The Mariners continue to be active in the market to sign Cuban players, as they are reportedly on the cusp of adding another one.
Outfielder Guillermo Heredia is apparently about to sign with Seattle, adding another player into the mix in the upper minors – or possibly the majors.
Heredia is a 25-year-old speed-and-defense type, though he did draw walks and post strong on-base percentages in the Cuban professional league (the Serie Nacional). You can see his known Cuban stats here.
Heredia has not played in over two years, due to complications from defecting and the subsequent free agency process. Because of this, he is most likely to begin his US career in the minors – possibly at Double-A Jackson or maybe here in Tacoma. The Mariners will use spring training to evaluate him.
Heredia is part of a recent group of lower-profile Cuban players the Mariners have signed. They added infielder Dayner Moreira earlier this month, and last year they signed pitcher Misael Siverio who spent the 2015 season in the Jackson rotation. The M’s had a big hit with a low-profile Cuban player when Roenis Elias emerged as a major leaguer.
It’s an interesting approach, to search for the bargains in the Cuban market. The big bonus players don’t always work out – sure, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman are superstars, but the Red Sox probably aren’t too happy with all of the money they spent on Rusney Castillo and let’s not ask the Phillies about Miguel Gonzalez. I’m not sure what, exactly, Yasiel Puig is at this point.
Maybe some of these new Cuban players will end up contributing in the majors for the M’s. We’ll probably get an early look at them in Tacoma, and we can pretend we’re scouts and try to figure out if they are going to make it or not.
- Bob Dutton has the full report on Guillermo Heredia.
- Baseball America’s expert on Cuban players is Ben Badler, and here is his write-up on Heredia.
- Position players arrived for physicals today and the whole squad will have its first workout tomorrow.
- There is no shortstop competition in Mariners spring training camp this year. However, the Mariners are looking at adding a veteran utility infielder in case Ketel Marte has a sophomore slump.
- Turns out that the Mariners got Tony Zych from the Cubs last spring for $1. Sounds like something from the movie Trading Places.
- Taijuan Walker spent his winter working on a straight change-up.
- Manager Scott Servais has realistic expectations in what the Mariners might get from James Paxton.
- Looks like Nelson Cruz will spend more time as the DH and less in the outfield this year. He sure hit a lot better when he was in the outfield last year.
- Ryan Divish did a chat for the Seattle Times, answering lots of Mariners questions and name-checking his favorite Tacoma restaurants.
- I never figured I would suggest you go on a Rainiers road trip to Fresno – there are at least a dozen more entertaining PCL cities to catch a road series – but Tacoma is playing the Fresno Tacos twice this year. So, um… book your flights?
Rhubarb the Reindeer can’t wait to get the season started. He gets sad during the winter – check out the video.