Whatever the opposite of clickbait is, that’s this article. No, this is your heaping plate of veggies at the off-season Thanksgiving table, your cottage cheese-and-fresh-fruit “health special” at the diner, a nutritionally-dense if less-scintillating post about the capital-M minor moves the Mariners have made this off-season. But with spring training games quickly approaching, most of these players will take the fields in Arizona suited up for your Seattle Mariners, so it’s worth knowing who they are, both for spring training and the future Tacoma Rainiers/Arkansas Travelers/etc. And you never know: one year one of these players was one Paul Sewald, signed to a minors deal and making the leap from Tacoma’s Opening Day starter to fixture in the big-league bullpen.
At present, free agent signings do not automatically include invitations to spring training unless otherwise noted, but we’ll update this list when the Mariners release their list of NRIs (Non-Roster Invites) for spring training this year. A star (*) indicates a player new to the organization.
1B Mike Ford- He’s baaaaaaaack. Proving that Jerry Dipoto is more loyal than a dog in a country song, the barrel-chested first baseman has been re-re-acquired by the Mariners organization, which first plucked him out of the Yankees organization back in the 2017 Rule 5 draft. The Mariners wound up giving Ford back to the Yankees, and he actually saw some big-league time with the Bronx Bombers over the next three seasons before bouncing around again, first to Tampa Bay, then to the Nationals, then to Seattle again in 2022, then to Atlanta and finally the loathsome Angels before landing back with the Mariners on a minor-league contract this off-season. Entering his age-30 season, the defensively-limited Ford will need to get back to bashing the ball around to stick in a new home.
3B Colin Moran* - Moran is listed as a third baseman on the transaction log but is more of a 1B/DH type. A seven-year MLB vet, Moran secured an invite to spring training on his MiLB deal and will seek to prove he’s closer to the replacement-level player he’s been over the past five seasons and not the one he was in Cincinnati last year, when he struggled to catch on with a poor Reds team and was released in September.
2B Robbie Tenerowicz* - Tenerowicz is a 28-year-old corner infielder who hasn’t cracked the bigs yet, having been released by both his previous organizations (Tampa Bay and Cincinnati). Tenerowicz had a great 2021 as a 26-year-old in Double-A, earning All-Star status, but fell off in 2022 in his first taste at Triple-A. He’s also a bigtime Driveline guy who has been praised for elite bat speed and exit velocities. He’s one I’ll be watching this spring.
The Byrdman has insane bat speed and is an elite teammate. Great example of training age being a better indicator of his future than his chronological age. Orgs should definitely give him a shot for upper-level minor league corner IF jobs. https://t.co/2RNhmslBQE— Kyle Boddy (@drivelinebases) January 4, 2023
SS/2B Leonardo “Leo” Rivas*: The Venezuelan-born Rivas was with the Angels for several years before he was traded to Cincinnati prior to the 2020 season as part of the return for Raisel Iglesias. At the time, Rivas was the Angels’ 25th-ranked prospect, but he’s struggled to hit in the upper minors. He has showed an ability to get on base between a contact-oriented approach making the most of his plus speed and solid plate discipline. Defensively, he can hold down either side of the middle infield.
3B Jason Vosler* - Vosler was most recently with the Giants, where he spent the last two seasons yo-yoing between the big-league club and Triple-A Sacramento. He doesn’t hit the ball hard and strikes out more than you’d prefer for a utility infielder type, and his glovework wasn’t sterling, even with the extremely defensively-poor 2022 Giants. The Mariners released Vosler at the end of January, and he signed on with the Reds, where he’ll have an easier path to playing time.
Jacob Nottingham: Maybe most well-known for inspiring the “Jacob Nottingham Rule” (teams can’t claim a player they’ve already claimed on waivers until every other team has passed) after Seattle and Milwaukee played a cruel game of ping-pong with him in 2021, Nottingham has decided to come back, because devil you know vs. don’t, etc. Come see our labor hero at Tacoma, where he and Brian O’Keefe will serve as insurance to Seattle’s catching tandem.
Brian O’Keefe: Another “break glass in case of emergency” option. The long-time Cardinals farmhand will be entering his fourth season with Seattle and is likely the first in line should the unthinkable happen.
Eric Stock: An outfielder from UConn, the Mariners signed Stock as an undrafted free agent two days before Christmas. Go read his Instagram post about it, I dare you not to get at least a little misty-eyed. And then for a change of pace, go read this Tweet where he gets to absolutely dunk on a hater after being signed. Score one for the man in the arena.
LHP Ian Clarkin: Clarkin was the Yankees’ first-round draft pick (33rd overall) in 2013, but has battled injuries throughout his career. He did not pitch in 2022 after a rough season with Colorado in 2021 where he got incinerated in the blast furnaces of the PCL.
RHP Michael Flynn: Not the former embattled National Security Advisor nor the 1890s baseball player who famously played one career game, Michael Ryan Flynn was picked up out of the Pirates organization last season and has re-upped with the Mariners for 2023. With Everett last season, the 6’4” 26-year-old performed better than his 7-something ERA, although he needs to get in the zone more as he advances to the upper minors.
RHP Rodney Hutchison: The Mariners picked the 6’5” Hutchison up last June when he was released by the Yankees after dealing with an injury; he’d go on to win Pitcher of the Month honors in the Cal League in September. Hutchison was a standout at UNC and, while not a flamethrower, features some disgusting late movement on his fastball and off-speed offerings. Look for him to move quickly once healthy.
Scoreless 5th inning for Rodney Hutchison. pic.twitter.com/0PxM7UHt9P— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 8, 2022
LHP Tommy Milone: It’s reassuring to think about how when the oceans catch fire and cities sink into the sea, somewhere Tommy Milone will be buttoning up a Rainiers jersey, ready in case the big-league club needs a crafty lefty for a spot start.
RHP Jose Rodriguez: Rodriguez, a soft-contact merchant with a low-90s fastball and fringe curve/change, came up with the Angels and got a big-league cup of coffee in before electing free agency; Seattle will be his third organization to test out if it was Angels pitching development or just subpar stuff that’s been standing in his way.
RHP Ryder Ryan*: Ryan has been traded twice for New York baseball fixtures, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier, with the second trade sending him to division-rival Texas. As much as a guy named “Ryder Ryan” seems destined to be a Ranger for life, he joined up with the Mariners this off-season, where his flyball tendencies shouldn’t be as much of a problem in the spacious Tacoma outfield. He’s a fastball-slider reliever who could stand to improve his command of the strike zone, but there’s interesting raw stuff here, with a mid-90s heater.
RHP Allan Saathoff: A D2 standout at Erskine College, Saathoff was signed as an UDFA this January. Saathoff caught scout’s eyes when he popped 97 (sitting 95-96) on a pro day at Tread Athletic (a well-regarded training facility in Charlotte, NC), and was offered contracts by the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Mariners. In addition to the fastball, Saathoff has a sweeping, late-breaking slider nicknamed The Dark Knight.
RHP Casey Sadler: We obviously all know and love C-Sadz/the Saddleman/Sadlington Bear around these parts, and are really hoping that new shoulder is in fine working order so we can see that gorgeous curveball in action in the big-league ‘pen again soon.
RHP Kyle Tyler: While not listed officially in the transactions log yet, MLB Trade Rumors reports the Mariners will be signing the former Angel and final boss of “two first name” guys. After being DFA’d from Anaheim’s roster during post-lockout Spring Training, Tyler ping-ponged around extensively in 2022, eventually winding up with the Giants’ Triple-A squad, where a career below-average walk rate suddenly ballooned up to over 20%. The groundball specialist will look to show that year was an anomaly with Seattle.
LHP Blake Weiman: A career farmhand with the Pirates before he was released from Triple-A last July, the Mariners picked up the 6’3” lefty and sent him to Arkansas, where he was part of a combined no-hitter in August; he re-upped with Seattle on a minor-league deal this December. The 27-year-old Weiman has posted solid K:BB totals during his climb through the minor leagues, although you’d like to see a touch more strikeouts for a reliever.
Blake Weiman was dominant in the 10th. pic.twitter.com/GIIad9JXne— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 15, 2022
RHP Taylor Williams: Williams re-upped with the Mariners for 2023 after being re-acquired by the team after the Padres cut him loose, meaning the Mariners essentially got Matt Brash for free, which is pretty cool.
RHP Joseph Yabbour - Yabbour is a 19-year-old the Twins signed out of Venezuela in 2019, but he never pitched a professional inning before being released in 2022. He’ll start with the ACL Mariners this spring. He’s cousins with Eduardo Escobar and Ronald Acuña Jr.
Other roster updates:
- After being DFA’d to make space for RHP J.B. Bukauskas, OF Alberto Rodríguez has cleared waivers and will remain with the Mariners organization.
- After being DFA’d to make space for LHP Tayler Saucedo, RHP J.B. Bukauskas has cleared waivers and been assigned to Tacoma.
- After being DFA’d to make space for INF/DH Tommy La Stella, LHP Justus Sheffield has cleared waivers and been assigned to Tacoma.