Mariners Sign Four More Minor League Free Agents

You guys know that I love minor league free agents. So, of course, I love that the Mariners just signed four more minor league free agents. Minor league free agents seldom end up making much of a difference during the season, but even still, there is nothing I enjoy writing about more. Let's imagine the various ways in which each of the following players may end up making an impact!

Ryan Langerhans. Turns out Langerhans can't quit us, as the 30 year old is coming back for just another go. Over the past year and a half, he's been traded here once and signed here as a free agent twice, which should tell you something about both the state of the Mariners' roster, and the degree of interest in Langerhans in the market.

Langerhans is the same guy we've always liked a little too much, in that he can draw a walk, play every outfield position, and pull the occasional home run. And, once again, he's a decent fit with the organization. He's cheaper than Laynce Nix, and as an ideal fourth outfielder, he can either make the team out of Spring Training, or he can hang out in Tacoma until someone gets hurt or the team decides that Milton Bradley doesn't provide enough depth. It's nice to have guys like this. Not because you want to see them a whole lot, but because if you have to see them a whole lot, it won't kill you.

Chris Gimenez. You guys should remember Gimenez. You guys should remember Gimenez for doing this to Michael Saunders, while doing this for Kendry Morales. Gimenez pulled back the only home run Michael Saunders would've hit for the M's in 2009, and on that basis alone, for more than a year I've hated him more than I hate Confessions Of A Shopaholic.

But now that Saunders has hit his first Major League homer, and his second and third and everything up through tenth, I guess it's not that big a deal anymore. We can forgive Gimenez for robbing Saunders, in the same way that we can forgive Chone Figgins for all of his infield hits as an Angel. It's ancient history. And Gimenez is here now to provide some catching depth for an organization that appears to have "lost" Rob Johnson. If you're confused by the fact that I'm talking about Gimenez as a catcher after linking to clips of him playing the outfield, yeah. He's kind of like Ryan Doumit in that he plays a lot of positions. But the M's won't be looking for him to run around. At least for the time being, he is this team's third-string backstop.

He's not a great one. His bat's okay, but it isn't terrific. That doesn't matter. What matters is that he's cheap and doesn't have to be placed on the 40-man roster. Catchers who end up signing minor league contracts generally aren't catchers you want to see in the bigs a whole bunch.

Denny Bautista. Like a lot of baseball fans and search engines, there was a time that I would confuse Denny Bautista with Danny Bautista. It doesn't help that they're from the same country and went to the same high school. But that doesn't happen so much anymore, because Danny Bautista retired at the age of 32 because he was bad. Now Denny stands alone, and he stands on what Mike Curto tells me are "the longest legs of any baseball player in the history of forever."

Bautista's a 6'5, 28 year old righty who spent last year with the Giants, throwing 33.2 innings of big league relief. Over those 33.2 innings of big league relief, he walked 27 and whiffed 44. That fits in with the rest of his Major and minor league career, which has been fraught with walks and strikeouts. He's never been one to look where he's throwing, but because he can touch the high-90s, he keeps getting chances. The M's have given him his latest.

Will he make the club out of camp? He might. More likely is that he reports to Tacoma, but you just never know with these guys, and the reason pitchers with good stuff get chance after chance is because you can't be sure when it's all going to click. If it clicks for Bautista the way it clicked for Matt Thornton, he could be a great one. And if it doesn't click for Bautista, then it's no big deal, because that's Chris Gimenez's problem.

Did you miss Jesus Colome? I missed Jesus Colome.

Royce Ring. The two players drafted before Royce Ring: Nick Swisher and Cole Hamels. The two players drafted after Royce Ring: James Loney and Denard Span. I didn't know much about the draft in 2002, but even then I knew it was probably pretty dumb to burn a first-round pick on a reliever, yet the White Sox did it anyway, and surprise! It didn't work, as it's nearly 2011 now and Ring has all of 68 innings of big league experience.

What Ring has going for him is that he throws with the funny hand. His Major League numbers are bad and his minor league numbers are only okay, but he's been able to hold left-handed AAA hitters in check for some time now, putting him just on the border of Major League quality. There's a chance he could still establish himself as a real and reliable specialist. More likely - at least this season - is that he hangs out in Tacoma and keeps doing what he's been doing at that level instead, but one remembers that the M's aren't exactly overflowing with quality southpaw options in relief. So, who knows. Garrett Olson's already on the 40-man roster, but Garrett Olson is Garrett Olson.

Royce Ring's real first name, by the way, is Roger, but he opted for Royce because he didn't want his name to be confused for a gerund.

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