In a possible precursor to finalization of the Adam Jones trade, the Mariners today announced the signing of free-agent outfielder Brad Wilkerson to a one-year contract.

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In a possible precursor to finalization of the Adam Jones trade, the Mariners today announced the signing of free-agent outfielder Brad Wilkerson to a one-year contract.

Wilkerson will earn a base salary of $3 million, with a chance to earn an additional $2 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances.

Wilkerson, 30, stands to take over a regular outfield spot if the stalled Jones trade to Baltimore for Erik Bedard goes through.

However, Mariners manager John McLaren told The Seattle Times today the signing was unrelated to the pending Jones deal.

“We wanted this guy no matter what,” he said by phone from Arizona. “We’ve been talking about Brad for a long time. His versatility is huge. We can use him a lot of different ways.”

“The addition of Brad to our club gives us a number of different options,” Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi said in a release. “He is a solid left-handed bat that can play all three outfield positions and first base.”

In a conference call today, Wilkerson said he expected to battle for a starting job in spring training.

“I feel I have an opportunity to win that job,” he said. “If it doesn’t happen, I feel I’ll still get a lot of at-bats all over the outfield and get some time at first base. I feel I’ll have a good opportunity to help the ballclub.”

Wilkerson said he has been following from afar the machinations of the Jones trade, which remains unresolved.

“I’ve been following it quite a bit, actually,” he said. “There are no guarantees. There’s nothing, to my knowledge, that’s it’s going to happen. It’s nothing I’m going to worry about.”

Wilkerson played the past two seasons with the Texas Rangers. In 2007, he hit .234 with 20 homers and 62 runs batted in. His agent, Scott Boras, had also been negotiating with the Boston Red Sox, among other teams.

“I felt this was the best opportunity out there,” Wilkerson said. “Maybe I could have waited another couple of weeks, but I’m accustomed to the city, I love the ballpark, and I feel this team has a chance to win. I’m so excited to be part of the Seattle Mariners.”

Wilkerson said he arrived in Seattle on Wednesday for a physical, and spent today looking for a place to live. After struggling with a shoulder injury in recent years, he says he’s the healthiest he’s been since 2004, when he hit 32 homers for Montreal.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to be the player I was in the past,” he said. “The past two years, I’ve been fighting injury. I haven’t been to full strength.”

Boras told The Seattle Times today that Wilkerson was a good fit with the Mariners even if Jones remained on the roster.