We received some surprising news late this week, as the Mariners added two free agents.
First, it was reported that the Mariners have come to terms with major league free agent second baseman Rickie Weeks on a one-year contract. This was a surprise because the Mariners don’t need a second baseman, and Weeks has never played any other position – and in fact chose not to learn to play left field last year for Milwaukee.
Apparently the 32-year-old Weeks has changed his tune, because the M’s are going to play him at many positions if he makes the team.
Weeks did hit well last year in a platoon role, succeeding against left-handed pitchers. It was his first good season since 2011. If he can learn to play first base, there is a chance he could be a valuable platoon partner with Logan Morrison. Ditto for left field and Dustin Ackley.
If Weeks makes the team, he firmly pushes guys like Stefen Romero and Jesus Montero back to Tacoma.
The second move the Mariners made was signing former Cleveland Indians left-handed pitcher Rafael Perez to a minor league contract.
Perez is a depth signing and he’ll probably open the season with Tacoma, as he has not pitched in the majors since 2012. That being said, he’s coming off a terrific year.
In 2014 Perez opened the season with Round Rock and made four relief appearances before jumping to the Mexican League. It was in Mexico where Perez was given the opportunity to start games – something he had not done since 2007. Perez had a nice run in Mexico and returned to the states for the end of the season – where he dealt for Triple-A Indianapolis, posting a 1.77 ERA in ten appearances (eight starts) covering 56 innings.
Perez then pitched in the Dominican Winter League, where he continued to have success as a starter. He even tossed 5.1 shutout innings against Cuba in the Caribbean Series.
I’m not sure if the Mariners are considering Perez as a starter or a reliever for Tacoma – and it’s likely they haven’t decided yet, either. All 338 of his major league appearances have been as a reliever (career ERA: 3.64), but he put himself back on the map as a starter in the past 12 months.
- Here’s Ryan Divish’s report on the Mariners surprise signing of Rickie Weeks.
- Jeff Sullivan has a great post on the Weeks signing (warning: light profanity), and Scott Weber discusses some of the potential fallout from the move which will affect the Rainiers roster.
- Bob Dutton has a post on the addition of Rafael Perez, which includes his major league stats. Perez’s minor league stats are here.
- Anticipated Tacoma Rainiers infielder Carlos Rivero made Baseball America’s list of a dozen players to watch coming off big winter ball seasons.
- Divish’s pre-spring training Mariners previews continued with a look at the third base position. Today he looked at the catchers, which he identifies as a key area for the Mariners in 2015.
- Ever wonder what happened to Rainiers slugger Jeff Clement? Here’s a video update.
- Great stuff: former Mariners infielder Lenny Randle released some funk records that are now collector’s items. The “Kingdome” song is actually fun!
- Continuing our baseball-and-golf theme, Buster Posey played the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach and ended up, well, spending a lot of time in the sand.
Have a great weekend while pondering this: spring training starts next week!