PEORIA, Ariz. — If it were 2012, the image of Carlos Gonzalez in a Mariners uniform would’ve been met with joy and anticipation from fans starved for superstars and potent hitters.
Then again, if it were 2012, Gonzalez wouldn’t be signing a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training and trying to make a team that’s headed for a losing season.
On Tuesday afternoon, Major League Baseball sources confirmed the Mariners and the one-time All-Star outfielder for the Rockies were in agreement on a contract, pending a physical.
Per sources, the deal is a split deal, meaning if the 34-year-old Gonzalez were to make the MLB team, he would earn $750,000 with performances bonuses.
Given the Mariners’ direction as a team and focus on young players this season, Gonzalez seems like a longshot to make the opening day roster. However, right fielder Mitch Haniger’s offseason sports hernia and subsequent surgery, along with the inexperienced group of outfielders on the Mariners’ 40-man roster does give Gonzalez a chance as a temporary stopgap until Haniger is healthy.
As of now, the projected Mariners outfield would be Mallex Smith in center field with some combination of prospects Kyle Lewis, Jake Fraley, Jose Siri and Braden Bishop sharing time in the corner spots. The only other outfielders scheduled to report to camp are even younger prospects: Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez and Luis Liberato.
Gonzalez signed a minor-league contract with the Indians last spring and started the season in Class AAA before having his contract selected and added to the active roster April 14. He played in 30 games for Cleveland, posting a .210/.282/.276 slash line with a double, two homers, seven RBI and 33 strikeouts. The Indians designated him for assignment and released him May 26. He signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs and eventually appeared in 15 games, hitting just .175 (7 for 40) with 19 strikeouts before being released again in late June. He last played in a game June 27.
From 2010 to 2016, he was one of the National League’s top outfielders and a terror against right-handed pitching. He posted a .296/.353/.535 slash line over that span while averaging 28 doubles, four triples, 26 homers and 86 RBI.
The Mariners have decided to invite outfielder/first baseman Eric Filia to MLB camp. Filia wasn’t on the original list of invitees that was announced earlier in the offseason and it seemed like punishment for testing positive for drug abuse last season. It was the third positive test for Filia in the last three seasons, earning him a 100-game suspension.
He returned on July 25 and finished out the season with Tacoma, posting a .331/.450/.488 line with 13 doubles, two homers, 13 RBI, 25 walks and 15 strikeouts in 35 games. Filia also played well in the Dominican Winter League for Estrellas, posting a .301/.401/.359 slash line with six doubles, a homer and nine RBI in 45 games.
Seattle signed utility player Alen Hanson to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training. A speedy, defense-first player, Hanson can play second base and shortstop and all three outfield positions. In parts of four seasons, Hanson has a career .232/.266/.368 slash line.
Right-hander Matt Festa has cleared waivers and was outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma. He will still be invited to MLB spring training.