg and Charlie Manuel.

    Not in the Mix/No Longer in Consideration

    • Ryan Lawrence of reported recently that the Phillies won’t consider bench coach Larry Bowa or former GM Ruben Amaro Jr. for the post. Klentak has stated a desire for a “new voice” and a “new style” in the dugout, Lawrence notes, which wouldn’t be accomplished with the 71-year-old Bowa. As for Amaro, while he’d been previously connected to the role and is reportedly on the Tigers’ radar, Lawrence definitively characterized the chances of Amaro being on the team’s radar as nonexistent.
    • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Phil Nevin is no longer in the running after interviewing recently. FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that Athletics third base coach Chip Hale, who also interviewed for the Philadelphia vacancy, has been eliminated from the running as well.
    • Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway interviewed for the post but has since been hired as the new manager of the Mets.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dipoto On Chris Taylor Regrets]]> 2017-10-27T05:53:57Z 2017-10-27T05:18:43Z Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto understandably regrets the deal that sent Chris Taylor to the Dodgers,telling Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times that “it’s clearly the worst deal I’ve ever made.” The veteran baseball executive surely had little reason to expect Taylor to break through as he has, but he still says he “whiffed” by parting with such a controllable player for a pitcher (Zach Lee) that has not worked out.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Outright Ryan Garton]]> 2017-10-26T19:36:41Z 2017-10-26T19:36:41Z The Mariners announced Thursday that right-hander Ryan Garton has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Tacoma, thus removing him from the 40-man roster.

    Garton, 28 in December, was acquired from the Rays alongside catcher Mike Marjama in a minor August swap. Garton actually pitched rather well following his trade to Seattle, tossing 11 2/3 frames and allowing just two runs (1.54 ERA) on five hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. He averaged an even 92 mph on his heater to go along with a 41.2 percent ground-ball rate. All told, Garton has a career 4.55 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 44 percent ground-ball rate in 61 1/3 Major League innings. Presumably, he’ll compete for a spot in the Seattle bullpen next spring.