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Mitch Haniger & Erasmo Ramirez to represent Mariners in Japan Series, Evan White leads AFL Fall Stars

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Meetch+Mito in the Tokyo Dome.

Seattle Mariners v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The offseason doesn’t always offer a burst of breaking news, but a few fun announcements came today that merited their own post. First, today marks the beginning of free agency for seven Mariners players: INF Gordon Beckham, DH Nelson Cruz, LHP Zach Duke, OF Cameron Maybin, RHP David Phelps, UTIL Andrew Romine, and RHP Adam Warren. They will have until midday Friday to re-sign with Seattle before hitting the open market for other teams to make offers. Only Cruz and Phelps seem likely to return, and the latter may well be on a minor league deal, or an inexpensive MLB contract. Cruz’s return is more weighty but no less uncertain. There will be four days to negotiate exclusively before other teams can make a move.

If waiting on contractual minutiae isn’t what gets your juices flowing, I have Real Baseball news to offer you. The Japan Series - wherein MLB sends a contingent of “stars” to Japan to play two pure exhibition games as well as a six-game exhibition series against Japan’s national team, Samurai Japan - begins Thursday, November 7th and runs through the 15th. The series begins with an exhibition against the Chinese Taipei national team, followed by a game against the NPB’s Yomiuri Giants on the 8th. From the 9th-15th the MLB’s squad will face-off against Samurai Japan. The series took place for biannually from 1986-2006, with MLB going 9-1 in the series’ with a record of 48-20-7, but after a long hiatus Samurai Japan defeated MLB in five games during the 2014 reopening of the series. This year’s MLB squad will feature Mariners OF Mitch Haniger and RHP Erasmo Ramirez, as well as hitting coach Edgar Martinez.

The pitching is understandably not the best MLB has to offer, but a strong contingent of exciting young players should make the series exciting to watch. The games will be televised both on Nippon Television in Japan and by MLB Network in the US and Canada.

Speaking of exhibition games in November, the Arizona Fall League rolls on, and its All-Star Game will feature three Mariners prospects: 1B Evan White, RHP Wyatt Mills, and RHP David McKay.

If you’re a prospect hound, one, I’m sorry you’re a Mariners fan, but two, you likely recognize these three names. Even if you’re less intense, the first two names probably ring a bell. White and Mills were the 1st and 3rd round picks of the 2017 MLB draft for Seattle, and both have shown promise in their time in the organization. McKay was an under-the-radar acquisition in the sense that the Mariners very possibly paid literally one (1) American dollar to the Royals for his services, but showed himself to be a decent middle relief prospect with a dynamite AA showing this year. This game will be televised as well, at 5 PM PT on MLB Network and live streamed on MLB.com.

Baseball! It still happens in winter, and sometimes with Mariners!