It was reported yesterday, and confirmed today, that the Mariners have agreed to a minor league contract with 34 year-old P/OF/1B Micah Owings. Owings was a 3rd round pick in 2005 by the Diamondbacks, and has had some success at the Major League level on the mound. Unfortunately, the years in which that success occurred have two zeroes in the middle. Owings last appeared in a MLB game in 2012 with the San Diego Padres, where his fastball averaged just under 87 mph. While splitting his time between being a full-time pitcher and offensive player has made him interesting to follow, a number of injuries have hampered his efforts to find a consistent role. Listed at 6'5, 220 lbs, Owings has the body to generate power, provided he has the health.
Owings spent 2016 playing independent league ball with the York Revolution in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, where he threw 106.2 IP in 19 starts, with a 4.30 ERA and a 81-38 K/BB. Interestingly, and perhaps contextually, the ALPB batting title was earned, with a cool .345 batting average, by one Endy Chávez this year. Other names that jump out from the ALPB leaderboards are OF Trayvon Robinson and INF Bryan LaHair.
Owings is a RHP and will have a spring training invite. He was effusive in his praise of the York management in supporting him and helping him build up his confidence, both physically and mentally. His manager at York, Mark Mason, praised Micah specifically in his work ethic, and how diligently he had worked to improve and get back to full strength, and his numbers showed improvement in the second half of his season. Owings may currently be a long shot to make the 2017 roster, but he spent 2016 sitting in the low 90s with his fastball, accompanied by a cutter, a slider, and a changeup. If Owings can replicate that velocity and build on his success and health, he has a shot. A strong showing in Spring Training from him could provide some depth for the Mariners in the bullpen and the rotation, but the veteran will have to show an ability to get outs and C the Z early and often.
I wish him only the best.