M’s Add Lefty, A Top Prospects List, Maybe A Power Hitter For Tacoma?

We’ve got some Mariners news items before heading off to Thanksgiving, so let’s get to it.

The Mariners have acquired left-handed pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. from the New York Yankees in exchange for international signing cap space.

Cortes spent most of the 2019 season in the Yankees bullpen, going 5-1 with a 5.67 ERA, but when he was in Triple-A he was used as a starting pitcher. He has a 3.11 ERA in 42 career appearances (31 starts) at the Triple-A level. In the majors Cortes had a home run problem, just like MLB itself.

He will be added to the Mariners 40-man roster, which now has three open spots on it. Cortes reportedly has two options years remaining, so he could spend time in Tacoma in 2020 and 2021.

One of the Mariners big weaknesses in the farm system is advanced-level left-handed pitching, so Cortes helps in that area. The Rainiers went most of the 2019 season without a lefty in the bullpen, although there were a few in the starting rotation: the improving Anthony Misiewicz, and the veteran Sean Nolin who is currently a free agent.

The Baseball Prospectus website unveiled its Seattle Mariners Top Prospects package, which features in-depth write-ups of key players in the organization. It’s a subscription site, but here’s how they ranked the Mariners Top Ten:

  1. Jarred Kelenic, OF
  2. Julio Rodriguez, OF
  3. Logan Gilbert, RHP
  4. Evan White, 1B
  5. Justin Dunn, RHP
  6. George Kirby, RHP
  7. Juan Then, RHP
  8. Noelvi Marte, SS
  9. Justus Sheffield, LHP
  10. Jake Fraley, OF

One indication that the farm system has really improved is the simple fact that there are no minor league relief pitchers on the top ten prospects list.

Speaking of Evan White – he’s No. 4 on the list above – the Mariners have signed him to a six-year, $24 million contract with three years of team options tacked onto the end of it. White has played in 92 Double-A games and four Triple-A games.

This is a gamble for the Mariners, who believe that White will become at least an average major league first baseman in the near future. Meanwhile, White gave up a lot of potential future earnings should he become an above-average major leaguer, and especially if he becomes a star.

The M’s take a big risk here that White doesn’t become complacent now that he is set for life financially. The Astros tried this type of contract with a highly ranked minor league prospect named Jon Singleton and it was a big waste of money for the team.

Current major leaguers who inked this type of deal before spending a day in the big leagues include Philadelphia’s Scott Kingery (struggled as a rookie, much better in year two) and the Chicago White Sox slugger Eloy Jimenez (decent rookie season).

Hearing rumblings that the Mariners are signing a power-hitting Triple-A corner infielder. This is a wise move as Tacoma badly needed power in the lineup last year. The player in question has smartly hit over 30 homers in a season twice in the PCL while playing in the American Conference. A veteran whose sagacity could only help younger players. I’m still waiting for a little more knowledge about the situation before confirming it.

Links:

  • The Seattle Times has an article on the Evan White contract extension. In the story, author Ryan Divish notes that the contract does not guarantee White will be on the Mariners opening day roster, and could spend time with Tacoma if the player development staff deems it necessary.

 

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