Results tagged ‘ Mariners ’

Mariners sign John Baker to Minors deal

The Mariners have signed veteran catcher John Baker to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Baker, 34, provides depth and should compete for a backup role with Seattle. He hit .192 in 68 games with the Cubs last season. Baker has also played for the Marlins and Padres over a seven-year career in the big leagues.

The Mariners have three catchers on their 40-man roster in Mike Zunino, John Hicks and Jesus Sucre.

Pitchers and catchers report to Mariners camp Feb. 20.

–Austin Laymance

Ruggiano to Mariners – UPDATE

The Cubs dealt outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Mariners Wednesday for Minor League pitcher Matt Brazis, opening a spot on the 40-man roster. Ruggiano, 32, batted .281 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 81 games for the Cubs last season, but missed time because of a left hamstring injury suffered in late April. His season ended on Aug. 22 when he fractured his left ankle.

Brazis, 25, is 8-6 with 14 saves and a 2.89 ERA in 100 Minor League relief appearances over three seasons for the Mariners. He split last season between Class A High Desert and Double-A Jackson, going 4-1 with six saves and a 2.36 ERA in 40 appearances. Brazis struck out 84 batters and walked 18 in 72 1/3 innings pitched.

The Cubs do want to add a veteran outfielder, but were looking for players with more experience to be what manager Joe Maddon calls “clubhouse dudes” and help mentor the young guys.

Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown first reported the possible trade on Wednesday.

— Carrie Muskat

Mariners acquire Ruggiano from Cubs

The Mariners reached a deal on Wednesday to acquire outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Cubs in exchange for Minor League reliever Matt Brazis.

Ruggiano hit a respectable .281/.337/.429 for the Cubs last season, though he was limited to just 81 games by various injuries. He missed time early in the season due to a left hamstring issue before later suffering a left ankle injury that ultimately ended his season on Aug. 22.

Ruggiano should at least provide further outfield depth for the Mariners, who have also been linked to the Phillies’ Marlon Byrd and Washington’s Ian Desmond in recent days. The move to acquire Ruggiano could quiet any talks involving Byrd, but the Mariners could still be interested in adding another solid hitter, such as Desmond.

— Paul Casella

Mariners possibly inquiring about Desmond

The Mariners reportedly “remain a possibility” as a potential landing spot for Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, according to Chris Cotillo of

Seattle is known to be looking to add more offense this offseason and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported late Tuesday night that he was “hearing rumblings” that the M’s were “closing in on” a trade for another hitter. Crasnick had no other details at the time and it’s unclear whether or not that potential trade he was referencing involved Desmond.

The Mariners have been linked to a number of shortstop rumors this offseason, though those reports mostly involved the club moving one of its own — not bringing in another one. They currently have Brad Miller and Chris Taylor set to battle for the Opening Day job, though Desmond would certainly seem to represent an upgrage over either option.

As for the Nationals, they could be willing to move Desmond this offseason instead of risking losing him to free agency next offseason. He’s owed $11 million next season and, more importantly, he and the Nats haven’t made much progress in their extension talks this offseason.

This appears to be nothing more than speculation at this point, but the potential is certainly there for talks to develop further.

— Paul Casella

Mariners considering internal, external options for RF

After missing out on their main target in free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera, the Mariners are now considering a number of alternatives — both on the trade market and within the organization — to fill their void in right field, according to’s Greg Johns.

It’s not clear at this point exactly how the Mariners rank the remaining free agents or potential trade targets, but Johns reports that there is still a plethora of options to be considered. For starters, the list of remaining free agent outfielders includes right-handers Alex Rios, Michael Morse, Chris Denorfia, Jonny Gomes and Delmon Young, as well as left-handers Nori Aoki, Colby Rasmus, Ichiro Suzuki and Endy Chavez.

Morse, Denorfia, Suzuki and Chavez have all spent time with the Mariners in previous years, including this past season when Denorfia and Chavez primarily covered right-field duties after the All-Star break with Michael Saunders injured. Saunders, of course, was traded to the Blue Jays earlier this offseason in exchange for left-hander J.A. Happ.

Given the lack of options remaining in free agency, it’s more likely that the Mariners will look to fill their need via the trade market. Braves outfielder Justin Upton remains one of the top players being shopped around, though Seattle is firmly against parting with young right-hander Taijuan Walker in exchange for a player entering the final year of his contract, such as Upton.

Aside from Upton, outfielders known to at least be available via trade include Gerardo Parra of the Brewers, Seth Smith of the Padres, Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, David Murphy of the Indians, Travis Snider of the Pirates, Drew Stubbs of the Rockies and Marlon Byrd of the Phillies. The Red Sox could still move another outfielder even after trading away Yoenis Cespedes last week, meaning Seattle could try to make a play for the likes of Daniel NavaAllen Craig or Shane Victorino.

As for in-house options, the Mariners could turn to either Nelson Cruz or Logan Morrison for the right field job, though Cruz was signed with the intention of using him as a designated hitter and Morrison is viewed as more of a first baseman. That leaves James Jones and Stefen Romero, each coming off respectable rookie campaigns this past season.

All things considered, the Mariners would ultimately prefer to keep Cruz and Morrison in their expected roles, while bringing in a more established player to man right field for the time being. With Cabrera off the board, the Mariners are leaving no stone unturned as they seek an alternative, but nothing seems imminent at this time.

— Paul Casella

Report: Nationals, Mariners working on Ian Desmond deal

Ian Desmond could be on the move.

The Nationals are reportedly working on a deal that would send the shortstop to Seattle, though the Mariners are not willing to include right-hander Taijuan Walker or left-hander James Paxton, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.

Washington has discussed Desmond with Seattle more than once this offseason, with the Nats reportedly interested in shortstop Brad Miller, according to Ken Rosenthal of

The shortstop market is slim, so Desmond would be a strong acquisition for the Mariners.

Desmond is eligible for free agency following the 2015 season. The Nationals tried to negotiate a multi-year extension with Desmond in the past, but nothing came to fruition. Still, he made it clear Tuesday that he would prefer to stick with the Nats and resolve his contract situation soon.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he met with Desmond’s agent during the Winter Meetings, but revealed little else about any possible negotiations.

Desmond, 29, is the longest-tenured player on the Nationals. He was a third-round pick of the Expos in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft and made his Major League debut in 2009. This year, he hit .255 with 24 home runs, 26 doubles and 91 RBIs.

–Austin Laymance

Royals nearing deal with Morales

The Royals appear to have found their replacement for Billy Butler.

Kansas City is closing in on a two-year contract worth $17 million with free-agent first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales, according to multiple reports. The deal was first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

The Royals have been looking for a designated hitter since Butler signed a three-year, $30 million deal with Oakland in November.

Morales is coming off a bit of a down year in 2014, during which he combined to hit .218 with eight home runs and 20 doubles over 98 games between the Twins and Mariners. He missed all of Spring Training after turning down a qualifying offer from Seattle and eventually signed with Minnesota in June, then was dealt to the Mariners in July. In 2013, his last full season, Morales hit .277 with 23 homers, 34 doubles and 80 RBIs.

–Austin Laymance

Cubs reportedly pursuing Gomes

The Cubs are reportedly interested in free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

With Jon Lester now in the fold, one of the Cubs’ next moves is apparently to target Gomes, a teammate of Lester’s on the 2013 World Series champion Red Sox. The 34-year-old Gomes struggled to a .234/.327/.330 batting line this past season with just six home runs and 37 RBIs over 112 combined games between the Red Sox and Athletics.

Gomes has also been linked to the Orioles, Rangers and Mariners over the past week.

— Paul Casella

Braves getting plenty of calls on J. Upton, Gattis

The Braves are continuing to receive calls from a number of teams regarding both outfielder Justin Upton and catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The report indicates that the Giants, Rangers, Royals and Padres are interested in both players, while the Mariners have been in contact solely about Upton.

Given the apparent market interest, coupled with the Braves’ willingness to move Upton, it seems inevitable that Upton will be moved somewhere this offseason. Though Atlanta already traded away outfielder Jason Heyward earlier this offseason, they were still interested in finding a new home for Upton even before signing fellow outfielder Nick Markakis last week.

The Padres have been closely linked to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, but they could turn their focus toward Upton or Gattis if those talks fall through. The Rangers and Mariners, meanwhile, were interested in Kemp initially, but are reportedly no longer part of those discussions.

— Paul Casella

Orioles, Mariners and Rangers all out on Kemp

The Orioles, Mariners and Rangers are all reportedly out of the running to land Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

All three clubs had emerged as potential landing spots for Kemp in recent weeks, but it now appears that the Dodgers are intent on finalizing a deal with the Padres. Heyman goes as far as to say it might be “Padres or bust” when it comes to dealing Kemp this offseason.

Earlier reports from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on Tuesday indicated that the Padres and Dodgers were “getting closer” to reaching a deal. The ongoing negotiations seem to involve who exactly the Padres would pair with catcher Yasmani Grandal in exchange for Kemp. Top pitching prospect Matt Wisler is not expected to be included in any deal, but fellow prospects Joe Ross and Zach Eflin have each been mentioned as possible pieces to a potential deal.

— Paul Casella