On Monday November 27 the Mariners announced that they had signed a minor league contract with right handed pitcher Iwakuma who was out most of last year. He wouldn’t be included on the forty man roster going into spring training. If he makes the opening roster likely he will be the fifth starter and I am sure we are rooting him on that he will be healthy and pitch close to what we know he is capable of.
I haven’t heard any more about the possibility of signing free agent outfield Jon Jay since it was reported before Thanksgiving. The Mariners do have other options for an additional outfielder. If they sign Japanese player Ohtani either he or Nelson Cruz will play some in the outfield. Though Ohtani main purpose will be to pitch him and the Mariners feel he can hit in the major leagues as well and plan to use him as a two way player whether that is in the outfield or at designated hitter when he isn’t pitching.
Ian Miller was named this past season with the Ken Griffey Jr Award as the best hitter in the Mariners minor league system. He started the season in AA however played a lot in AAA for Tacoma. He hit for a combined .307 batting average. Whether he is ready for the major leagues or not this spring training will tell. No one was put on the forty man roster to protect against the Rule 5 and Miller is eligible to be taken in the that draft however every player taken has to play a full season in the majors for the team taken or be returned back to the team he was taken. Of course the two teams could make arrangement where the player could go to the minors with the team that them. It doesn’t happen often though. So the Mariners could lose him however he is another player like Gamel, Heredia and Haniger who can play solid defense and has speed as well. Though the odds are against Miller we wouldn’t know what will happen with him. The Mariners do have hold over at utility player Taylor Motter who could find his spot as the fourth outfielder since the Mariners now have Andrew Romine they picked up from the Detroit Tigers. He can find himself in the mix as well. Motter is shown as the third left fielder on the depth chart. Both of them are shown on the depth chart in the infield positions too. If the Mariners decide to keep both most likely you will see Motter playing shortstop when needed well as left field and first base. Romine on the other hand in right field, second, third and possibly first base. Guillermo Heredia right now is shown as the centerfielder along with backup at left field and right field. This can change if the Mariners sign Jon Jay because he likely will be the center fielder.
We will still have to see where the Mariners may sign or trade for a backup catcher. Right now they have two catchers they actually picked up from the Atlanta Braves who have mostly triple A experience. Without really knowing how Mike Zunino will do I would like to see them pick up a veteran major league catcher. I am sure that both Dipoto and Servais are thinking in the back of their minds what if Zunino starts off the season like he did in 2017 hitting and this time doesn’t recover. He goes out and has a so so season. We all hope this doesn’t happen but it is a possibility.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the free agent market along with trades for the next month or so. I will keep up with my analysist on at least a weekly basis or when something happens during the hot stove season. Go M’s.