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Mariners Sign Catcher John Baker to Minor League Deal

New Mariners catcher John Baker.

New Mariners catcher John Baker.

The Mariners have signed catcher John Baker to a minor league deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training.

Baker, 34, appeared in 68 games for the Chicago Cubs last season as the backup catcher, the most games he has played since a career-high 112 games with the Marlins in 2009. He hit .192 (35×182) with 7 doubles and 15 RBI with the Cubs.

He has played in 359 Major League games over seven seasons with the Florida/Miami Marlins (2008-2011), San Diego Padres (2012-13) and Cubs (2014). He was originally selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 4th round of the 2002 June Draft out of the University of California-Berkeley.

Baker is also part of a possible trivia question, as he recorded the pitching win and scored the game-winning run in a 16-inning game July 29 vs. Colorado. He became the first Cubs true position player to earn a win since Fred Pfeffer in 1885.

Pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in Peoria, AZ on Feb. 20 (physicals) and hold the first workout Feb. 21. Position players are scheduled to report for physicals Feb. 24 and the first full-squad workout will be Feb. 25.

The Mariners Spring Training roster is currently at 58 players (40 roster, 18 non-roster), including 27 pitchers (7 non-roster), 7 catchers (4 non-roster), 12 infielders (3 non-roster) and 12 outfielders (4 non-roster).

Manfred’s Takes Over as Major League Baseball Commissioner

New MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

New MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Yesterday was the first official day for new Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Manfred penned a letter outlining some of his goals as commissioner. Please give it a read as it really shows his passion for continuing to grow the game of baseball.

Manfred_Letter

Another interesting item is that there will be new baseballs for the 2015 season, of course with Mr. Manfred’s signature on them. Since the 2000 regular season, the official game-used baseballs have had the signature of former commissioner Bud Selig. Prior to the 2000 season, the official baseballs bore the signature of the respective league presidents.

} New Baseballs with Rob Manfred's Signature (MLB Photos)

Mariners Sign Veteran Outfielders Chavez and Gutierrez to Minor League Deals

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Endy and Franklin are back!

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik announced today that veteran outfielders Endy Chavez and Franklin Gutierrez have signed with the club as minor league free agents and will participate in Major League Spring Training as non-roster invitees.

Chavez, 36 (turns 37 Feb. 7), appeared in 80 games with the Mariners last season. He hit .276 (64×232) with 12 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs and 23 RBI while playing all three outfield positions. This is the third consecutive spring training Endy will be a non-roster invite with the Mariners.

A veteran of 13 Major League seasons, Chavez has appeared in 1,151 career games with the Royals (2001), Expos (2002-04), Nationals (2005), Phillies (2005), Mets (2006-08), Mariners (2009, 2013-14), Rangers (2011) and Orioles (2012).

Gutierrez, 31 (turns 32 Feb. 21), is looking to make a comeback after not playing professional baseball last season. Gutierrez last appeared in the Majors in 41 games with the Mariners in 2013, batting .248 with 7 doubles and 10 home runs. He missed 106 games in two DL stints with a strained right hamstring, April 23-June 21 & June 25-Aug. 25. Gutierrez battled several injuries and illnesses during a three-season span from 2011-2013 that allowed him to appear in only 173 of 486 team games, making 6 separate trips to the disabled list. He was an American League Gold Glove winner in 2010.

Pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in Peoria, AZ on Feb. 20 (physicals) and hold the first workout Feb. 21. Position players are scheduled to report for physicals Feb. 24 and the first full-squad workout will be Feb. 25.

The Mariners Spring Training roster is currently at 57 players (40 roster, 17 non-roster), including 27 pitchers (7 non-roster), 6 catchers (3 non-roster), 12 infielders (3 non-roster) and 12 outfielders (4 non-roster).

The Past Meets the Present in New Alternate Uniform

SundayUni_2

The Mariners today unveiled a new alternate uniform that will be worn during Sunday home games at Safeco Field.

The new jersey and pants are a classic cream color. The lettering and logo are the same as the current uniforms but in the original Mariners colors. The “Mariners” lettering is royal blue with gold trim outlined in royal. The button placket and sleeves are trimmed in royal, and there is a Mariners nautical “compass rose” patch in royal and gold on the left sleeve.

In a nod to vintage baseball uniforms, there are no players’ names on the backs of the jerseys; just large block numbers in royal with gold trim. The look is completed with a royal blue cap with gold Mariners “S” and compass rose baseball logo and royal blue socks with gold stripes and.

Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Charlie Furbush and Nelson Cruz in the new uniform.

Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Charlie Furbush and Nelson Cruz in the new uniform.

“The royal blue and gold colors of our franchise’s inaugural uniforms are blended with the lettering and logo of our current identity in a unique design that pays homage to our club’s history,” said Kevin Martinez, Vice President of Marketing for the Seattle Mariners. “This new alternate uniform is perfect for sunny Sunday afternoons at Safeco Field.”

The uniforms were unveiled today at Safeco Field with Nelson Cruz, James Paxton, Charlie Furbush and Taijuan Walker as models [photos will be posted this afternoon].

In addition to the new alternate Sunday uniforms, the Mariners also announced minor changes to the lettering of the home and road jerseys. The words “Mariners” (for home whites) and “Seattle” (for road grays) in navy letters will be trimmed in silver outlined in Northwest green.

“We’ve simply reversed the order of the silver and green. The change is subtle,” said Martinez, “but the modified color arrangement presents a much stronger and crisper on-field look.”

The Mariners two other alternate jerseys, Navy and Northwest Green, are unchanged.

SundayUni_1

 

Social Media:

Media Day Recap

We had a great turnout today for our annual Pre-Spring Training Media Luncheon, with several front office members and left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ talking with the media.

We posted a lot of social media activity in an earlier post [Media Day Live Blog] and below are several stories that came out of the event.

New Mariners Players Line Dave Niehaus Way

With each baseball season comes new players and new faces…literally.

Mariners fans should be more familiar with the players photos that line Dave Niehaus Way (First Avenue South) between Edgar Martinez Way and Royal Brougham Way. Each January (and sometimes throughout the season) new players are added to the collage of photos to depict current members of the team.

In preparation for this weekend’s FanFest, three new players were added today: Austin Jackson, Nelson Cruz and J.A. Happ. Be sure to check them out this weekend out at Safeco Field.

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Fernando Rodney – Scenes from South Korea

We had a small post last week on Fernando Rodney visiting Korea on a goodwill trip. The Mariners closer has been busy in Korea, visiting the Little League World Champions, the US Embassy and most recently the Sacred Heart School for the Deaf and Seji Middle School. Here are some photos and a link to a video of his trip.

Fernando will fly from Korea to Seattle to take part in this weekend’s FanFest activities at Safeco Field.

New Alternate Uniform to be Unveiled Friday

SEA_Uniform_Social

On Friday, the Mariners will unveil a new alternate uniform to be worn on Sunday games at Safeco Field during the 2015 season. The unveiling will take part  be part of an invitation-only event for Mariners season ticket holders and guests. We’ll post some pictures hopefully by noon on Friday to share the exciting new look.

Fernando Rodney Takes Save Celebration to Korea

Mariners closer Fernando Rodney is off to Korea on a goodwill trip where he will visit  U.S. soldiers on a military base and participate in a youth baseball camp while there. His schedule also includes lunch at the Dominican Republic Embassy, a visit to a school for the blind and a meet-and-greet with the 2014 Little League champions from South Korea (whom he has a fun connection with).

MLB.com writer Jesse Sanchez caught up with Fernando from the Miami Airport before taking off on his trip. Upon returning from Korea, Rodney will head straight to Seattle to participate in FanFest Jan. 24-25.

Yesterday was also a big day for Fernando as his bobblehead night on May 9 vs. the A’s was announced.

 

Mariners Acquire LHP Mike Kickham from Chicago Cubs

Newest Mariner Mike Kickham pitched for the Giants last season.

Newest Mariner Mike Kickham pitched for the Giants last season.

Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has acquired left-handed pitcher Mike Kickham (kick-uhm) from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor league RHP Lars Huijer (pronounced higher).

To make room on the 40-man roster for Kickham, LHP Anthony Fernandez has been designated for assignment. The Mariners 40-man roster remains full at 40 players.

Kickham, 26, has spent his entire career in the San Francisco Giants organization prior to being claimed off waivers by the Cubs on Dec. 23, 2014. He was designated for assignment by the Cubs on Jan. 9 when they signed OF Chris Denorfia.

Pitching primarily with AAA Fresno last season, Kickham went 8-8 with a 4.43 ERA (73 ER, 148.1 IP) in 27 starts. Amongst Pacific Coast League leaders the left-hander ranked tied for 4th in strikeouts (131), 4th in games started (27) and 7th in innings pitched (148.1). In limited big league action with the Giants over the last two seasons is 0-3 with a 10.98 ERA.

Kickham was originally selected by the Giants in the 6th round of the 2010 June draft out of Missouri State University.

Huijer, 21, went 6-9 with a 5.08 ERA in 28 games (24 starts) with A Clinton and A High Desert last season. The Dutch native has combined to go 17-17 with a 4.48 ERA in five minor league seasons. He was signed by the Mariners as a non-drafted free agent on June 1, 2011.

Fernandez, 24, went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA (11 ER, 25.2 IP) in 5 starts with AAA Tacoma last season before going on the disabled list with a left elbow injury. He had season-ending “Tommy John” surgery on his left elbow May 22 performed by Dr. James Andrews.

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