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Chris Shelton

Scanning the ol' Baseball America minor league transactions blog, we see that the Mariners have signed Chris Shelton, the 28 year old first baseman known for his dynamite April in 2006 and rugged good looks. He's not on the 40-man roster, but being a righty, at this point he's the odds-on favorite to win out as the platoon partner for Russ Branyan. Which isn't anything extraordinary, but considering the two combined would cost ~$2m and could provide about as much offense as Carlos Delgado, it's pretty solid.

Since hitting nine homers in his first 51 at bats back in 2006, Shelton's only hit 37 in his last 1282 between AAA and the Majors. He's not known for possessing the kind of power that allowed him to make a name for himself a few years ago. He does have a line drive swing, though, and isn't totally clueless when it comes to understanding the strike zone. He's also helped by the fact that hanging around and hitting against lefties is a really easy job. So if Shelton does indeed go on to platoon with Branyan, he should be all right. And if he doesn't, or isn't, then whatever. No harm, no foul. It's just another neat little move that offers zero more commitment than necessary. A fellow could get used to this.