MLB Trade Rumors » » Seattle Mariners 2018-01-17T04:13:39Z Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Announce Non-Roster Invitees]]> 2018-01-17T02:00:45Z 2018-01-17T02:00:45Z
  • The Mariners announced 22 players that have received non-roster invitations to Major League Spring Training. Many of the minor league deals in that announcement have already been reported, though it’s of note that Seattle will bring veteran catcher Tuffy Gosewisch back to the organization. Right-handers Ryan Garton (who was outrighted off the 40-man roster in October) and Ryan Cook (who missed 2017 due to Tommy John surgery) will both be in big league camp as well. The 34-year-old Gosewisch went just 2-for-28 with the Mariners last season, though one of those two hits was a homer. He’s a career .190/.228/.271 hitter in 447 MLB plate appearances, though he’s also slashed a drastically superior .258/.318/.406 in his Triple-A career. Garton, 28, has a 4.55 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 44 percent ground-ball rate in 61 1/3 innings between the Rays and Mariners over the past two seasons. Cook, of course, was briefly the closer in Oakland and looked like one of the game’s more promising young relievers in 2012-13. He’s pitched just 8 2/3 innings in the Majors dating back to Opening Day 2015 due to injuries, however.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Arbitration Updates: 1/13/18]]> 2018-01-13T22:22:30Z 2018-01-13T22:22:30Z Here are the arbitration numbers we’ve learned thus far today — all of them coming via the Twitter feed of Jon Heyman of Fan Rag unless otherwise noted:

    • The Giants’ previously known deals with two righty relievers now have dollar values attached. Sam Dyson is slated to earn $4.425MM, while the team will pay righty Cory Gearrin $1.675MM. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected a $4.6MM award for Dyson and a $1.6MM salary for Gearrin.
    • Diamondbacks infielder Chris Owings settled out at $3.4MM, just a shade over the $3.3MM the team will pay outfielder David Peralta. Swartz had both Owings and Peralta at $3.8MM.
    • Right-hander Nick Vincent will take down a $2.75MM payday from the Mariners, coming in just north of his $2.7MM projection.
    • Astros righty Lance McCullers Jr. is set to receive $2.45MM (a bit shy of his projected $2.6MM) in his first season of arb eligibility, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
    • Infielder Hernan Perez receives $1.975MM from the Brewers, falling short of a $2.2MM projection.
    • The Athletics agreed yesterday with righty Liam Hendriks at $1.9MM, matching his projection, and catcher Josh Phegley for $905K. Swartz had Phegley at $1.1MM.
    • White Sox third baseman Yolmer Sanchez has filed at $2.35MM while the team countered at $2.1MM – the same as his projection.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jerry Dipoto On How He Makes Deal]]> 2018-01-13T19:31:42Z 2018-01-13T06:19:47Z Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto discussed some of his methods of trade mayhem on the latest run of his podcast. (Find the audio and some choice quotes compiled by’s Greg Johns.) The team’s acquisition of Dee Gordon came together via texts that Dipoto sent from an airplane, says the executive. He also copped to extensive GIF and emoji usage in his negotiations, when appropriate.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases]]> 2018-01-13T03:05:53Z 2018-01-13T00:02:01Z We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)

    Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League]]> 2018-01-13T05:52:28Z 2018-01-12T21:00:23Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salarie

    American League West

    • The Astros and Evan Gattis agreed to a $6.7MM deal for 2018, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). A free agent next season, Gattis lands within $100K of his $6.6MM projection. The club also has deals (for values unknown) with starters Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Brad Peacock, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
    • The Rangers agreed to a $1.05MM deal with infielder Jurickson Profar, tweets Murray. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, meanwhile, tweets that lefty Jake Diekman landed a $2.7125MM deal and righty Keone Kela will earn $1.2MM. Profar had been projected at $1.1MM and is controllable another three seasons. Diekman, a free agent next winter, was projected at $2.8MM. And Kela, still controlled for three more years, matched his $1.2MM projection on the dot.
    • The Athletics and closer Blake Treinen agreed to a $2.15MM deal for next year, tweets Murray. The A’s can control Treinen for another three years. He was projected at $2.3MM. Shortstop Marcus Semien has settled for $3.125MM, Heyman tweets; his $3.2MM projection was nearly spot-on. Oakland has announced that it has avoided arbitration with Liam Hendriks and Josh Phegley as well, but their salaries have yet to be reported.
    • The Angels have a one-year, $7.3MM agreement in place with right-hander Garrett Richards, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Richards, a free agent next offseason, tops his $7MM projection by a margin of $300K. The Halos have also avoided arb with first baseman C.J. Cron ($2.3MM) and left-hander Tyler Skaggs ($1.875MM), tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Cron’s total falls a ways shy of his $2.8MM projection, while Skaggs comes in just $25K south of his $1.9MM projection. Both are controllable through the 2020 season. Lastly, Murray tweets that Matt Shoemaker agreed to a $4.125MM deal. He’s controlled through 2020 and projected at $4.4MM. Fletcher also tweets that the club has agreed with righty J.C. Ramirez ($1.9MM salary vs. $2.6MM projection) and lefty Jose Alvarez ($1.05MM salary vs. $1.1MM projection). Finally, righty Cam Bedrosian has agreed at $1.1MM, Flecher tweets, which represents a payday close to his projection of $1.2MM.
    • Left-hander James Paxton will earn $4.9MM with the Mariners in 2018, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Murray tweets that the Mariners and David Phelps agreed to a $5.55MM deal. Paxton, controlled through 2020, projected to earn $5.6MM, while Phelps was pegged at $5.8MM. He’s a free agent next winter. Righty Erasmo Ramirez took a $4.2MM deal,’s Greg Johns reports. That’s half a million shy of what the model suggested. Fellow right-hander Nick Vincent also has an agreement, but the terms aren’t yet known.

    American League Central

    • New lefty Luis Avilan has agreed to a $2.45MM deal with the White Sox, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. The recent trade acquisition came with a projected $2.3MM price tag. Fellow southpaw Carlos Rodon will receive $2.3MM, a bit of a bump over the $2MM he projected to receive. Also, utilityman Leury Garcia gets $1.175MM, which is just $25K short of his projected value.
    • The Royals and righty Nate Karns agreed to a $1.375MM deal for 2018, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports (on Twitter). That lands within $25K of his $1.4MM projection for the coming season. Kansas City controls Karns through 2020. Meanwhile,’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (via Twitter) that Kelvin Herrera will earn $7.9375MM in 2018, landing a bit shy of his $8.3MM projection. Herrera is a free agent next winter.
    • The Indians have a $5MM agreement with righty Danny Salazar,’s Jordan Bastian tweets. He had projected to earn just $200K more, this falls right in line with expectations. Cleveland also agreed with Lonnie Chisenhall on a $5.5875MM deal, tweets Nightengale. The third baseman-turned-outfielder, who was projected to earn $5.8MM, will be a free agent following the 2018 season.
    • Trevor May has a $650K agreement with the Twins for the 2018 season, according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. May, who missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery (and did some writing for MLBTR during his rehab process), had been projected at $600K. The Twins also agreed to a $1MM deal with infielder Ehire Adrianza, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. Meanwhile, righty Ryan Pressly has agreed to a $1.6MM deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Both deals are identical matches with their projections. Adrianza has three years of team control remaining, while Pressly has two. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that outfielder Robbie Grossman settled at $2MM, leaving him $400K shy of his projection. Grossman is controlled for another three seasons.
    • Tigers third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos will earn $6.05MM, per Heyman (via Twitter). He had projected at a much heftier $7.6MM in his second-to-last season of arb eligibility.’s Jason Beck reports (Twitter links) that the Tigers and right-handed reliever Alex Wilson settled at $1.925MM, while fellow righty Shane Greene will earn $1.95MM. Wilson was projected to earn $2.1MM, while Greene was at $1.7MM. Wilson is controlled through 2019, while Greene is under control through 2020.

    American League East

    • The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.
    • The Red Sox have agreed to pay $8.5MM to southpaw Drew Pomeranz, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s short of the $9.1MM that had been projected after Pomeranz turned in a productive 2017 season. Boston and Jackie Bradley Jr. settled at $6.1MM, tweets Murray. That’s a bit north of the $5.9MM at which he’d been projected for the upcoming season. Bradley Jr., a Super Two player, has another three seasons of club control remaining. Nightengale tweets that righty Joe Kelly ($3.6MM projection) agreed to a $3.825MM deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez ($2.375MM salary vs. $2.7MM projection) and righty Brandon Workman ($835K salary vs. $900K projection) are two other Sox hurlers that have agreed to terms, Speier reports (Twitter links). On the position player side, catcher Sandy Leon falls a bit under his projection $1.95MM (via Speier, on Twitter) while utilityman Brock Holt just beats expectations at $2.225MM (per’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter). The team also agreed with shortstop Xander Bogaerts for $7.05MM, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, which comes in a bit shy of his $7.6MM projection. Boston also announced agreement with backstop Christian Vazquez, who’ll earn $1.425MM, per’s Ian Browne (via Twitter). That’s just under the projection of $1.5MM.
    • The Blue Jays and righty Aaron Sanchez agreed to a $2.7MM deal for 2018, according to Nightengale (Twitter link). That crushes his $1.9MM projection, which was likely suppressed due Sanchez’s lack of innings (just 36) in 2017. He’s under Jays control through 2020. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, meanwhile, tweets that second baseman Devon Travis will make $1.45MM next year, falling a bit shy of his $1.7MM forecast. Other Toronto players agreeing to terms include Kevin Pillar ($3.25MM vs. $4.0MM projection) and Dominic Leone ($1.085MM vs. $1.2MM projection),’s Gregor Chisholm tweets.
    • The Rays and closer Alex Colome settled at $5.3M, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). He’d been projected at $5.5MM and is controllable for three more years. They also settled at $5.95MM with outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4MM projection) and $4.5MM with infielder Brad Miller ($4.4MM projection), per Murray (all Twitter links). Steven Souza, according to Murray will earn $3.55MM, placing him right in line with his $3.6MM projection. Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019. Souza is controlled through 2020.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Avoid Arbitration With Mike Zunino]]> 2018-01-12T05:20:00Z 2018-01-12T05:12:47Z
  • Mariners catcher Mike Zunino will play for $2.975MM in 2018, Jerry Crasnick of reports on Twitter. He had projected at $3.2MM after an excellent bounceback season. Zunino has two more years of arbitration eligibility.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Nelson Cruz Changes Agencies]]> 2018-01-12T01:17:05Z 2018-01-12T01:17:05Z
  • Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz has hired Bryce Dixon and Primo Sports Group, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (via Twitter). The 37-year-old Cruz will give Dixon’s group a second premier player, joining right-hander Johnny Cueto as the two biggest fish at a smaller agency. Though Cruz will turn 38 this July, he remains among the game’s most productive hitters, as evidenced by last year’s .288/.375/.549 batting line and 39 homers. Cruz’s four-year, $58MM deal has proven to be an absolute bargain for the Mariners, as he’s posted a combined .292/.368/.557 with 126 long balls in the first three seasons of the deal. He’s more than justified the commitment already, but if his 2018 season comes anywhere near the level of consistency he’s shown in the first three years of the pact, he should have little problem securing a multi-year deal next offseason.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners, Christian Bergman Agree To Minor League Deal]]> 2018-01-11T22:57:08Z 2018-01-11T22:56:22Z The Mariners and right-hander Christian Bergman have agreed to a minor league pact, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). The All Bases Covered Sports Management client will be returning to the Seattle organization for a second season and will head to Major League Spring Training.

    Bergman, 30 in May, appeared in 13 games for Seattle last season — eight starts and five relief appearances — working to a total of 54 innings. In that time, the former Rockies hurler posted an even 5.00 ERA with 5.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 2.0 HR/9 and a 37.7 percent ground-ball rate. Though he’s never experienced much in the way of prolonged success in the Majors (5.58 ERA in 201 2/3 frames between the Rockies and Mariners), Bergman has demonstrated solid K/BB numbers in the minors. In 235 innings at the Triple-A level, Bergman owns a 4.40 ERA with 6.2 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9.

    [Related: Updated Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    The Mariners have been tied to numerous rotation options this offseason and still have somewhat of an unsettled mix at present. James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake are locks to take the ball every fifth day, health permitting. Righty Erasmo Ramirez likely has an inside track on a rotation spot as well after pitching well in his second stint with Seattle following a trade from the Rays last summer.

    The 40-man roster features numerous candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation, including lefties Marco Gonzales, Ariel Miranda and Sam Moll as well as right-handers Andrew Moore, Max Povse, Chase De Jong and Robert Whalen. Hisashi Iwakuma headlines Seattle’s collection of non-roster invitees, which also includes Bergman and fellow re-signed righty Casey Lawrence.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Max Povse Returning To Rotation Role]]> 2018-01-04T02:12:33Z 2018-01-04T02:12:33Z
  • Mariners righty Max Povse is heading back to a rotation role in 2018, as Greg Johns of writes. While there had been some expectation that Povse would thrive as a multi-inning reliever, GM Jerry Dipoto says that the youngster’s move to the pen didn’t come with “the uptick in the stuff” the team hoped. That said, the organization still likes him as a starter. Dipoto says he was encouraged by Povse’s work in the AFL — he worked to a 4.56 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 25 2/3 innings — and takes the blame for pushing Povse into the upper minors and ultimately the majors as a reliever.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL Notes: Gordon, Segura, Twins, Roberto Perez]]> 2017-12-23T16:18:44Z 2017-12-23T16:15:11Z New Mariners center fielder Dee Gordon doesn’t like what’s happening in Miami, Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel reports. While his words don’t stir up controversy quite to the level of Giancarlo Stanton’s upon the slugger’s own exit from Miami, Gordon was very candid with his feelings about the direction of the Marlins’ franchise. “It’s terrible,” Gordon said, via Healey. “It’s almost — I’m not even going to say almost. It’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing. I don’t want to bash anyone, but what’s happened is not good.” The former Marlins second baseman expressed a distaste for the franchise’s trades of Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and himself, accusing the team of getting rid of them because of payroll obligations the Marlins’ new ownership “can’t take care of.” When asked what he thinks the club should do with Christian Yelich, Gordon said, “I think you have to let the dude go win.” Under new ownership, or course, the Marlins have expressed a desire to change the way the team operates financially in order to create sustainable success for the long-term. While the strategy has been met with skepticism by many (including colorful agent Scott Boras), others side with Derek Jeter and co., believing that the new owners aren’t morally obligated to remain bound to the financial decisions of the old regime.

    More from around baseball’s American League during the holiday season…

    • In other Mariners news, shortstop Jean Segura says he was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint by corrupt police in the Dominican Republic. Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports delves into the details of incident, which Segura made public via a post on his Instagram account. The photo of the post appears to show a number of DICAN officers, one of whom is “visibly armed,” in Townsend’s words. The Dominican Republic National Police have since announced the appointment of a commission to investigate the incident. Segura followed up a breakout 5-WAR 2016 campaign with the Diamondbacks by hitting .300/.349/.427 across 566 plate appearances in 2017.
    • The Twins “hope to get a meeting soon with Darvish,” Darren Wolfson of KSTP reports in a tweet. While the prospect of a meeting certainly doesn’t imply a serious pursuit of the former Rangers ace (indeed, Wolfson adds that there’s no indication the club has made a formal offer), a potential pursuit of Darvish by Minnesota is intriguing. Any contract large enough to lure him in would need to nearly triple the club’s highest-ever guarantee given to a pitcher ($55MM to Ervin Santana). However, it’s no secret that the Twins are in dire need of pitching if they plan to compete this offseason, and as MLBTR’s Steve Adams notes, the club is definitely in a position to spend this offseason.
    • Roberto Perez, backup catcher for the Indians, is focused on getting his mother a new home. A story by Jordan Bastian of details Perez’ desire to sit down with his mom Lilliam Martinez this holiday season and discuss plans to build a new house to replace the one that was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria. Bastian’s piece provides some insight into the emotions of Perez since the storm hit; the piece is well worth a read for fans looking to learn more about how Puerto Rico has been affected since landfall by the Class 5 storm. The 29-year-old Perez made his MLB debut with the Indians back in 2014. He signed a four-year, $9MM extension last spring following three excellent defensive seasons with the Tribe.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Juan Nicasio]]> 2017-12-22T06:09:52Z 2017-12-22T01:01:49Z DECEMBER 21: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has the details on Nicasio’s contract. The reliever will earn $7.5MM in 2018 and $9MM in 2019, with a $500K signing bonus. He can earn up to $4MM in incentives, which are based on games finished.

    DECEMBER 20: Nicasio’s signing has been announced.

    DECEMBER 13, 5:46pm: The deal’s worth $17MM, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.

    4:19pm: The Mariners have agreed to a two-year contract with free agent reliever Juan Nicasio, pending a physical, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). Nicasio, a client of Reynolds Sports Management, is the latest reliever to come off the board during the Winter Meetings, where a robust market has developed for bullpen pieces.

    [RELATED: Updated Mariners Depth Chart]

    Juan Nicasio

    The 31-year-old Nicasio, a former starter, drew interest from several teams on the heels of his best full season as a reliever, in which he spent time with the Pirates, Phillies and Cardinals. The right-hander combined for 72 1/3 innings across a National League-high 76 appearances with those clubs and recorded a 2.61 ERA, adding 8.96 K/9 against 2.49 BB/9 and a 45.6 percent groundball rate. Dating back to 2014, the first season in which he began garnering experience as a reliever, Nicasio has tossed 205 frames of 3.38 ERA ball while registering 9.99 K/9 and 3.42 BB/9.

    The production Nicasio has offered during his time as a reliever would be a boon to a Mariners bullpen that finished with middle-of-the-pack rankings in ERA (13th) and fWAR (16th) in 2017. The M’s have since lost one of their top relievers from last year in Emilio Pagan, whom they traded to the Athletics for first baseman Ryon Healy last month. But other than Nicasio, there are still several appealing late-game options on hand in a group that includes fellow righties Edwin Diaz, Nick Vincent, David Phelps and Tony Zych and southpaws Marc Rzepczynski and James Pazos.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Andrew Albers Signs With Japan’s Orix Buffaloes]]> 2017-12-19T00:19:31Z 2017-12-19T00:18:14Z 6:18pm: Albers tweets that he’s joining the NPB’s Orix Buffaloes.

    12:39pm: The Mariners have granted lefty Andrew Albers his release so that he may pursue an opportunity in Japan, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter).

    The 32-year-old Albers, a client of True Gravity Sports, is no stranger to playing overseas after spending the 2014 season playing for the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization. However, this would mark the first action for Albers in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.

    Albers remained on the Mariners’ 40-man roster to this point in the offseason after a strong 41-inning showing in Seattle. The Canadian-born southpaw turned in a 3.51 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 33.6 percent ground-ball rate over the life of six starts and three relief appearances. Albers also turned in a terrific 2.61 ERA in 120 2/3 innings with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate before being traded over to the Mariners in early August.

    The trip to Japan will mark another chapter in what has been a fascinating professional career for Albers. A 10th-round pick of the Padres back in 2008, Albers scarcely pitched in the San Diego organization before finding himself in independent ball for the 2010 campaign. He parlayed a brilliant showing in the Canadian-American Association into a minor league deal with the Twins and rose through their ranks to make his big league debut in 2013.

    Improbably, Albers tossed 8 1/3 shutout innings in his MLB debut and followed that up with a complete-game shutout in his second career start. He went to Korea the following year and has been up and down in the Majors since. Albers averages in the 86-87 mph range on his heater and has never been much of a strikeout arm, but his excellent control and knack for inducing weak contact have served him well throughout his time as a pro.

    [Related: Seattle Mariners depth chart]

    For the Mariners, the loss of Albers will thin out their rotation depth to some extent, though that’s one area of need that the team is seeking to add anyhow — especially in the wake of missing out on Shohei Ohtani. At present, the Mariners will turn to James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Mike Leake and Erasmo Ramirez in the top four spots of the rotation, though the 40-man roster contains several other options. Lefties Ariel Miranda, Marco Gonzales and Sam Moll (whom the Mariners are converting to a starter) will join righties Max Povse, Andrew Moore, Chase De Jong and Robert Whalen in competing for starts.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dipoto Discusses Mariners' Aggressive Approach To Trades]]> 2017-12-18T20:08:34Z 2017-12-18T20:08:34Z
  • Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto chatted with Larry Stone of the Seattle Times about his aggressive and active approach on the trade front, refuting the notion that he’s torn down the team’s farm system (a minor league system that was poor when he inherited it in the first place). “We have not emptied the farm system to go acquire veteran players to make a run at a postseason,” says Dipoto. “…[W]e have effectively moved players around the league to acquire players that are in their prime who are under team control, almost all of whom are in their 20s.” Indeed, Stone points out that the Mariners have quietly become the second-youngest team in their division, with only a few notable stars (Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano) much beyond the age of 30. “There are more ways to rebuild than ripping it down to the studs,” Dipoto says of his efforts to build a younger roster. I’d highly recommend a full read-through of Stone’s column, which is packed with quotes from Dipoto that provide insight into the Mariners’ process and his decision-making.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rays Acquire International Pool Space From Mariners For Anthony Misiewicz]]> 2017-12-13T21:06:38Z 2017-12-13T21:05:19Z 3:05pm: Tampa Bay will get $1MM in spending capacity, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter).

    10:20am: The Rays and Mariners have lined up on a trade that will send international bonus pool spending availability to Tampa Bay. In exchange, the Seattle organization will receive young lefty Anthony Misiewicz.

    For the Rays, the swap will bring in some funds that appear to be earmarked for youngster Jelfry Marte. An agreement on his signing was reported yesterday, though Tampa Bay still needed to pick up some international capacity before it could make the deal.

    Fortunately, the M’s had leftover funds on hand that they were unable to give Shohei Ohtani when he declined to join the organization. The team will likely seek to turn some of that money back into minor-league prospects, but perhaps will also continue looking into the remaining amateur market as well.

    In Misiewicz, the Mariners have re-acquired a player who was shipped out to the Rays in August. The 23-year-old, an 18th-rounder from Michigan State, reached the Double-A level in 2017, pitching to an even 4.00 ERA in a dozen starts with 7.2 K/9 with 2.1 BB/9.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Shawn Armstrong]]> 2017-12-13T20:24:48Z 2017-12-13T20:19:50Z The Mariners and Indians have announced a deal that sends righty Shawn Armstrong to Seattle. Coming back in return is $500K in international bonus pool money, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer tweets.

    Armstrong, 27, worked to a 4.38 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in his 24 2/3 MLB innings in the 2017 season. That said, he has averaged around 94 mph with his fastball in the majors and has a lifetime 11.3% swinging-strike rate in 43 1/3 total innings at the game’s highest level.

    There’s a broader minor-league sample to consider as well. Armstrong posted better numbers in 2017 at Triple-A, where he racked up 11.1 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 over 29 1/3 frames of 3.07 ERA ball. And he had set down 152 batters on strikes in 98 2/3 innings at Triple-A across two prior campaigns.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Rumblings: Twins, Darvish, Cishek, Cole, Mariners, Liriano, Watson]]> 2017-12-13T22:14:17Z 2017-12-13T19:21:28Z While the market for starters is still fairly slow to develop, relievers have been flying off the board at the Winter Meetings. Here’s the latest chatter on some hurlers from around the game:

    • The Twins are sending signals that they’re serious about their pursuit of free agent righty Yu Darvish. As LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star-Tribune writes, skipper Paul Molitor says the organization has “targeted [Darvish] as somebody we have tremendous interest in.” That follows prior public indications of interest from GM Thad Levine, who, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press examines, has a longstanding relationship with Darvish. That piece is well worth a full read, if only for Berardino’s enjoyable chat with catcher Chris Gimenez, who worked closely with Darvish with the Rangers and has played most recently with the Twins.
    • Meanwhile, the Twins are also among the teams looking into righty Steve Cishek, according to Berardino (via Twitter). The sidearmer has been left as one of the top remaining free-agent setup men after a spate of signings at the Winter Meetings. He finished the 2017 season on a strong run with the Rays.
    • The Orioles have at least checked in on Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Certainly, Baltimore isn’t the only organization that would love to add Cole, whose name has arisen in chatter a few times in recent days. Whether the Bucs are really ready to deal him isn’t entirely clear; neither is it certain just what the club would seek in return. Yesterday, though, Buster Olney of gave perhaps the clearest indication yet that Pittsburgh may be prepared to strike an agreement, tweeting that there’s a belief from some around the game that Pittsburgh would pull the trigger if the right deal came across its desk.
    • Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto says his team is in the “red zone” on a deal, likely for a reliever, in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio tweets that Juan Nicasio is a “strongly rumored possibility,” though clearly that’s not a firm connection at this point. And it’s certainly worth noting that the M’s have, in fact, struck agreement on a trade since Dipoto went on the air — though it’s not clear whether the minor acquisition was the one he was referring to. Perhaps Dipoto was giving a nod to that swap, but it’s also possible there’s a more significant move still in store. Regardless, the M’s are clearly focused on pitching, as Dipoto has made clear and TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune reports.
    • The Astros are weighing a reunion with lefty Francisco Liriano, according to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Long a starter, the 34-year-old was added by the ’Stros at the 2017 trade deadline and moved into a relief role. He did not exactly thrive in that job initially, allowing seven earned runs and posting an ugly 11:10 K/BB ratio in his 14 1/3 frames over twenty appearances. Liriano will presumably also draw some looks from organizations that would propose to give him a shot at rediscovering his form as a starter.
    • Another lefty, Tony Watson, is a possible target for the Athletics, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 32-year-old has plenty of late-inning experience and finished strong after a mid-season swap to the Dodgers. In twenty innings with L.A., Watson posted a 2.70 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 12/13/17]]> 2017-12-13T07:00:48Z 2017-12-13T07:00:48Z We’ll keep track of some recent minor moves in this post…

    • Greg Johns of reports in a tweet that the Mariners have signed 32-year-old first baseman Matt Hague to a minor-league deal. As Johns points out, Hague hit .297/.373/.414 with the Rochester Redwings this past season (the Triple-A affiliate of the Twins). He’s also spent time with the Pirates and Blue Jays, both of whom gave him opportunities at the major league level. Notably, Hague has walked in the minor league at nearly the same rate he’s struck out, though that skill set hasn’t translated to the majors as of yet.
    • The Mariners have also inked former Cubs farmhand John Andreoli to a minor league pact, Johns tweets, adding that the 27-year-old outfielder hit 14 homers for Triple-A Iowa last season to go along with a .244/.348/.435 slash line. Andreoli was the Cubs’ 17th-round selection in the 2011 draft. He’s walked at least 12% of the time in each of his three seasons with the Iowa Cubs, though his strikeout rate has risen noticeably in each of those seasons. Andreoli has yet to reach the MLB level.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Gordon Beckham To Minors Deal]]> 2017-12-12T06:45:10Z 2017-12-12T06:45:10Z
  • The Mariners have re-signed infielder Gordon Beckham to a new minor league deal, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  Beckham spent 2017 on another minor league contract with Seattle and spent the majority of the season at the Triple-A level, appearing in just 11 games in an Mariners uniform.  The light-hitting veteran utilityman will continue to provide the M’s with some infield depth in the minors, though it seems unlikely Beckham will get much time on the 25-man roster unless injury strikes.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jerry Dipoto On Mariners' Plans]]> 2017-12-12T04:25:46Z 2017-12-12T04:25:46Z The Mariners’ spirited attempt to sign Shohei Ohtani ended in heartbreak when the Japanese ace/slugger signed with the division-rival Angels last week. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto acknowledged that he was disappointed in the outcome when speaking about Ohtani’s decision Monday. He was gracious in defeat, though, telling Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times and other reporters that he’s “happy for” Ohtani and expects he’ll be “a great fit” in Anaheim.

    With the Ohtani dream dead, the Mariners have been monitoring the free agent market for pitching, Dipoto revealed. “We have a sense that the market is starting to pick up. I feel like we are in a deal making zone,” he said (Twitter links here). Along with searching for pitching, Dipoto is looking to trade some of the international bonus pool money the Mariners acquired when they were trying to increase their chances to sign Ohtani, Greg Johns of tweets. Dipoto also suggested that there won’t be anymore big additions to a Mariners position player group that just landed Dee Gordon. Instead, any new pickups are likely to come via waivers, minor league deals or the Rule 5 draft.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets, Rockies, Mariners, Jays Showing Interest In Jay Bruce]]> 2017-12-12T01:55:01Z 2017-12-12T01:49:33Z Dec. 11: The Blue Jays are also interested in Bruce, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Of course, the Jays nearly traded for Bruce when he was a member of the Reds in February 2016, and they went on to show interest in him again last offseason.

    While the Mariners are reportedly in on Bruce, Greg Johns of doesn’t see a match in the wake of their acquisition of newly minted outfielder Dee Gordon (Twitter link). Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times is similarly skeptical, noting that the Mariners would have to trade away a corner outfielder to make it possible. He doesn’t completely rule that out, though, considering GM Jerry Dipoto’s affinity for making deals (via Twitter).

    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.

    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.
    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.
  • ]]>