The Mariners are bringing two more minor league free agents into spring training camp, and both are potential Rainiers players in April.
The team announced that former Omaha catcher Manny Pina has been signed, adding more depth to the catching group. Pina has played at the Double-A level or above every year since 2008, getting brief tastes of the majors in 2011 and 2012 (for a total of five MLB games, with Kansas City).
Pina is a defense-first catcher – in fact, that might be why he has spent so much time at Double-A the past six years. He did get 99 at-bats for Triple-A Omaha last year, hitting .242 with two homers. In 68 games for Omaha in 2011, he batted .238 with five homers, and nudged his OPS over .700.
The catching depth chart is probably full now, and it’s interesting – we’ll start with the catching position when we begin our look at the spring training positional battles next Wednesday.
Potentially more important to the big league team, the Mariners have signed veteran left-handed reliever Joe Beimel to a minor league contract, presumably with an invitation to big league camp.
The 36-year-old Beimel has appeared in 567 Major League games, posting a 4.21 career ERA. His best years were 2006-to-2008 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, when he was one of the tougher left-on-left relievers in the NL.
Beimel’s career came to a halt with an elbow injury after the 2011 season, which eventually required Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2012, then came back for the second half of 2013 which he spent with the Atlanta Braves Triple-A affiliate in the International League. Beimel had a 4.36 ERA in 30 games for Gwinett, but was not called up by the Braves in September, so he became a free agent.
Beimel is a gamble that could pay off at the major league level for the Mariners. He could be a Rainiers reliever, too – he’s pitched at Cheney Stadium before, prior to the renovation when he had a very brief stay with Las Vegas in 2010.
- Ryan Divish has a note on the Joe Beimel signing, and a post with a few links.
- National baseball scribe Tracy Ringolsby writes that the Mariners have more work to do.
And that’s all we have for baseball stories today. I wonder why? Nothing else is going on…