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Everett native OF Steven Souza Jr. signs a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners

A homecoming for a depth piece.

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

The Seattle Mariners have reportedly signed OF Steven Souza Jr. to a minor league deal.

Souza has played in MLB for parts of every season since 2014 except 2019, which he missed in its entirety to a left knee injury. The former 3rd round pick was a star at Cascade High School in Everett, WA and has been a member of the Nationals, Rays, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Astros, and Dodgers organizations. His best seasons came with the Rays, as he put up two years as a solid bench bat, as well as a breakout 2017 campaign in which he hit .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 16 stolen bases in 20 attempts, and a 121 wRC+.

Unfortunately, injuries have derailed things for Souza Jr., who has struggled to secure consistent reps or deliver big league performance subsequently. He delivered excellent offensive numbers in Triple-A Oklahoma City for the Dodgers in 2021, but as has always been the case, his high-strikeout profile made for a thin margin for error in 2021 when the Dodgers called him up. The 32-year-old righty still has plenty of power, but his odds of cracking Seattle’s deep outfield at the big league level seem long, as Souza Jr. is limited to corner outfield in the field. He’ll play in Tacoma to start the year, and would be eligible for a $1 million base salary if he made the big league roster.