Humberto Quintero returns to Mariners on a minor league deal

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners have landed a backup catcher, unless he isn't.

One of the many catchers to put on a Mariner uniform last year will do so once again, as the Mariners have inked Humbero Quintero to a minor league deal. It was only a matter of time before the M's started dealing with the lack of depth at catcher. It's just a minor league deal, so if the Mariners see fit to further upgrade (with John Buck, perhaps), this isn't going to prevent that from happening.

Quintero doesn't really do anything well, but he proved at least semi-competent at being a major league catcher for a week or two last year. Even as a veteran backup, he's a fringe contributor at best, and barely replacement level. Oliver projects him for 0.3 WAR next year, and that's as if he were a full-time contributor with 600 PA.

Quintero's best highlight came on August 7th, crushing a 2-run homer to complete a crazy comeback against the Blue Jays, taking a 9-7 lead, a game they held on to win.

Last year proved that the Mariners can never have too much depth at catcher, as the team went through seven catchers throughout the course of the season thanks to injuries and a healthy dose of incompetence (Montero). Henry Blanco has moved back to Arizona, Brandon Bantz returns to an organizational depth role, Jesus Montero is terrible and no longer a catcher, Kelly Shoppach is still a free agent, and Sucre and Quintero will likely battle it out for the backup role unless somebody better comes in.

There's a pretty decent chance Quintero will be Zunino's backup at some point this season, but that will probably come later. The most likely scenario here is that the M's keep Quintero through Spring Training and try to stash him in the minors. Room on the 40-man roster is tight, and Jesus Sucre is already filling up a spot, so there isn't any reason to add Quintero unless they have to.

Quintero is pretty terrible, but he's a body. A body they got for free when they needed one in the middle of the year. Now they'll have that body when they need one, sans transit time and annoying papers to sign. Cool.

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