Seattle Mariners – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-02-20T14:02:28Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Kyle Seager Discusses Trade Rumors]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190947 2020-02-20T07:05:22Z 2020-02-20T07:05:22Z
  • Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager was the subject of trade rumors over the winter, when “a handful of teams” discussed him with the M’s, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. Seager has stayed put to this point, and he’s now the longest-tenured player on Seattle’s roster, though he realizes a deal could still come together. The 32-year-old admitted to Divish that a trade remains “a definite possibility.” Seager enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2019, but he’s still owed $37MM over the next two years. His contract also includes a 2022 $15MM club option that will turn into a player option if he’s dealt, which could help stand in the way of a trade.
  • ]]>
    18
    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Cody Anderson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190545 2020-02-17T23:43:53Z 2020-02-17T23:42:43Z FEBRUARY 17, 5:42pm: Cowgill’s signing has also been announced, along with the previously reported deal with Carlos Gonzalez.

    11:13am: Seattle has announced its deal with Anderson. Cowgill’s deal has yet to be finalized, it seems.

    FEBRUARY 15: The Mariners are nearing agreements with right-hander Cody Anderson and outfielder Collin Cowgill, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). Once finalized, both players will get invitations to MLB spring training on minor-league pacts, Divish adds.

    Anderson, 29, had spent his entire career in the Indians’ organization. He had an impressive run in Cleveland in 2015, working to a 3.05 ERA in 91.1 innings across 15 starts. His 12.1% strikeout rate that season suggested that level of run prevention was a mirage, but he limited walks and airborne contact and looked to have a shot at sticking in the back of Cleveland’s rotation. That never came to fruition, as Anderson was bombed in limited action the following year and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery in March 2017. That procedure largely wiped out his next two seasons.

    While Anderson returned to the mound in 2019, he was mostly limited to minor-league duty in the season’s first half. Another elbow surgery- this time to repair his flexor tendon- last July marked the end of his tenure in Cleveland. Anderson is taking his physical with the Seattle organization today, Divish reports. Assuming all goes well, he may take a shot at cracking a Mariners’ rotation that could also feature injury returnees Kendall Graveman and Taijuan Walker. Alternatively, he could be an option for a Seattle bullpen lacking much certainty.

    As for Cowgill, the 34-year-old is hoping to crack the majors for the first time since 2016. He’s largely made the rounds at Triple-A the past half-decade with middling results. Last season, he took 280 plate appearances for the Nationals’ top affiliate and hit .228/.330/.440. In 759 MLB plate appearances over parts of six seasons, Cowgill has compiled a .234/.297/.329 line (79 wRC+).

    ]]>
    46
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mitch Haniger Undergoes Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190382 2020-02-14T11:25:00Z 2020-02-14T05:09:50Z 11:09pm: Haniger underwent a discectomy, which “removes part or the whole intervertebral disc,” Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes.

    8:50pm: Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger underwent surgery on Thursday, Jeff Passan of ESPN reports. It’s the second procedure Haniger has undergone since he had core surgery three weeks ago. It’s unclear when he’ll be able to come back, but there will be a significant delay to the start of his season, according to Passan.

    Haniger was already set to miss a major chunk of time after his previous surgery. As of Jan. 23, he was supposed to sit out six to eight weeks, which would’ve kept him out for at least the beginning of the season. Last week, though, general manager Jerry Dipoto didn’t seem sure when the Mariners would get Haniger back, saying, “We have no expectation on his timeline until we actually see him live [at Spring Training].”

    Dipoto didn’t rule out an early season return or a mid-year debut for Haniger, and now uncertainty continues to abound in his case. It’s awful news for Haniger, who already missed 99 games in 2019, as well as a Mariners team that will have to continue trudging on without arguably its best player.

    While the 29-year-old Haniger wasn’t as productive in 2019 as he was during the previous two seasons, in which he posted star-caliber offensive production, he still put up above-average numbers at the plate. His batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage experienced precipitous drops, but Haniger’s .220/.314/.463 line in 283 plate appearances was nonetheless 6 percent better than the MLB mean, per FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric.

    Had he gone through a healthy offseason, Haniger – who has three years of team control left – could have served as an appealing trade chip for the Mariners. That’s obviously not going to happen in the near future, though, and it’s now up in the air whether he’ll have much of a chance to rebuild his value before this July’s trade deadline.

    ]]>
    51
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Taijuan Walker Discusses Mariners Return]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190369 2020-02-14T02:28:17Z 2020-02-14T02:28:17Z
  • Taijuan Walker is back with the Mariners after signing a one-year deal with the club worth $2MM in guaranteed money, rejoining the team that originally drafted him in 2010 and, after four MLB seasons, dealt him to the Diamondbacks in the 2016-17 offseason.  Looking back on his initial stint with the M’s, “I had a lot of stuff to learn,” Walker told the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish and other media.  “I don’t think I did very good job here of doing what I need to do become the best pitcher I could be.  I definitely slacked off and just didn’t put the work in.”  The trade inspired Walker to work harder in Arizona, plus he was further motivated by “good vets that kept on me — just having Zack Greinke over there, a bunch of guys who were really hungry and ready to work.”  It could be said that Walker’s injury problems have also aided in the maturity process, as the right-hander has tossed only 14 innings totals over the 2018-19 seasons due to both Tommy John surgery and shoulder issues.  The need to re-acclimate himself to pitching played a role in Walker’s decision to sign with Seattle, since “I’m comfortable here.  I haven’t pitched in two years, so I wanted somewhere where I can come in and kind of take my time.  I don’t have to rush.”  Another positive factor was the Mariners’ hire of Kyle Torgerson as head athletic trainer, as Torgerson previously worked for the Diamondbacks and is already familiar with Walker.  “I’m comfortable with him.  He knows my body.  He knows what I have to do to stay healthy,” Walker said.
  • ]]>
    28
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Taijuan Walker]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190198 2020-02-12T23:13:44Z 2020-02-12T23:10:48Z 5:10pm: The Mariners have announced Walker’s return to Seattle. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Austin L. Adams was placed on the 60-day injured list. The 28-year-old Adams — not to be confused with Austin D. Adams, who signed a minor league deal with the Twins earlier this winter — underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL last October.

    12:59pm: It’s a one-year, $2MM deal, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter). The pact also comes with another $1MM available in incentive money.

    12:42pm: All indications are that the Mariners have or soon will reach an agreement to bring back former hurler Taijuan Walker. The free agent was spotted in Seattle’s camp and has since posted a rather suggestive tweet about his next destination.

    Previous indication was that the M’s had a standing MLB offer out to Walker. Other clubs were also in pursuit; he had recently put on a showcase for the Cubs, for instance. As it turns out, the 27-year-old will return to where he got his start. The Mariners chose him with the 43rd overall pick of the 2010 draft and called him up to the majors for the first time in 2013. Walker never quite came into his own in Seattle but did have two productive campaigns. He ended up being dealt away — one of many players spun off in recent seasons by GM Jerry Dipoto.

    The Diamondbacks got some good work from Walker, including 157 1/3 innings of 3.49 ERA ball in 2017, before losing him to Tommy John surgery. A year later, his rehab from said operation was slowed by a strained shoulder capsule that ultimately wiped out nearly all of his 2019 campaign. Although Walker made it back to the MLB mound late in 2019, the Snakes decided it wasn’t worth the investment of one more arbitration-eligible season to bring him back.

    Health permitting, it seems that Walker will now slide into the fifth spot of a Seattle rotation that’ll also include Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield and fellow offseason pickup/Tommy John returnee Kendall Graveman. There’s a good deal of upside in the second through fifth slots in the rotation behind the quietly solid Gonzales, but the Seattle rotation is also rife with uncertainty.

    Depth options such as Justin Dunn, Erik Swanson, Nick Margevicius and Nestor Cortes Jr. could all get some run in 2020, be it do to injuries within the big league staff or merely poor performance. Non-roster options who could head to Triple-A if they don’t break camp with the club include veteran Wei-Yin Chen and former top prospect Manny Banuelos, each of whom signed minor league deals this winter.

    ]]>
    75
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Manny Banuelos To Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190082 2020-02-11T23:28:01Z 2020-02-11T23:28:01Z The Mariners announced Tuesday that they’ve signed left-hander Manny Banuelos to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League camp in Spring Training.

    Banuelos, 29 next month, once ranked as one of baseball’s premier pitching prospects but has been persistently hampered by injuries. The southpaw has undergone Tommy John surgery, another operation to remove bone spurs from his elbow and more recently been plagued by shoulder troubles. Banuelos did log 50 2/3 innings with the White Sox in 2019, but he was knocked around to the tune of a 6.93 ERA with an ugly 44-to-33 K/BB ratio and 12 home runs allowed.

    That was only the second season in which the once-vaunted lefty has pitched in the big leagues. Despite a lack of success at baseball’s top level, though, Banuelos has notched a career 3.98 ERA in 376 innings of Triple-A work, averaging 8.4 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 along the way. Seattle still isn’t certain how it’ll round out the back of the rotation, so Banuelos will compete for a spot either in the fifth rotation slot or in the bullpen this sprin

    ]]>
    14
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners To Sign Carlos Gonzalez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190051 2020-02-11T19:43:56Z 2020-02-11T19:32:53Z The Mariners have agreed to a minor league contract with three-time All-Star Carlos Gonzalez, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). The 34-year-old Boras Corporation client has been invited to Major League Spring Training and would earn $750K if he cracks the big league roster.

    A star-caliber player with the Rockies from 2010-16, Gonzalez is now three full seasons removed from his last above-average year at the plate by measure of park-adjusted metrics like OPS+ and wRC+. Dating back to Opening Day 2017, he’s slashed .260/.328/.423 in 1204 plate appearances with the Rockies, Indians and Cubs — including a .200/.289/.283 output in 166 plate appearances in 2019. Both Cleveland and Chicago released Gonzalez during the 2019 season.

    That said, Gonzalez is a perfectly sensible roll of the dice for the Mariners, who’ll be without right fielder Mitch Haniger early in the season due to his recent core surgery. The Mariners figure to have Mallex Smith in center field in 2020, with rising prospect Kyle Lewis likely tabbed for left field duties. In right, they’ll take a look at Jake Fraley, Braden Bishop, recent waiver claim Jose Siri and now CarGo as they look to bridge the gap to Haniger’s return to the roster.

    From 2010-16, Gonzalez posted a very strong .296/.353/.535 slash with 184 home runs, 197 doubles and 28 triples in 3714 plate appearances. Along the way, he racked up an even 1000 hits in total and captured three Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Sluggers and a National League batting title (.336 in 2010). It’s obviously doubtful that he’s capable of anything approaching that peak form, but the Mariners will take a free look at what Gonzalez has left in the tank this spring.

    ]]>
    69
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Outright Matt Festa]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189920 2020-02-10T19:20:23Z 2020-02-10T19:20:23Z The Mariners announced that right-hander Matt Festa went unclaimed on waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Nashville. He’s been invited to Major League Spring Training as a non-roster player.

    The 26-year-old Festa made his MLB debut with the Mariners in 2018 and has pitched a total of 30 2/3 innings of relief since that time. To this point in his relatively young career, Festa has managed a 4.70 ERA with a 25-to-14 K/BB ratio and a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate in the Majors.

    Festa, a seventh-round pick back in 2016, has averaged about 93 mph on his four-seamer — rather pedestrian among relievers in today’s game — but the righty’s success in both Double-A and Triple-A could earn him another look with the Mariners in the future. The Seattle bullpen is short on proven assets and could feature a Rule 5 pick (Yohan Ramirez) as well as several out-of-options hurlers to begin the season (Matt Magill, Sam Tuivailala, Dan Altavilla and offseason pickup Carl Edwards Jr.). That could be a recipe for a fair bit of in-season turnover, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to Festa back in Seattle at some point this summer, particularly if he’s able to continue his strong upper-minors production.

    ]]>
    10
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Have “Standing Offer” To Taijuan Walker]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189891 2020-02-10T13:41:47Z 2020-02-10T13:41:47Z The Mariners have a “standing offer” of a one-year deal to free-agent right-hander Taijuan Walker, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Divish adds that the 27-year-old Walker has offers from a “handful” of clubs and is mulling which presents him with the best opportunity.

    There’s a clear opening in the Seattle rotation behind Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield and offseason signee Kendall Graveman, and Walker has plenty of familiarity with the Seattle organization. The Mariners selected him with the No. 43 pick of the 2010 draft, and Walker threw the first 357 innings of his big league career as a member of the Mariners before being sent to Arizona (alongside Ketel Marte) in a trade that sent both Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura to Seattle. Walker started 25 games for the Mariners in 2016 — the team’s first season under manager Scott Servais.

    The Twins have also been linked to Walker, although they’ve since added righty Kenta Maeda in a trade with the Dodgers, and it’s not clear if that swap has curbed their interest. Notably, however, Minnesota does have an open spot on its 40-man roster (barring the inclusion of a second 40-man player from the Dodgers in that yet-unofficial trade). Walker also threw in front of nearly two dozen scouts recently; paired with Divish’s note on the righty sifting through a “handful” of offers, it’s clear that the Mariners still have some competition for his services regardless of where things stand with the Twins’ reported interest.

    Walker has pitched just 14 innings in the past two seasons due to Tommy John surgery and a strained shoulder capsule, but he did make it back to a big league mound in the final game of the 2019 season, when he touched 94mph with his heater and tallied a strikeout in his lone (scoreless) inning of work. In his last full season, Walker tossed 157 1/3 innings with a 3.49 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate.

    Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has been open about his expectation of further additions to the team’s rotation mix. Since making those comments, he’s signed Wei-Yin Chen to a minor league deal and claimed left-hander Nick Margevicius off waivers from the Padres. Either could factor into a camp competition for the fifth spot in the rotation (along with Justin Dunn and perhaps Erik Swanson), but Dipoto has yet to acquire someone who’s a clear plug-in option for that fifth rotation spot. Walker would fit that bill as well as (if not better than) any remaining unsigned starting pitcher.

    ]]>
    35
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cardinals Claim Ricardo Sanchez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189553 2020-02-06T20:08:38Z 2020-02-06T19:48:01Z The Cardinals have claimed left-hander Ricardo Sanchez off waivers from the Mariners, as announced by both teams.  Infielder Ramon Urias was designated for assignment by St. Louis to create a 40-man roster spot for Sanchez.

    Sanchez hit the waiver wire last week, when he was DFA’ed by the Mariners to make roster room for Yoshihisa Hirano.  The southpaw has spent four of his six pro seasons in the Braves organization, sandwiched between his debut season with the Angels’ rookie ball affiliate in 2014 and a 2019 season spent with the Mariners’ Double-A club.

    Sanchez has an unimpressive 4.52 ERA over 517 1/3 innings, though with some solid peripheral numbers (8.2 K/9, 2.25 K/BB rate) and youth still on his side, as he doesn’t turn 23 until April.  There isn’t much risk for the Cards in seeing what Sanchez can do in a new system, as at worst, he can be a depth rotation in the minors.  Sanchez has started 106 of 111 career games, so a turn to relief pitching could also be explored if Sanchez ultimately doesn’t develop as a starter.

    Urias, a longtime veteran of the Mexican League, has spent the last two seasons in the Cardinals’ farm system.  The bulk of that time has been spent at the Triple-A level, where the 25-year-old hit .262/.347/.426 with 14 homers over 524 plate appearances.  Urias has played mostly as a second baseman while in the Cards’ organization, though he also has quite a bit of experience as a third baseman, and seen some time as a shortstop, first baseman, and left fielder over his nine professional seasons.

    ]]>
    30
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dipoto On Mitch Haniger Injury]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189413 2020-02-05T18:07:54Z 2020-02-05T18:07:54Z Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto discussed the uncertainty surrounding key outfielder Mitch Haniger, as MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. Haniger recently underwent a core muscle procedure.

    That surgery came as quite a disappointment. Haniger missed a big chunk of the 2019 season owing to an exceedingly unfortunate injury to a sensitive area. He struggled thereafter to get back to full speed, but the hope had been that an offseason of rest would allow for a complete recovery.

    Dipoto had said that Haniger was likely to require a six to eight week recovery period. But it now seems the Seattle GM is walking back any expectations for a clear timeline.

    While he emphasized that the belief remains that the recent procedure “was successful,” Dipoto says the club won’t count on Haniger to return any particular point.

    “We’re just fingers crossed,” says Dipoto. “We have no expectation on his timeline until we actually see him live [at Spring Training]. We’re not going to push him. Mitch will return at his own pace. Whether that is some time around Opening Day or sometime around the middle of the season, I have no idea.”

    It isn’t clear whether some change in the outlook prompted Dipoto’s comments. Regardless, it’s a rough situation for player and team. Haniger, who is a .267/.348/.480 hitter through 1,499 career plate appearances, is (when at full health) one of the M’s most valuable players. He’s set to earn just north of $3MM this year through arbitration and remains under team control through 2022.

    ]]>
    57
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Extend Marco Gonzales]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189201 2020-02-04T22:28:26Z 2020-02-04T22:28:29Z February 4: Gonzales will receive a $1MM signing bonus and be paid salaries of $5MM in 2021, $5.5MM in 2022, $6.5MM in 2023 and $12MM in 2024, tweets Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. There’s no buyout on the $15MM option for the 2025 season.

    February 3: The Mariners have announced a contract extension with southpaw Marco Gonzales. He’s now guaranteed $30MM from 2021 through 2024, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. The deal includes a $15MM club option for another campaign, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link).

    Though it has been a fairly quiet winter for the Seattle organization, the club has now managed to strike two notable long-term deals. The other was a surprising pre-debut pact with first base prospect Evan White.

    Gonzales, who was already under contract for the 2020 season, had been on track to qualify for arbitration next winter. He’d have reached the open market at the end of the 2023 campaign. Instead, the M’s have now secured his services for one would-be free agent campaign while picking up an option for another.

    As he’s now closing in on his 28th birthday, Gonzales will now be under team control through his age-33 campaign. Given the costs involved, it was a pretty easy bet for the team to make. And it’s equally understandable that the CAA Sports client was interested in locking in earnings at this stage of his career.

    Gonzales has been quite effective since coming over from the Cardinals in a mid-2017 trade. Over the past two seasons, he has carried a 3.99 ERA over 369 2/3 innings with 7.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. While there’s nothing especially about his stuff or his peripherals, Gonzales has successfully tamped down on the long ball and studiously avoided hard contact.

    It’s certainly not the typical profile of an extension target. Gonzales sits in the 90 mph range with his fastballs and managed only a 7.9% swinging-strike rate last year. Neither is he a groundball monster. But he was able to keep hitters off balance by utilizing five pitches with equivalent frequency — none less than 15.9% of the time and none more than 24.1%.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    ]]>
    65
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Designate Matt Festa For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189192 2020-02-03T20:04:39Z 2020-02-03T20:04:39Z The Mariners announced Monday that they’ve designated right-hander Matt Festa for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to outfielder Jose Siri, whose previously reported waiver claim out of the Reds organization has now been formally announced by Seattle.

    Festa, 27 next month, has pitched 30 2/3 innings of relief with the Mariners over the past two seasons, logging a 4.70 ERA with a 25-to-14 K/BB ratio and a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate along the way. Seattle initially selected him in the seventh round of the 2016 draft.

    Festa has enjoyed solid numbers in Double-A and Triple-A, albeit in limited samples of work. The East Stroudsberg University product pitched to a 2.76 ERA with 12.3 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9 in 49 innings in 2018 before logging a 2.64 ERA, 9.7 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 30 2/3 Triple-A frames in 2019. Festa doesn’t throw particularly hard (93 mph average four-seamer) and doesn’t have the type of gaudy spin rates that attract some clubs to pitchers who lack premium velocity. His success in the upper minors and the fact that he has a minor league option year remaining, however, could earn him a look with another club.

    The Mariners will have a week to trade Festa, place him on outright waivers or release him.

    ]]>
    20
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Claim Jose Siri]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189184 2020-02-03T18:50:37Z 2020-02-03T18:50:37Z The Mariners have claimed outfielder Jose Siri off waivers from the Reds, tweets C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. The Seattle organization hasn’t formally announced the move yet and will need to make a corresponding 40-man transaction to open space for Siri, who was designated for assignment last week when the Reds inked Nick Castellanos to a four-year deal.

    Siri, 24, was considered to be among Cincinnati’s best farmhands just two years ago. FanGraphs, in fact, ranked him near the back end of the game’s 100 best prospects (No. 93 overall) heading into the 2018 campaign. At that point, he was a 22-year-old who was fresh off an impressive .293/.341/.530 slash with 24 homers and 46 steals in the Class-A Midwest League.

    Since that time, however, Siri has turned in a pair of disappointing seasons, logging a combined on-base percentage south of .300 in 2018-19 between Class-A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A. This past season, Siri mustered a lackluster .237/.300/.357 showing through 517 plate appearances in the minors, and he’s struggled even more heavily in the Dominican Winter League (.196/.264/.411 in 125 plate appearances).

    The addition of Siri comes not long after the Mariners learned that they’ll be without right fielder Mitch Haniger early in the season due to core surgery. Haniger recently suffered a setback when rehabbing from the ruptured testicle that sidelined him for much of the 2019 season and could miss up to eight weeks of action. With Haniger sidelined for what could be much of Spring Training, Siri will join an outfield mix consisting of Mallex Smith, Kyle Lewis, Dee Gordon, Jake Fraley and Braden Bishop. Siri has a minor league option remaining, so the Mariners can keep him even if he doesn’t break camp with the club.

    ]]>
    42
    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Kyle Lewis Set To Start In Left]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189053 2020-02-01T17:18:02Z 2020-02-01T17:18:02Z The Arizona Diamondbacks have put together one of the more intriguing rosters as we approach spring camp, and they’ve done so while maintaining flexibility. The Starling Marte acquisition, for instance, secures center field as GM Mike Hazen had hoped – secondarily allowing star Ketel Marte to stay at second base –  but that doesn’t mean Ketel’s days in center are done. The Martes could very well play side-by-side in the outfield against tough lefties while David Peralta or Kole Calhoun gets a breather, writes MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Most of Arizona’s bench hits from the left side, though Ildemaro Vargas, Domingo Leyba, and Andy Young can all hit righty, making them candidates to spell Marte at second when he vacates. Let’s jump the the Junior Circuit to check in on the Mariners…

    • Opportunity abounds in the Mariners outfield now that Mitch Haniger is set to miss opening day. With plenty of internal candidates to choose from, there’s no need for a reactionary signing in Seattle, though Executive VP and GM Jerry Dipoto never rules anything out. For now, Kyle Lewis has the inside track on left field, writes MLB.com’s Greg Johns. Lewis put together a mighty 75 plate appearances at the end of 2019 to stake his claim to the grass in 2020. The Haniger injury may mean more consistent at-bats for Mallex Smith in the early going, but the real growth opportunity exists for youngsters like Braden Bishop and Jake Fraley. It’s unclear how much time they’ll have to put their stamp on 2020, but the Mariners are likely to temper their expectations for Haniger’s return and enjoy the opportunity to preview Bishop and/or Fraley in the outfield. The Mariners also recently brought Eric Filia into their spring mix, who could earn a spot, while infielders Shed Long, Dee Gordon, Tim Lopes and Aaron Nola can capably shag fly balls as well.
    • Yusei Kikuchi put together a less-than-stellar inaugural season in Seattle, but he’s not a lost cause, writes Johns. The 28-year-old southpaw went 6-11 with a 5.46 ERA/5.71 FIP across 32 starts (161 2/3 innings) in 2020. Despite Kikuchi’s struggles and a lack of established rotation arms, the Mariners have less interest in extending their use of the Opener in 2020. A focus on relievers who can throw multiple innings will allow the Mariners to protect Kikuchi somewhat. Mostly, the Mariners envision progress through regression. Writes Johns, “…there is a feeling that he tinkered far too much with his arm angles and throwing motion — both over the course of the year and even during games — and needs to get back to just being himself and letting it rip as he did when he first arrived.”
    ]]>
    40