Mariners Insider

Archives: Jan. 2015


Mariners confirm signing of catcher John Baker to minor-league deal

SEATTLE — As expected, the Mariners filled their need for a veteran backup catcher Thursday by confirming a minor-league deal with John Baker that includes an invitation to big-league camp.

Baker, 34, became a free agent in December when not offered a contract by the Chicago Cubs after batting .192 with no homers and 15 RBIs in 68 games.

The Mariners reached a tentative agreement with Baker, a seven-year veteran, earlier in the week that was contingent on him passing a routine physical examination.

Baker is expected to battle Jesus Sucre in spring training for duty as the back to

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Mariners notebook: Some links worth noting

The spring-training countdown is roughly at three weeks (depending on when you read this) before the Feb. 20 reporting date for pitchers and catchers at the Mariners’ year-round complex in Peoria, Ariz.

(Fans who make the trip will, by the way, see a renovated Peoria Stadium as the second phase of a three-year upgrade. Last year, the city spruced up the Mariners’ and Padres’ office complexes.)


It’s the time of year when prospect rankings and other predictions take center stage. The preview annuals are out — or will be soon. (Be sure to check out Athlon’s guide for a particularly

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Mariners close to minor-league deal with catcher John Baker

The Mariners filled their need for a veteran backup catcher Wednesday by reaching agreement with John Baker on a minor-league deal, pending a physical examination.

The contract, which likely includes an invitation to big-league camp, should become official by the end of the week.

Baker, 34, alerted his twitter followers to his new deal early Wednesday by announcing “Next chapter begins. @Mariners.”

The pending agreement fills the club’s desire to acquire a veteran with proven catch-and-throw skills as organizational depth.

Baker will likely battle Jesus Sucre for duty as Mike Zunino’s backup on the big-league roster. That loser figures

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Mariners confirm signings of Chavez, Gutierrez to minor-league deals


The Mariners made it official Monday: veteran outfielders Endy Chavez and Franklin Gutierrez are returning to the club on minor-league contracts that include invitations to big-league camp.

The News Tribune reported Chavez’s signing on Sunday while noting the club was close to a deal with Gutierrez.

Chavez, 36, is a 13-year veteran who split the last two seasons with the Mariners and Triple-A Tacoma. He batted .276 last year in 80 big-league games with two homers and 23 RBIs.

Gutierrez, 31, played five years for the Mariners from 2009-13 before missing all of last season because of

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Mariners notebook: Jackson looking to bounce back from disappointing year

SEATTLE — Familiarity can also breed contentment. That’s Austin Jackson’s view as he prepares for his first full season with the Mariners after two disappointing months last year following his July 31 arrival.

Jackson batted just .229 in 54 games after the Mariners acquired him from Detroit in a three-way trade on July 31 that sent infielder Nick Franklin to Tampa Bay.

Throw in a .267 on-base percentage and a .260 slugging percentage and — let’s face it — Jackson was an absolute flop in terms of providing the spark the Mariners anticipated at the top of their lineup.

So what happened?


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Mariners notebook: Paxton and Walker remain linked as cornerstones

SEATTLE — The two pitchers sat side-by-side atop the dugout Saturday while answering questions from fans as the Mariners kicked off their two-day FanFest at Safeco Field.

James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, the lefty and the righty, have long been linked as key elements to the organization’s now-brightening future.

That they remain so linked stands as perhaps the Mariners’ top achievement in an off-season where general manager Jack Zduriencik and his lieutenants shored up an often-toothless lineup.

Other clubs, seeing the Mariners’ need for additional run production, spent much of the winter trying to pry loose Paxton or Walker (or both)

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Mariners notebook: Zduriencik says `no favorite right now’ in spring shortstop battle between Miller and Taylor

SEATTLE — Anticipation is already building within the Mariners’ organization regarding the looming spring battle between Brad Miller and Chris Taylor to determine a starting shortstop.

“There is no favorite right now,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “Let’s see what happens.”

Miller won a similar battle last spring over since-departed Nick Franklin but an underperforming bat — generally viewed as Miller’s top strength — provided Taylor with an opportunity over the closing two months.

Taylor responded by batting .287 with a .347 on-base percentage over 47 games while, generally, grading out better than Miller in the major defensive metrics. But Taylor had just

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Mariners unveil new alternate home jersey

   SEATTLE — The Mariners looked to their past in designing a new alternate home uniform, which they unveiled Friday morning at Safeco Field.

The new look offers cream-colored jersey and pants with the lettering and logo from the current look but will appear in the colors from the club’s inaugural 1977 season — royal blue with gold trim, outlined in royal.

“We’re going to look good,” said reliever Charlie Furbush, who was one of four players who served as models at an unveiling ceremony for season-ticketholders.

The uniforms, which will be worn for Sunday home games, have no names on

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