July 2nd marks the opening day of the international signing period and, as of 4 PM the Mariners have officially signed five players, most notably Julio Rodriguez (Baseball America’s no. 6 prospect), and Juan Querecuto (BA’s 21st-ranked prospect). Rodriguez has signed for $1.75 million, and it has been reported that Querecuto signed for approximately $1.225 million. They are seventeen and sixteen years old, respectively, and today they have become the primary breadwinners for their families, and already have their career paths laid out for them. For some added perspective, when I was sixteen I was a year removed from my Microwave Ban, which had been instated after I tried to cook Bagel Bites in said microwave, only to have them catch on fire. They might become MLB superstars, or they may never get past AA; their futures are uncertain but today, by signing with a major league team, one of their dreams has already come true.
Unlike Rodriguez and Querecuto, Robinson Canó never cracked Baseball America’s Top 100 International Prospects list. Despite this, his father, Jose, demanded a $250,000 signing bonus, which all teams refused, but the Yankees ultimately signed him for $150,000 in 2001. He had a famously slow start to his baseball career in the states, but twelve years later he signed a ten year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. At the time it was the fourth-largest signing in baseball history. Three and a half years after that, he did this, which enabled the Mariners to ultimately win the game.
James Paxton was signed by the Mariners in the fourth round of the 2010 Amateur Draft. His path to the signing was funky; originally from Ladner, British Columbia, he pitched three years for the University of Kentucky Wildcats and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round of the 2009 draft. Paxton opted to return to school for his senior year, but was declared ineligible for NCAA play due to his interactions with agent Scott Boras. He spent a year in indy ball, and was selected by the Mariners with the 132nd pick, and signed with the team for $942,500. Seven years later, he carried a perfect game through 5 1⁄3 innings before giving up a single to Danny Espinosa, despite Jean Segura’s best efforts. He maintained a shut-out until the seventh inning when back-to-back walks from Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols, and a Yunel Escobar single, brought that dream to a close. In his best start since returning from the DL, Paxton allowed just two hits in his 6.1 innings of work, which bodes well for his, and the Mariners’, future.
I have spent hours, and thousands of words, on Guillermo Heredia’s origin story so, rather than bore you with those details yet again, I’ll simply direct you here, here, or here. Since Mitch Haniger’s return from the DL, Heredia has been relegated back to his original role as 4th outfielder, and today’s start was his first in a week. To prove that he’s worth more than a once-a-week-give-Dyson-a-break start, Heredia walked three times in four at-bats
Heredia joins Seager and Haniger as the only M's to snag three unintentional walks in a game this season.— Andrew Rice (@Andrew_Rice) July 2, 2017
He followed up this clinic in plate discipline with a balletic number in centerfield, which would ultimately prove to be the game-saving catch.
The Mariners drafted Edwin Díaz as a starter in the third round of the 2012 amateur draft. The young Puerto Rican had only recently turned 18, and Seattle signed him for $300,000. He worked his way through the low minors reasonably well, but was fast-tracked to the bigs after the Mariners moved him to the bullpen and he began throwing up to 100 MPH. Five years after being signed out of Caguas Military Academy, Díaz pitched a four out save and secured the Mariners 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of the United States of North America of Earth of the Milky Way Galaxy.
*Honorable mention goes to sweet, goofy Boog Powell, who hit ninth as the mighty DH, went 2 for 4, and demonstrated the fun of speed in unexpected places by scoring from first on a Segura double.