A SB Nation reporter says that the Mariners have signed outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis to a minor league contract – much to the chagrin of our PR guy Brett, who will have to spell that all of the time.
Nieuwenhuis has played all or parts of six major league seasons, with the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers. He’s been a reserve outfielder in the majors. He has some power and is a good defensive player, but he hits for a low average and strikes out a lot. In recent seasons he has been drawing a lot of walks, helping his OBP and bringing extra value.
In the Pacific Coast League, Nieuwenhuis has played for both Las Vegas (2013-15) and Colorado Springs (2017).
This year the 30-year-old Nieuwenhuis appeared in 84 games for Colorado Springs, hitting .244 with a .366 on-base percentage. He hit four home runs in 205 at-bats, which was a surprisingly low total for him (he hit 13 homers in the majors for Milwaukee in 2016, in 335 at-bats).
I suspect the Mariners appreciate the fact that Nieuwenhuis can play all three outfield positions, as well as his major league experience. Nieuwenhuis will go to spring training and compete for the fourth or fifth outfielder spot, with a season-opening assignment in Tacoma a strong possibility.
- Larry LaRue was a talented sportswriter who covered the Mariners for The News Tribune. He passed away last week, and John McGrath wrote a terrific remembrance.
- Mariners bullpen prospect Art Warren makes an appearance in Baseball America’s Arizona Fall League Hot List.
- It’s that time of the year when teams have to protect their more experienced minor league prospects on the 40-man roster so they won’t be exposed in the Rule 5 Draft. If you want to get depressed, USS Mariner has a post explaining why the Mariners don’t really have to worry about that this year.
- Looks like the Mariners Class-A Clinton (Iowa) affiliate is sprucing up the ballpark a little bit.
- Friend of the blog Keith Law checked in with ex-Rainiers outfielder Jabari Blash, who saw his native Virgin Islands devastated by a hurricane.