The Mariners selected left-handed pitcher David Rollins from the Houston Astros in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft this morning to conclude the 2014 Winter Meetings held in San Diego, California.
Rollins was the 12th player selected in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
With this selection, the Mariners 40-man roster is now full (see below). Seattle did not lose any players in the Major League or Minor League phases of the Rule 5 Draft.
Rollins, turns 25 December 21, spent last season with AA Corpus Christi in the Houston Astros organization. He was 3-4 with a 3.81 ERA (33 ER, 78.0 IP) with 77 strikeouts in 27 appearances including 12 starts.
A player selected in the Rule 5 Draft must be kept on the Major League 25-man roster of the drafting team for the entirety of next season, and the selected player must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days. If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team from which he was selected.
Once a player is selected, he is automatically assigned to his new organization’s 40-man roster. Current Mariners LHP Lucas Luetge was a product of the Rule 5 Draft in December 2011 (from Milwaukee).
In parts of four minor league seasons he is 23-16 with a 3.39 ERA (135 ER, 358.2 IP) with 343 strikeouts in 88 games including 64 starts. During his minor league career, he averaged 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
Rollins was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays after being selected in the 24th round of the 2011 June Amateur Draft out of San Jacinto College, North Campus (Houston, TX). The left-hander was previously selected twice by the Mariners in the June amateur draft; in the 23rd round of the 2009 draft and in the 46th round of the 2010 draft.
Ironically, Rollins was traded by Toronto to Houston as part of a 10-player trade that saw current Mariners left-hander J.A. Happ go from Houston to the Blue Jays.
As usual, GM Jack Zduriencik worked the phones to try and improve the club. As he told MLB.com’s Greg Johns, The News Tribune’s Bob Dutton and the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish, there are a lot of variables that come into play when trying to find the right fit.
Manager Lloyd McClendon had a busy day on the media circuit today, touching base with MLB Network Radio, ESPN and was also available to media during the Manager Luncheon.
Before the Manager Luncheon began, all 30 skippers got the chance to mingle and talk to their counterparts.
After lunch, the American League Managers got together for a group photo.
The night is still young…you never know what can happen with just one phone call.
Conversations continue as GM Jack Zduriencik looks for ways to improve the club. He’s examining at all of the team’s options and is of course receiving lots of interest in the Mariners players.
Like yesterday, be sure to check out the respective blogs/websites for the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish, The Tacoma News Tribune’s Bob Dutton and MLB.com’s Greg Johns to catch up on what Zduriencik told them during their media availability.
Baseball America High School Player of the Year
Mariners 2014 top draft pick Alex Jackson is in town (his hometown) here in San Diego to collect Baseball America‘s High School Player of the Year Award. While here, he took some time to talk to Greg Johns, Ryan Divish and Bob Dutton before the awards ceremony. Be sure to look for their features later tonight or tomorrow to read about what Jackson has been up to this offseason.
Mariners Affiliates Dinner
The Mariners affiliates dinner will start shortly and the club is excited to see everybody here in San Diego and are looking forward to meeting the folks from the Bakersfield Blaze, the Mariners new High-A affiliate in the California League. We’ll post pictures of the event later tonight.
Last week’s news about Kyle Seager’s contract extension and the signing of Nelson Cruz have you eager for the season to start, take heart, Spring Training is coming right up.
Tickets for Mariners Spring Training games at the Peoria Sports Complex go on sale to the general public on Saturday, December 20. If you are a Mariners season ticket holders or Mariners.com registered user, there are special pre-sales just for you.
The registered user pre-sale is 11am PST on December 13 until 4pm PST on December 15. (Season ticket holders are being contacted directly with information about their pre-sale opportunity.)
If you’d like to register at Mariners.com, the deadline to sign up is Thursday, December 11.
The other pre-sale opportunity is with the Peoria Sports Complex Ticket Office Priority Order form. Download the form at Peoriaaz.gov/SpringTraining. There is a three game minimum or 20 ticket minimum for group orders. Deadline for Priority Orders is December 16.
Once Spring Training tickets go on sale to the public on December 20, they’ll be available by phone (800-677-1227 and 888-SEA-HITS) and online (Mariners.com). The Ticket Office at the Peoria Sports Complex opens on January 10.
Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 20. The first game of the 2015 Spring campaign is the annual charity game against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, March 4. Proceeds from the game benefit several Peoria area non-profits.
The Mariners Spring Training Schedule includes 32 total games and 16 “home” games at the Peoria Sports Complex. The Mariners will host both World Series participants in Peoria. The American League Champion Kansas City Royals visit on Thursday, March 26, followed two days later (March 28) by the World Champion San Francisco Giants.
The Mariners close out the 2015 training camp with a pair of games against the Colorado Rockies: Friday, April 3, at Peoria (7:05pm) and Saturday, April 4, at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. (12:10pm). The Mariners then travel to Seattle to prepare for the regular season Opening Day at Safeco Field on Monday, April 6, against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Major League Baseball world has converged in San Diego for the Winter Meetings, which means there are people everywhere. General Managers, Managers, scouts, agents, media, job seekers, front office members and others have taken over the Manchester Grand Hyatt as they ponder what lies ahead for this offseason.
General Manager Jack Zduriencik has already been busy talking to other teams and player agents as he looks for ways to improve the ball club and his days will last long into the evening.
Between their usual responsibilities, Jack and Manager Lloyd McClendon have taken time out of their schedules to meet with media outlets. Both Jack and Lloyd met with the MLB Network this morning/afternoon and will continue to make the rounds the rest of this week.
If you didn’t see the previous post on this blog, click here to check out Lloyd’s segment with Brian Kenny, Ron Darling and Joel Sherman on MLB Now.
And here is Jack’s segment with Chris Rose, Harold Reynolds and Kevin Millar:
Before the start of last season, the baseball family lost Baltimore Orioles Public Relations Director Monica Barlow to lung cancer. To keep her legacy alive, Major League Baseball has teamed up with Lungevity, the largest national lung cancer-focused nonprofit, to raise funds and awareness to fight this disease.
Club public relations members joined Orioles Manager Buck Showalter and Monica’s husband, Ben at a news conference to announce a charity auction that will benefit the Lungevity organization. To check out about the unique experiences that you can bid on, head over to MLB.com/Lungevity
You can read more about the auction on Greg Johns’ blog: Mariners offer unique auction items for Stand Up to Cancer fundraiser at Winter Meetings
Jack Zduriencik Meets With Seattle Media
Each day, Jack Zduriencik meets with members of the Seattle media to give them an update on what’s going on for him during the day.
Be sure to check the respective blogs to get a recap of their conversation with Jack.
It is that time of year when the Winter Meetings are in progress (in sunny San Diego) and the annual prospect rankings start to trickle in. Baseball America, one of the most respected publications for covering college, minor league and Major League Baseball, has published their annual top 10 in the Mariners organization. For the complete top 30 and detailed scouting reports on the prospects you can order their 2015 Top Prospect Handbook. Here’s a look at the Mariners top 10:
- Alex Jackson, OF
- D.J. Peterson, 3B
- Ketel Marte, SS
- Patrick Kivlehan, 3B/1B
- Austin Wilson, OF
- Edwin Diaz, RHP
- Gabby Guerrero, OF
- Luiz Gohara, LHP
- Ryan Yarbrough, LHP
- Carson Smith, RHP
His a look at the Mariners Top 10 Prospects by Baseball America dating all the way back to 1984:
Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and a crew of volunteers for two dozen non-profits got to play Santa Claus for needy kids in the Puget Sound area at the annual Toys For Kids holiday shopping spree.
Carts were piled high with Legos, stuffed animals and all-things “Frozen” at the Bellevue Toys R Us. Each item will be wrapped and presented to a child who otherwise might not have a very happy holiday. This is all thanks to the efforts of Rizzs, former Mariners outfielder Dave Henderson, volunteers from the Mariners RBI Club and generous donors.
Toys For Kids was founded by Rizzs and Henderson, and a handful of Hendu’s teammates back in 1995. They raised a few thousand dollars and bought toys for around 500 children. Since then, the program has grown and this year, they raised $245,000 and will buy gifts for 8,000 kids.
The first of several distribution events is this weekend in conjunction with Harborview Medical Center. There are 22 organizations participating in the Toys For Kids program this year including Country Doctor, First Place, Atlantic Street Center, Broadview Women’s Shelter, YWCA Seattle Emergency Housing, Seattle Children’s Home and Ronald McDonald House.
Another day, another news conference at Safeco Field. Today, the Mariners introduced their newest slugger, outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Nelson did a sit-down interview with ROOT Sports, held a news conference with the local media (and carried by Mariners.com and MLB Network) and did several interviews. Here are some highlights from the big day at Safeco Field.
Video of Introductory News Conference:
Photos courtesy of the Associated Press & Getty Images
Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has signed free agent outfielder / designated hitter Nelson Cruz to a 4-year contract through the 2018 season. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“Our number one goal this off-season was to improve our offense, ideally by adding right-handed power, and with the addition of Nelson Cruz we think we’ve accomplished that goal,” Zduriencik said. “He is an impact hitter that will bat in the middle of our line-up. Nelson has a track record as a middle of the order hitter on pennant contending clubs. He will be an asset on the field and in the clubhouse. Nelson’s presence in our clubhouse and as a teammate will continue to help our club advance to the next level. We see him as an ideal fit as we strive toward our goal of winning a World Championship.”
“I am excited to join the Mariners,” Cruz said. “Watching Seattle play from the other side of the field, I know how close this team is to the post-season, and I am hopeful that I can help to get us there.”Cruz, 34, led the Majors with 40 home runs in 2014, and was third in the Majors with 108 RBI to go along with 32 doubles and 2 triples. He set new single-season career-highs in runs (87), hits (166), HR, RBI, walks (55), extra-base hits (74) and total bases (322) while tying his career-high in games played (159).
Cruz, a right-handed hitting outfielder and designated hitter, was twice named American League Player of the Week last season (weeks ending June 1 & Sept. 7). He played in his third All-Star Game, and was voted a starter for the first time, collecting over 3-million votes at DH. At the conclusion of the season, was voted the Orioles Most Valuable Player by the local Baltimore media. Cruz was also the Orioles nominee for the Hank Aaron Award.
Cruz’s 159 games played included starts in left field, right field and as the designated hitter. Baltimore was 95-64 when he started, including 36-24 when he was in left, 8-2 when he was in right and 51-38 when he was the DH.
Cruz has appeared in the postseason in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, including in the ALCS and World Series in 2010 and 2011. He has three All-Star Game appearances (2009, 2013, 2014) and also played in a pair of World Baseball Classic’s (2009, 2013) for the Dominican Republic.
Cruz is a 10-year MLB veteran who has appeared in the Majors with Milwaukee (2005), Texas (2006-2013) and Baltimore. In his Major League career, he has appeared in 963 games, hitting a combined .268 with 203 doubles, 10 triples, 197 home runs and 597 RBI. Cruz boasts a career slugger percentage of .501 and a career OPS of .829. In every season in his career in which he has appeared in at least 100 games, Cruz has collected at least 20 home runs and 75 RBI.
Cruz is one of just seven players with 20 or more home runs in each of the past six seasons:
• Nelson Cruz
• Miguel Cabrera
• Matt Holiday
• Brian McCann
• David Ortiz
• Hunter Pence
• Mark Reynolds