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Mariners claim C David Freitas from Braves, Rob Whalen reinstated

And there is officially a catcher competition in Peoria this Spring.

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The World Series isn’t even over yet but Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto is already making moves, executing his first acquisition of the 2017-18 offseason.

David Freitas was essentially the 2017 Atlanta Braves version of Mike Marjama. Both made their long-awaited major league debut in 2017 at the ripe age of 28 after being late-round draft picks and bouncing around from organization to organization. Each have received over 1,500 at-bats throughout their minor league careers, and have posted very similar slash lines at Triple-A, although Marjama hit for significantly more power this year.

In addition to simply providing Marjama some legitimate competition for the 2018 backup gig, here’s another theory why Freitas was brought in: since 2014, he’s slashed .315/.378/.515 over 332 PA’s facing left-handed pitching. Granted, Mike Zunino expectantly performs better facing lefties than righties, it appears Freitas’ ability to hit left-handed pitching is a legit strength to have off the bench, or to occasionally spell Z.

While I like Mike Marjama and hope he sticks around all offseason, it’s also worth noting that Yahoo Japan connected him to the NPB Chunichi Dragons back in early-October:

With the acquisition of Freitas, as well as RHP Rob Whalen being reinstated from the restricted list, the Mariners 40-man roster is full once again.