General manager Jerry Dipoto is expected to make his first public comments about Shohei Ohtani signing with the rival Angels.
Update 8:58 p.m.
The Mariners have confirmed that Gordon Beckham has signed a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He’s a solid depth guy to have in Tacoma.
Update 8:52 p.m.
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It looks as though the Mariners are bringing back veteran infielder Gordon Beckham on a minor league deal. Beckham almost all of last season with Class AAA Tacoma and was serviceable. He got a September call up as a backup infielder. The Mariners system is lacking for experienced infielders to play at Tacoma, so Beckham is a fit.
Updated 3:3o p.m.
The Mariners have announced the roster move, Cam Perkins has been claimed off waivers from the Phillies.
Updated 2:52 p.m.
It looks as though the Mariners will make at least a minor move on the first day of the meetings. They are expected to claim Phillies outfielder Cam Perkins off waiver and add him to the 40-man roster. They have four spots available.
Perkins was a 43rd-round draft pick by the Mariners in 2009 out of Southport High School in Indianapolis. He didn’t sign with Seattle and accepted a scholarship to Purdue University. He then drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 draft by the Phillies.
Perkins, 26, made his big debut this season, playing in 42 games and hitting .182 with a .510 on-base plus slugging percentage, five doubles, a homer and eight RBIs. In 76 games with Class AAA Lehigh Valley, he hit .288 with an .822 OPS, 18 doubles, a triple, seven homers and 27 RBI. His .374 on-base percentage is certainly something the Mariners like.
Perkins gives the Mariners outfield depth on the 40-man roster and will likely be ticketed for Class AAA.
Updated 2:05 p.m. …
Mariners’ infielder/outfielder Taylor Motter is here at the the MLB winter meetings with his fiancee. Motter, who lives in St. Petersburg, has new representation and is meeting with them.
Motter said he’s been working out this offseason with former Rockies slugger Dante Bichette and his two sons, Dante. Jr. and Bo, who is a top prospect with the Blue Jays. He was excited about the work being done with Bichette and the impact it could make this season.
He will need some production because he isn’t guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster. With the Mariners’ acquisition of veteran Andrew Romine in the offseason and the likelihood of an eight-man bullpen, Motter will be in a competition with Romine for one of those three bench spots.
Update 10:44 a.m.
The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings officially opened on Monday morning at the Swan & Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World.
Much of the baseball people and media covering them arrived on Sunday. The talk about the lobby bar was two things: Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton.
The prevailing discussion about Ohtani was the stunning choice of the Angels. Most affiliated media members that tracked the situation admitted that few people truly understood what Ohtani was looking for in a team and much of the information out there was nothing more than speculation.
There seems to be no consensus as to who was the runner-up in the race. Many people assumed the Mariners were the favorites, particularly when general manager Jerry Dipoto picked up that extra $1 million in the trade with the Marlins to give them the most bonus pool money at $3.557 million. It seemed like additional dollars to placate Ohtani’s wishes. But it played no part.
But there was much discussion about two things that may have worked against the Mariners.
- People believe Dipoto’s very public courting of Ohtani, including the gushing about the player and their desire to sign him on his new podcast, was overkill for a situation where privacy seemed important. The Mariners did walk back their communication on Ohtani later in the process when it became clear that the player and Creative Artists Agency wanted minimal info released. Did the Mariners’ openness do irreparable damage? Probably not, but it may not have helped them. From another aspect, Dipoto’s willingness to talk about how much the team coveted Ohtani and how much they are doing to get him provided some cover when didn’t get him.
- The Mariners history of Japanese players may have also been a detractor and currently having Hisashi Iwakuma. Many Japanese reporters believed that Ohtani didn’t want the comparison to Ichiro Suzuki. The Angels did have Hideki Matsui in the twilight of his career, but they don’t have a tradition of Japanese stars. There is also some belief that Ohtani didn’t want to come to a team with another Japanese player because of the massive media contingent that would follow him daily and by proxy latch on to any a Japanese teammate.
Dipoto will have his daily meeting with local writers today at 5:30 p.m. ET. He will obviously be asked about Ohtani. He opted not to comment when Ohtani’s announcement came out on Friday. But he knows he will have to make some sort of statement.
As for Stanton, the Yankees officially announced the deal and there will be a 2 p.m. press conference with Stanton and GM Brian Cashman. Meanwhile, Derek Jeter, the Marlins’ new team CEO, who made this lopsided trade is not at the meetings and not going to speak, which is a point of consternation for many folks in baseball and the media.
So the Yankees will have Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez batting together in some order. You’d hate to be a lefty facing that team.