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Busy Mariners could deal more at Meetings

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It has already been a busy offseason for general manager Jerry Dipoto, but that doesn't mean the Mariners won't continue to be in the middle of things as the Winter Meetings play out over the next four days.

Though Seattle missed out on its top target, Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, Dipoto has already engineered deals to acquire Dee Gordon and Ryon Healy to fill holes in center field and first base, respectively.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It has already been a busy offseason for general manager Jerry Dipoto, but that doesn't mean the Mariners won't continue to be in the middle of things as the Winter Meetings play out over the next four days.

Though Seattle missed out on its top target, Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, Dipoto has already engineered deals to acquire Dee Gordon and Ryon Healy to fill holes in center field and first base, respectively.

Dipoto and a group of about 20 Mariners executives arrived over the weekend to join the fray in Florida to swap ideas -- and possibly more players -- as representatives of all 30 Major League teams gather in the same hotel. Myriad player agents and media members will also be at the annual four-day offseason conference, which begins Monday and runs through the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning.

Winter Meetings preview | Gillick on 2000 | Hot Stove Tracker

MLB.com is on the scene, and you can keep tuned to all Seattle news here at mariners.com as well as get up-to-the-minute reports by following me on Twitter (@gregjohnsmlb).

Dipoto has yet to respond publicly to Ohtani signing with the Angels or how that impacts the Mariners' plans going forward, so that figures to be one of the topics when he meets with the media for his first update on Monday.

We'll have reports from Dipoto's media gatherings each day, and manager Scott Servais is also slated for an interview session at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday.

Dipoto has made five trades already this offseason -- acquiring Healy from the A's for reliever Emilio Pagan and Minor League infielder Alexander Campos, Gordon and $1 million in international bonus pool money from the Marlins for a trio of Minor League prospects, reliever Nick Rumbelow from the Yankees for a pair of Minor Leaguers, $1 million in international bonus money from the Twins for catcher David Banuelos and $500,000 in international bonus money from the White Sox for reliever Thyago Vieira.

Speaking to reporters prior to Ohtani's decision to sign with the Angels, Dipoto said Seattle was still intent on adding at least one pitcher, though he insisted he's not as worried as many observers about the team's situation there.

Video: Dee Gordon talks about being traded to Mariners

Last year's crush of injuries led Dipoto to acquire Mike Leake, Erasmo Ramirez and Marco Gonzales in the final two months of the season, and they will join returners James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Ariel Miranda and Andrew Moore in competition for starting spots.

Clearly the Mariners hoped to add Ohtani to that mix, but this was Dipoto's thinking earlier in the week in regards to Seattle's arms:

"Our pitching is probably a little deeper than most are giving it credit for being. The addition of a household name is probably not forthcoming. But we do intend to add to our pitching staff, whether it be in the 'pen or the rotation."

Has that outlook changed, now that Ohtani has cast his lot instead with the rival Angels? Stay tuned.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners

Frankoff released by Mariners

Right-hander will pursue an opportunity in Korea
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Seth Frankoff, a right-handed pitcher claimed off waivers by the Mariners from the Cubs last September, was released on Sunday in order for him to pursue an opportunity to play in Korea next season.

The move opens a spot on Seattle's 40-man roster, which is now at 36 players as the Winter Meetings open Monday.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Seth Frankoff, a right-handed pitcher claimed off waivers by the Mariners from the Cubs last September, was released on Sunday in order for him to pursue an opportunity to play in Korea next season.

The move opens a spot on Seattle's 40-man roster, which is now at 36 players as the Winter Meetings open Monday.

Hot Stove Tracker

Frankoff never pitched in the Mariners' organization. He was claimed from the Cubs on Sept. 4, but not added to Seattle's Major League roster in the final month of the regular season. The 29-year-old pitched in one Major League game for the Cubs, allowing four hits and two runs while taking the loss in a 5-3 setback to the Rockies on June 9.

He spent the rest of his season with Triple-A Iowa, where he posted a 2-8 mark with a 4.40 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings over 24 games, including 21 starts.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners, Seth Frankoff

Mariners shift to Plan B with Ohtani off market

Team still has talented prospects to consider with international pool money
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- With Shohei Ohtani casting his lot with the American League West-rival Angels on Friday, the Mariners are left to turn to Plan B now that general manager Jerry Dipoto's primary offseason target is off the board.

Dipoto made a huge push for Ohtani, acquiring an extra $2.5 million in international bonus pool money in the past few weeks to sweeten what the Mariners could offer financially. Seattle was one of seven teams invited to meet with Ohtani and his representatives in Los Angeles this week, and many considered the Mariners a possible favorite, given their strong track record with Japanese players and ownership.

SEATTLE -- With Shohei Ohtani casting his lot with the American League West-rival Angels on Friday, the Mariners are left to turn to Plan B now that general manager Jerry Dipoto's primary offseason target is off the board.

Dipoto made a huge push for Ohtani, acquiring an extra $2.5 million in international bonus pool money in the past few weeks to sweeten what the Mariners could offer financially. Seattle was one of seven teams invited to meet with Ohtani and his representatives in Los Angeles this week, and many considered the Mariners a possible favorite, given their strong track record with Japanese players and ownership.

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

So Ohtani's decision came as a gut punch Friday, with the 23-year-old choosing to align with Angels star Mike Trout on Dipoto's former Angels team, a club the Mariners finished two games behind in the AL West in 2017 and will face 19 times in the coming season.

The Mariners and Rangers both now have a total of about $3.5 million in international pool money that expires on June 15. Money from this year's pool can't be rolled over to next year, when a new flock of international free agents hits the market.

Hot Stove Tracker

That leaves the Mariners -- and others -- now with a lot of cash to pursue a few remaining international free agents, including Julio Pablo Martinez, a highly regarded Cuban outfielder who is expected to become available shortly. Martinez, 21, held an open workout for about 180 scouts in the Dominican Republic on Friday.

There are also seven of the 13 Braves international signees from this year still available after those players were put back on the market as part of Atlanta's punishment for international rules violations. Those players are eligible to be signed until Jan. 15.

The top Braves prospect, shortstop Kevin Maitan, reportedly has signed with the Angels for $2.2 million, which he'll receive on top of the $4.25 million owed from Atlanta. Another highly regarded youngster, catcher Abraham Gutierrez, signed with the Phillies for $550,000 after initially agreeing to a $3.5 million bonus with the Braves.

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: Top Cuban OF prospect Julio Pablo Martinez had an impressive workout in front of scouts this morning at the @Dodgers complex in Guerra, DR. He ran the 60 in 6.3 seconds and home-to-first at 3.75 seconds. Rangers and Yankees among those in attendance.@MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/Z7tbYceYAu

The highest-regarded Braves prospects still available are infielder Yunior Severino, who initially signed for $1.9 million with the Braves, right-handed pitcher Juan Contreras ($1.2 million) and shortstop Yenci Pena ($1.05 million).

Dipoto wasn't available for comment on Friday, but said earlier in the week -- prior to Ohtani's signing -- that the Mariners were intent on adding a pitcher and outfielder. They filled the outfield spot on Thursday by acquiring Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, who will be converted to center field.

Video: Johns on why Mariners didn't end up signing Ohtani

Now the focus clearly shifts to pitching when the Mariners' executives travel to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the four-day Winter Meetings that begin Monday.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners

Gillick reflects on historic 2000 Winter Meetings

Ex-Seattle GM regrouped, built 116-win team after Texas signed A-Rod to megadeal
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- While some in attendance at the 2000 Winter Meetings in Dallas remember it as the year of the ice storm, nearly everyone in the world of sports better recalls the bombshell deal that shook baseball and the Mariners' contingent at the Loews Anatole Hotel where Major League executives were hunkered down riding out their own concerns about skyrocketing salaries.

It was the third day of those Meetings, on Dec. 10, when Alex Rodriguez, Seattle's rising young star, announced he was signing a 10-year, $252 million blockbuster with the Rangers that far eclipsed the largest deal ever handed out in the Majors at the time.

SEATTLE -- While some in attendance at the 2000 Winter Meetings in Dallas remember it as the year of the ice storm, nearly everyone in the world of sports better recalls the bombshell deal that shook baseball and the Mariners' contingent at the Loews Anatole Hotel where Major League executives were hunkered down riding out their own concerns about skyrocketing salaries.

It was the third day of those Meetings, on Dec. 10, when Alex Rodriguez, Seattle's rising young star, announced he was signing a 10-year, $252 million blockbuster with the Rangers that far eclipsed the largest deal ever handed out in the Majors at the time.

These Meetings about more than just Ohtani

But Mariners general manager Pat Gillick, who had been forced to trade Ken Griffey Jr. the previous winter in his first months on the job, wasn't among those who remained frozen by the ice or blown away by A-Rod's departure.

Instead, Gillick kept doing what he did best, as the future Hall of Fame GM continued working and talking and lining up deals for what turned into perfect pieces for a Mariners club that shook off the loss of its two superstars and went on to win a regular-season-record 116 games that season.

Video: TEX@SEA: Mariners celebrate 2001 season before game

"I'll say this, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good," Gillick said this week from his home in Birmingham, Mich. "Sometimes it looks like it's not going to work out, and for one reason or another, it does. But even these days, putting so much money into one guy, a guy like [the Marlins' Giancarlo] Stanton, that's a big commitment and it's difficult to get out of it later.

"I still don't think we've learned that [as an industry]."

Hot Stove Tracker

The Mariners went into those Meetings fully bent on re-signing their prize free-agent shortstop, who already was a four-time American League All-Star and coming off a spectacular season where he hit .316 with 41 homers and 132 RBIs. But things don't always go as planned, and Gillick didn't miss a beat going to his Plan B.

"We certainly wanted to bring Alex back," Gillick said. "We made him an offer, as I recall something like $19 million a year for five years, so $95 million, and we were prepared to go a little higher. But his rep indicated we weren't even in the ballpark. When he said, 'You're not even in the territory,' we knew he was probably going somewhere else.

"We couldn't allocate that much payroll to one player. We felt we needed to spread payroll over our entire roster, maybe 25 guys at $4-5 million, as opposed to one guy making a lot of money at that time."

Instead of a megadeal for Rodriguez, Gillick struck gold on a one-year, $3.25 million pact for second baseman Bret Boone on a signing that was finalized a few days before Christmas.

Boone wound up posting a .331/.372/.578 line with 37 homers with 141 RBIs, finishing third in the AL Most Valuable Player Award voting that year.

The guy who won the AL MVP Award? That would be Ichiro Suzuki, who also was named AL Rookie of the Year, having signed with Seattle just before the start of those Winter Meetings.

Gillick credits Jim Colborn, the Mariners' scout in the Pacific Rim at the time, with being the driving force behind acquiring Ichiro. Seattle's Japanese-based ownership group was willing to pay a $13 million posting fee to land the 27-year-old, and it didn't take long for Gillick to see they'd found someone special.

"The day after we got him, he came out [to Safeco Field], and Dave Myers, our third-base coach who lived in Gig Harbor, came up to throw BP," Gillick said. "Ichiro got in the box and took 150 swings and never stepped out, never said, 'I need a blow,' or 'Give me a couple minutes.'

"He swung 150 times off Myers, and I said to myself, 'This guy is different. This guy is a bit of a freak,' just from the standpoint of how you could do something like that in the winter time, not even in the season. He was a good player. It worked out well."

Gillick also brought back a pair of former Mariners relievers shortly after the Meetings, signing Jeff Nelson and a 38-year-old Norm Charlton, two veterans who played key bullpen roles on the 116-win team.

And all that just continued the string of amazingly productive free-agent signings Gillick had begun in his first winter in Seattle in 1999, when he brought in first baseman John Olerud, closer Kazuhiro Sasaki, starter Aaron Sele, setup man Arthur Rhodes and veteran leaders Stan Javier and Mark McLemore to set the stage for a club that thrived even after losing two of the game's all-time greats.

"We had a pretty well-balanced club," Gillick said. "Good pitching, solid defense, great hitting and probably the best DH in the business in Edgar [Martinez]. And staying healthy was a big part of 2001. I thought it was going to be difficult with A-Rod gone, but when Ichiro started playing, I knew he'd pick up some of the offense we'd lost in Alex.

"And Boone was kind of down at the end in free agency, and we got him late at a pretty reasonable price. A lot of fortunate things happened for us."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners

Speed & Dee-fense: Gordon dealt to Mariners

Seattle also lands $1M in international slot money in trade for steals leader, who will play center
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Looking to improve their team speed and baserunning ability, the Mariners made a bold move in that direction on Thursday as general manager Jerry Dipoto acquired two-time National League All-Star Dee Gordon from the Marlins and another $1 million in international slot money in exchange for top pitching prospect Nick Neidert and two other Minor Leaguers. Seattle plans to play Gordon, a National League Gold Glove Award-winning second baseman, in center field.

Neidert, 21, was the Mariners' No. 2 prospect per MLBPipeline.com. Infielder Chris Torres, their No. 7 prospect, and right-hander Robert Dugger are also headed to Miami.

SEATTLE -- Looking to improve their team speed and baserunning ability, the Mariners made a bold move in that direction on Thursday as general manager Jerry Dipoto acquired two-time National League All-Star Dee Gordon from the Marlins and another $1 million in international slot money in exchange for top pitching prospect Nick Neidert and two other Minor Leaguers. Seattle plans to play Gordon, a National League Gold Glove Award-winning second baseman, in center field.

Neidert, 21, was the Mariners' No. 2 prospect per MLBPipeline.com. Infielder Chris Torres, their No. 7 prospect, and right-hander Robert Dugger are also headed to Miami.

The additional international slot money was designed to help Seattle's pursuit of Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani, though he wound up signing with the Angels on Friday.

But even without Ohtani, Gordon brings a speed element that Dipoto has been seeking.

Video: Gordon improves Mariners' lineup, adds athleticism

"We want to be more athletic, we want to be faster and more dynamic on the bases," Dipoto said. "Very few players on the planet are more dynamic on the bases than Dee Gordon."

Gordon broke in with the Dodgers as a shortstop and played there his first three seasons, but switched to second base in 2014. He has started just two games at shortstop in the past four years. He played 13 games in the outfield for Licey in the Dominican Winter League in 2013-14, and nine of those were in center.

That is the extent of Gordon's professional outfield experience, but a switch from the middle of the infield to center field is not unheard of, especially for players with elite speed. In recent years, both Billy Hamilton and Trea Turner -- who were primarily shortstops in the Minors -- moved to center in the Majors, though Turner has since moved back to shortstop because of the Nationals' roster construction.

Video: Dee Gordon to play center field for the Mariners

Gordon acknowledged he was "shocked" to find out he will be moved to center field, but said he understands the move and will do what's best for the team. He said he's excited to hit in front of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, and he has huge respect for Cano's abilities at second base.

"I'm not going to lie," Gordon said. "I worked really hard to be one of the best second basemen in baseball. But if it's anybody I'd move for, it's Robbie. To hit in front of those guys is a dream. I know they're going to get their numbers, so I just don't want to mess it up."

Both Dipoto and Gordon said they expect the transition to go smoothly.

"Just the little bit I had in the Dominican," Gordon said of his previous experience in the outfield. "Honestly I played that pretty well, just winging it. Hopefully with some Major League-caliber coaching, I'll be fine. I consider myself a fast learner and I want to help this team win."

Video: Dee Gordon talks transitioning to center field

The Mariners put a big emphasis on defense in 2017, acquiring Jarrod Dyson and Mitch Haniger after finishing 21st in the Majors with -8 Outs Above Average (OAA) the year before. With added outfield range in 2017, they jumped to fifth in the Majors with +12 OAA. Giving significant playing time to someone who has never played center in the Majors before could put a dent in that improvement.

Though overshadowed by the talk involving National League MVP teammate Giancarlo Stanton, Gordon has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason as the Marlins look to shed payroll.

Tweet from @uninterrupted: ���Seattle, let���s get it.��� @FlashGJr, centerfielder for the @Mariners. pic.twitter.com/P13AKwKDwk

Gordon is under contract for three more seasons for a combined $37.9 million, with $10.8 million this coming year and then $13.3 million in '19 and $13.8 million in '20. He also has a $14 million team option for 2021 that becomes guaranteed if he accumulates 600 plate appearances in 2020 or 1,200 plate appearances in 2019-20.

Gordon certainly replaces the speed element lost by the Mariners when Dyson became a free agent, and he is a much bigger offensive threat, having posted a .308/.341/.375 slash line with 60 stolen bases and a 3.1 bWAR last season.

The Mariners finished 2017 with three rookie outfielders in Haniger, Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia. With Heredia rehabbing from shoulder surgery this offseason, Gordon slides into the center-field role and allows Gamel and Heredia to split time in left field, with Haniger handling right field.

Tweet from @_dadler: Some #Statcast™ on @Mariners' Dee Gordon:29.7 ft/s avg sprint speed in 2017. 4th in MLB, fastest IF (30+ is elite)119 sub-4 home-to-1st times, most in MLB. Next-most: Billy Hamilton with 65Best home-to-1st: 3.49 sec, 6th-fastest of 2017MLB-best 101 ground-ball hits

Gordon has led the Majors in stolen bases three of the last four seasons, with a career-high 64 in his last year with the Dodgers in 2014, 58 in his first season with the Marlins in '15, and then last season when he was 60-for-76 in stolen-base attempts for Miami.

The only time Gordon didn't lead the league in stolen bases during that span was 2016, when he served an 80-game suspension for a failed drug test and played just 79 games, batting .268 with 30 stolen bases.

Video: Must C Classic: Gordon reaches 60 steals, 200 hits

The Florida native owns a career .293/.329/.367 line in seven seasons. He led the Majors in hits with 205 in 2015 for the Marlins while winning the NL batting title at a career-best .333. Gordon also was the NL Gold Glove winner and Silver Slugger Award winner at second base that season while earning his second straight All-Star berth.

The trade is the fifth engineered by the always-busy Dipoto this offseason, and the 62nd trade in the 27 months since he took over as Seattle's GM. Last month he acquired 25-year-old slugger Ryon Healy from the A's to fill a hole at first base, sent hard-throwing prospect Thyago Vieira to the White Sox for $500,000 in international slot money to bolster the team's bid for Ohtani, and landed reliever Nick Rumbelow from the Yankees for a pair of Minor Leaguers.

Video: MLB Tonight: Mariners add Dee, more slot money

Dipoto also acquired another $1 million in international slot money on Wednesday from the Twins in exchange for Minor League catcher David Banuelos, who was the team's No. 10 prospect.

Teams can only add up to 75 percent of their initial pool money, which in the Mariners' case means they're limited to a total of $4.37 million if they want to make any further trades.

Video: Zinkie discusses Gordon's fantasy value after trade

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Moving to a contending Mariners club will likely be a boon for Gordon, who should be selected during the initial three rounds of '18 roto drafts after hitting .308 with 114 runs scored and a Major League-best 60 steals this past year. Operating in an American League lineup for the first time and batting in front of players such as Cano and Cruz, the speedster could flirt with the 100-run plateau again while posting a career-high RBI total.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins, Dee Gordon

Mariners eye pitching as Winter Meetings near

Seattle shifts focus after missing out in bid to sign Ohtani
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- With the Winter Meetings looming next week in Florida, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto and his crew now have to shift gears after learning Friday that top target Shohei Ohtani has chosen the Angels to pursue his dream of becoming a two-way standout in the Majors.

But Dipoto has proven plenty capable of creativity and shifting gears before, as evidenced by Thursday's trade with the Marlins for Dee Gordon, and the Mariners still have pitching on their offseason wish list. So don't be shocked if Seattle again is in the midst of some of the wheeling and dealing when the front-office folks from all 30 MLB teams gather along with players' agents and other baseball officials for the four-day conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

SEATTLE -- With the Winter Meetings looming next week in Florida, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto and his crew now have to shift gears after learning Friday that top target Shohei Ohtani has chosen the Angels to pursue his dream of becoming a two-way standout in the Majors.

But Dipoto has proven plenty capable of creativity and shifting gears before, as evidenced by Thursday's trade with the Marlins for Dee Gordon, and the Mariners still have pitching on their offseason wish list. So don't be shocked if Seattle again is in the midst of some of the wheeling and dealing when the front-office folks from all 30 MLB teams gather along with players' agents and other baseball officials for the four-day conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The Winter Meetings run Sunday night through Thursday. And unlike the previous few years when many of the top free agents were off the market early, the Hot Stove has been slow to develop this offseason.

Video: Dee Gordon to play center field for the Mariners

That means things should really heat up for a lot of teams in Florida, though the ever-active Dipoto has already made five trades this winter. The third-year GM has filled both of his primary position vacancies by acquiring 25-year-old first baseman Ryon Healy from the A's and the 29-year-old Gordon, who will transition to center field, which leaves pitching as the primary pursuit.

Here's a look at how the Mariners line up heading into the Winter Meetings:

Club needs

Rotation: The Mariners aren't as shorthanded here as some might think, given that Dipoto added Mike Leake, Erasmo Ramirez and rookie Marco Gonzales in the final two months last season to bolster an injury-riddled group. With James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Ariel Miranda and Andrew Moore also returning, Seattle has seven starters with big league experience. But Dipoto would love to add a quality arm to that mix, if possible, though Ohtani no longer fills that bill.

Hot Stove Tracker

Bullpen: Dipoto says he'll definitely be adding another pitcher this winter, and if not a starter, he'd be willing to bolster the bullpen with another solid arm. Again, the Mariners have some depth returning, but a quality addition here could go a long way for a club that would like to lean more on versatile multi-inning relievers to help bridge the gap from starters to closer Edwin Diaz and the back end of the 'pen. Trades of Emilio Pagan and Thyago Vieira and the decision to non-tender Shae Simmons have thinned the herd a bit, so this certainly is an area that could get some further offseason attention.

Catcher: Mike Zunino established himself as the regular starter with a strong second half in 2017, but veteran Carlos Ruiz has departed in free agency and the club needs to find a backup. Mike Marjama, acquired from the Rays in August, could fill that bill already, and Dipoto also claimed David Freitas from the Braves this offseason as well.

Video: SEA@LAA: Marjama hits first home run of his career

Who they can trade if necessary

Gonzales: The Mariners are high on the young lefty acquired from the Cardinals last July, and they think he's poised for a strong step forward now that he's a second year removed from Tommy John surgery. But finding a rotation spot might be difficult, and Gonzales is out of Minor League options, so unless he's earmarked for a bullpen role, he could be moved for someone with more roster flexibility.

Ramirez: If Dipoto acquires another quality starter, Ramirez could find himself as the odd-man out, since he also is out of Minor League options. Ramirez is capable of pitching in relief, however, and that versatility gives him added value in the Mariners' eyes.

UTL Taylor Motter: The addition of veteran Andrew Romine, via waiver claim, creates some competition for Motter for the utility role. The Mariners signed Romine to a $1.05 million deal last week instead of non-tendering him, so clearly they place some value in the newcomer. Motter has Minor League options, but could also be dangled in trade.

Video: SEA@BAL: Motter makes an incredible diving stop

1B Daniel Vogelbach: The plan to platoon Vogelbach last year didn't pan out, and now the Mariners have acquired Healy from the A's with the intention of making him their everyday first baseman. Vogelbach has proven he can hit at the Triple-A level, but there doesn't seem a clear opportunity now with Seattle as long as Nelson Cruz remains the designated hitter.

Top prospects

Dipoto already dealt three of his top 10 prospects, per MLBPipeline.com, in the past week to bring in Gordon and additional international slot money. Gone are right-hander Nick Neidert (No. 2), shortstop Christopher Torres (No. 7) and catcher David Banuelos (No. 10). The remaining top 10 prospects are outfielder Kyle Lewis, first baseman Evan White, right-hander Sam Carlson, outfielders Braden Bishop and Julio Rodriguez, right-hander Max Povse and Vogelbach. Third baseman Joe Rizzo and outfielders Luis Liberato and Anthony Jimenez now round out the top 10.

Rule 5 Draft

The Mariners' 40-man roster is at 37, so they have room to add. But with the 14th pick in the Rule 5 Draft, it seems a long shot that Dipoto would tie up a 25-man roster spot with an unproven prospect on a team trying to push for a playoff spot. The Mariners didn't choose anyone in the Rule 5 Draft in Dipoto's first two years.

Big contracts they might unload

The Mariners have some large deals on the books with Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Hernandez, Cruz and Leake combining for $94 million in 2018. But those aren't players Seattle is able to or interested in moving. It's more possible Dipoto could look to gain a little flexibility by dealing one of his arbitration-eligible players such as Ramirez (expected to make about $4.5 million). Relievers Marc Rzepczynski ($5.5 million in the last year of his deal) and David Phelps (likely to get $5 million-plus in arbitration) are in a similar situation, though both are expected to be important parts of the bullpen as it stands now. This doesn't seem to be a club in cost-cutting mode.

Payroll summary

The Mariners' core group takes up a significant chunk of salary, with Seager getting an $8 million raise to $19 million and joining the big-bucks club of Cano, Hernandez, Cruz and Leake (who is earning $17 million, though the Cardinals are absorbing $6 million of that). Now you can add in Gordon, who will make $10.8 million this coming season.

Dipoto has room to work with this winter, thanks to some significant money coming off the books. Hisashi Iwakuma, Yovani Gallardo, Drew Smyly and Steve Cishek combined for $37 million last year, along with $18 million for Danny Valencia, Leonys Martin, Ruiz and Jarrod Dyson. Iwakuma was re-signed to a Minor League deal, and the rest of those veterans are gone.

Those players must be replaced, of course, with Leake, Phelps and Ramirez expected to take up more than $21 million already and Paxton and Zunino among those due for significant arbitration hikes. But by filling the first-base hole with an MLB-minimum earner in Healy, the Mariners still look to be about $5 million under last year's initial $155 million budget, even with Gordon's addition as well as raises and new additions figured in. CEO John Stanton has indicated a willingness to increase payroll, so it would appear the club still has the ability to add a decent veteran pitcher either through free agency or trade.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners

Mariners claim reliever Morin from Royals

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto reached into his past with the Angels on Friday, claiming right-handed reliever Mike Morin off waivers from the Royals. Morin pitched four seasons with the Angels until finishing last year with Kansas City.

The Royals signed Morin to a one-year deal earlier this week to avoid arbitration, but then exposed him to waivers after he'd agreed to a split contract that will be worth $750,000 if he pitches in the Majors or $250,000 if he's in the Minor Leagues.

SEATTLE -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto reached into his past with the Angels on Friday, claiming right-handed reliever Mike Morin off waivers from the Royals. Morin pitched four seasons with the Angels until finishing last year with Kansas City.

The Royals signed Morin to a one-year deal earlier this week to avoid arbitration, but then exposed him to waivers after he'd agreed to a split contract that will be worth $750,000 if he pitches in the Majors or $250,000 if he's in the Minor Leagues.

The 26-year-old is 10-8 with a 4.61 ERA in 183 Major League appearances in his four seasons in the big leagues, but struggled last season. He posted a 6.91 ERA in 10 outings with the Angels before being claimed by the Royals on Sept. 12 and putting up a 7.94 ERA in six outings.

Morin was drafted in the 13th round by the Angels in 2012 out of North Carolina.

The addition of Morin puts the Mariners' 40-man roster at 37.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners, Mike Morin

Trading places: Dee latest star to switch spots

Hall of Famers Yount, Biggio among players of past to change positions
MLB.com @DKramer_

Dee Gordon appears to be moving from second base to center field, and the veteran speedster is embracing the change.

In a surprising trade on Thursday night, Gordon was shipped from Miami to the Mariners in exchange for three prospects and $1 million in international bonus pool money. But with Seattle's established infield -- second baseman Robinson Cano, shortstop Jean Segura and third baseman Kyle Seager -- Gordon is being asked to move from second to center, where his elite speed and athleticism could play.

Dee Gordon appears to be moving from second base to center field, and the veteran speedster is embracing the change.

In a surprising trade on Thursday night, Gordon was shipped from Miami to the Mariners in exchange for three prospects and $1 million in international bonus pool money. But with Seattle's established infield -- second baseman Robinson Cano, shortstop Jean Segura and third baseman Kyle Seager -- Gordon is being asked to move from second to center, where his elite speed and athleticism could play.

This will be Gordon's second major position change, having moved from shortstop to second after the 2013 season, and winning a National League Gold Glove Award at his converted spot in '15. In light of this latest transition, let's take a look at other significant position changes of the past 30 years, broken up into three tiers based on difficulty of transition.

Movement in the middle

Robin Yount
Perhaps no player embodies the versatility of this list more than Yount, who is one of only three players to win an MVP Award at multiple positions, along with Hank Greenberg (first base and left field) and Alex Rodriguez (shortstop and third). The third overall Draft pick by the Brewers in 1973, Yount was one of the game's few power-hitting shortstops in his prime. In 1982, he hit 29 homers and won the American League MVP Award, becoming just the fourth AL shortstop to be receive the honor.

Shoulder surgeries forced Yount to the outfield in 1985 -- he had never played any other position but shortstop since he was 9 years old -- and remained an elite hitter, posting a .285/.356/.433 slash line over his final nine seasons and winning another AL MVP Award in '89. Along the way, he became the third-youngest player to join the 3,000 hit club (at 36, behind only Hank Aaron and Ty Cobb) and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in '99.

Craig Biggio
An All-Star catcher -- the position at which he played his first four MLB seasons -- Biggio moved to second base in 1992 in what may have made a Hall of Fame career. Coming off a year in which he led all catchers with a .295 batting average, and in the midst of a major rebuild in Houston, Astros management -- led by Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who was coaching in Houston -- approached Biggio about a transition to second base, a position he'd never played.

Over the next 10 seasons, Biggio was a six-time All-Star, and ranked among the MLB leaders at the position in batting average (second, .297), on-base percentage (second, .393), slugging (third, .455), home runs (fourth, 156), RBIs (fourth, 658) and stolen bases (fifth, 294), proving to be a beacon of consistency. He is the only player in NL history to win a Silver Slugger Award at both catcher and second base.

Dale Murphy
One of the best players who isn't in Cooperstown, Murphy broke into the Majors as a catcher, moved to first base after injuring his knee, then to center field to best utilize his speed. In a move he said saved his career, Murphy went on to win five Gold Glove Awards in the outfield and back-to-back NL MVP Awards in 1982 and '83, becoming, at the time, the youngest player in history to do so, at ages 26 and 27. From '80 -- the year he moved to the outfield -- to '90, Murphy led the Majors in homers (332) and ranked second in RBIs (1,012), behind only Hall of Famer Eddie Murray.

Shuffling the corners

Chipper Jones
Among the quirkiest of position changes on this list was by Jones, who's likely going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer next summer, but perhaps not for his defense during a two-year stint in left field, where he was moved to when the Braves signed free agent Vinny Castilla ahead of the 2002 season. The entire experiment wasn't exactly a success, as Castilla posted a .694 OPS in two years with Atlanta and Jones never looked fully comfortable in left. After Castilla's two-year contract expired, Jones moved back to third, was an All-Star three more times and won the NL batting title in '08. It should be noted that Jones made it to the big leagues as a shortstop in 1993 before missing all of the next season with a knee injury.

Albert Pujols
Pujols played all over, mostly left field and some third base, before finally settling at first base full-time in 2004, One of the game's all-time great hitters, he went on to win a pair of Gold Glove Awards at first, and his power numbers took off. He's hit 40 homers or more in six seasons since moving to first, including each of his first three, also leading the Majors in OPS in three seasons and winning four Silver Slugger Awards.

Video: LAA@OAK: Pujols lays out for a great stop at first

Alfonso Soriano
A four-time All-Star at second base, Soriano was the game's preeminent power hitter at the position from 2002-05, hitting 141 homers to lead all second basemen in that four-year stretch between stints with the Yankees and Rangers. A trade to the Nationals, who had Jose Vidro at second, before the '06 season forced Soriano to move to left field, which he was initially reluctant to do. However, after fulfilling his role there in one season in Washington, Soriano signed a lucrative, $136 million contract with the Cubs to play left. He was an All-Star in each of his first two seasons in Chicago, but his production tapered off, both offensively and defensively, in part due to injuries.

Ryan Braun
Braun burst onto the MLB scene in 2007, winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award while clubbing 34 homers and leading the NL with a .634 slugging percentage . However, his season was partially marred by a porous showing at third base, where he committed 26 errors -- an MLB high at any position that year. (Only two other third basemen have committed more errors in a season since.) With arguably the strongest arm in the Brewers' organization, the club moved the longtime infielder to left field, and the results have been much better. He hasn't won a Gold Glove Award, but he's been worth 24 DRS in left since '08.

Sliding over to third

Alex Rodriguez
Perhaps no positional change was as high-profile as Rodriguez's ahead of the '04 season. It followed one of the biggest trades in baseball history, involved two potential Hall of Famers and had New York hype. Rodriguez was a two-time Gold Glove Award-winning shortstop and hit 40 or more homers in six seasons before moving to third to account for incumbent Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. Rodriguez maintained elite power numbers, averaging 38 homers from 2004-10, and he won two more AL MVP Awards.

Video: DET@NYY: A-Rod makes nice charging play for the out

Cal Ripken
If it weren't for Rodriguez, Ripken may have been the most prominent shortstop to move to the hot corner. He did so for good after the 1996 season, ending a record streak of 2,216 consecutive games started at short. By this point, Ripken was 35 and in the twilight of his career. He was still an All-Star over his final five seasons, all at third, posting a .272/.322/.423 slash line, which was below his career mark of .276/.340/.447

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners, Dee Gordon

New Seattle star Gordon has skills for center

Dipoto points to athleticism of ex-second baseman, who says he's up for challenge of switch
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Dee Gordon has never played center field in his Major League career. Never played any outfield in his life, for that matter, other than about a dozen Dominican Winter League games four years ago.

But Jerry Dipoto believes Gordon is perfectly suited to play center field for Seattle while Robinson Cano continues to man second base, which is why the general manager engineered the surprising trade with the Marlins for the two-time National League All-Star second baseman on Thursday.

SEATTLE -- Dee Gordon has never played center field in his Major League career. Never played any outfield in his life, for that matter, other than about a dozen Dominican Winter League games four years ago.

But Jerry Dipoto believes Gordon is perfectly suited to play center field for Seattle while Robinson Cano continues to man second base, which is why the general manager engineered the surprising trade with the Marlins for the two-time National League All-Star second baseman on Thursday.

What makes Dipoto believe the move to center will work?

Video: Dee Gordon to play center field for the Mariners

"Just the athlete," Dipoto said. "When we go through our data, his first-step acceleration is about as good as anybody in the league. We have him in top three in MLB in those categories, and the two people ahead of him are center fielders.

• Dee has the speed to play outfield

"He has that explosive speed that resonates at that position, and we have a future Hall of Famer at second base. This was a way we could be creative and add that impactful athlete."

Indeed, per Statcast™, Gordon's sprint speed of 29.7 feet per second ranks fourth in MLB, and the three ahead of him are all center fielders -- Byron Buxton of the Twins, Billy Hamilton of the Reds and rookie Bradley Zimmer of the Indians.

Video: Johns on Gordon acquisition, move to center field

Gordon led the Majors in ground-ball hits last season with 101. He posted 119 home-to-first clock times of sub-4 seconds, the most in the Majors and well ahead of Hamilton's runner-up 65. Gordon's fastest home-to-first clock time of 3.49 seconds was sixth-best in the Majors.

So, yeah, Gordon can fly. Now he just needs to learn how to fly in center field, and he's wasting no time looking for help. The 29-year-old said he'd already texted Orlando-area neighbor Ken Griffey Jr. and is waiting for a call back from the Mariners' Hall of Fame center fielder.

"We've all tried the Griffey catch on the wall in center field," Gordon said. "Especially shagging with my dad [longtime pitcher Tom Gordon] when he was in the big leagues. Junior has been nothing but great to me my whole life. I see him and his wife from time to time riding around in our community."

Tweet from @uninterrupted: ���Seattle, let���s get it.��� @FlashGJr, centerfielder for the @Mariners. pic.twitter.com/P13AKwKDwk

Dipoto said Gordon won't be shifted around defensively next year. The plan is to put him in center from Day 1 and let him get comfortable as quickly as possible.

"I think it's important to give him a chance to sink his teeth into a position and play it," Dipoto said. "He's moved around so much, from shortstop to second, and now we're asking him to move to center field. We've seen him play center in winter ball, and we're very satisfied he can do it."

On his Wheelhouse Podcast on Thursday, Dipoto said he believes Gordon's arm will play well in center field and naturally get stronger as he adjusts.

"It happens as you lengthen your arm out," Dipoto said. "Second base is just a shorter arm stroke. Shortstop was a little longer. A shortstop's arm translates to just about anywhere on the field, because the throws they have to make are more dynamic than the throws made just about anywhere else.

"The outfielder gets a chance to lengthen his arm out, and it's a longer release. So in effect, as you get more familiar with the lengthy release and timing of making a throw, it's conceivable your arm is going to play up a half grade or full grade on a scouting scale, just simply through the slight alteration in your throwing mechanics."

Video: Gordon improves Mariners' lineup, adds athleticism

Gordon earned NL Gold Glove honors at second base in 2015 for the Marlins after transitioning from shortstop a year earlier in his final season with the Dodgers. He told Dipoto his goal now will be to earn a Gold Glove in center field.

"I was definitely shocked," Gordon said of being told he'd be moving to the outfield. "But I'm a team player, and that's what I've got to do for the Seattle Mariners and that's what is best for them. I'll talk to Jerry and my manager and coaches and see what the best routes are for me and learn it on the fly and use my athleticism with the guys. At the end of the day, it's about getting outs, and I'll do my best to help do that."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners, Dee Gordon

Gordon definitely fast enough for the outfield

As he's done a few times already this offseason, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto was busy on Thursday. News broke that Seattle made a trade with the Marlins, acquiring two-time All-Star and Gold Glove-winning second baseman Dee Gordon from the Marlins.

The added wrinkle in Thursday's reports that the Mariners plan to slide Gordon from his usual second base (as there's a guy named Robinson Cano already manning that spot), to the outfield, is especially intriguing.

Dipoto expects Iwakuma to have long-term role

GM discusses vet righty, upcoming Meetings and more in latest podcast
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Hisashi Iwakuma doesn't figure to be back competing for a role on the Mariners' Major League roster until sometime around the end of May, general manager Jerry Dipoto said on his Wheelhouse Podcast on Wednesday, but the 36-year-old right-hander remains a key member of the organization going forward.

Iwakuma made just six starts this season before shoulder issues sidelined him for the remainder of the season, eventually having arthroscopic surgery in September. Iwakuma agreed to return on a Minor League deal that allows him to continue rehabbing and working his way back without taking up a 40-man roster spot.

SEATTLE -- Hisashi Iwakuma doesn't figure to be back competing for a role on the Mariners' Major League roster until sometime around the end of May, general manager Jerry Dipoto said on his Wheelhouse Podcast on Wednesday, but the 36-year-old right-hander remains a key member of the organization going forward.

Iwakuma made just six starts this season before shoulder issues sidelined him for the remainder of the season, eventually having arthroscopic surgery in September. Iwakuma agreed to return on a Minor League deal that allows him to continue rehabbing and working his way back without taking up a 40-man roster spot.

Dipoto, who is doing weekly podcasts with Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith, sung high praises for the Japanese standout who has spent the past six years with Seattle, going 63-39 with a 3.42 ERA.

Listen to The Wheelhouse with Jerry Dipoto in Podcasts

Dipoto said Iwakuma will take part in Spring Training with the Mariners, though he likely won't throw off the mound until much later.

"If everything goes well, we expect to see him sometime about the middle or end of May, just ballparking," Dipoto said. "So far, all arrows are pointing north. The rehab has gone well to date, we're getting very positive response from our medical team. We're very encouraged."

Hot Stove Tracker

Dipoto indicated Iwakuma could have a role with Seattle beyond his playing days.

"Kuma works hard," he said. "He always has. He's a wonderful guy, and our goal is, whether it's in this capacity or however the rest of Kuma's marriage with the Seattle Mariners, we want that to be a permanent thing.

"His years as a player we don't feel are behind him. There's still some time for him to go out there and do the things he does. And we want him to always be part of our family, our decision-making process and even the way we pitch.

"He's got an instinctive nature about how to sequence pitches that most guys don't have. And the more exposure our guys get to Kuma, even despite what sometimes is a language barrier, the better off we are as an organization."

Video: Dipoto discusses Winter Meetings on The Wheelhouse

In this week's podcast, Dipoto also talks about the upcoming Winter Meetings, the role of new bullpen coach Brian DeLunas, some in-depth analysis of what makes an effective fastball and also dropped the news that newly acquired left-hander Sam Moll will be stretched out to a starting role this spring after being claimed from the Pirates.

"He was a good starting pitcher in college," Dipoto said. "We view him minimally as a multi-inning bullpen addition, and we'll stretch him out as a starter and see if that's a possibility. Because physically, the combination of his fastball and changeup give him a chance to go through a lineup more than one time."

Pursuing Ohtani, Mariners deal for bonus money

One topic Dipoto avoided was Shohei Ohtani as the club waits to see how things play out in its pursuit of the two-way Japanese star.

Video: Dipoto joins The Wheelhouse Podcast to talk Ohtani

"In this particular case, it's a fantastic story," Dipoto said. "But we have committed to buttoning our lip, putting our head down and hoping for the best."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners

Justice: How rest of AL West can catch Astros

MLB.com @RichardJustice

If you're an American League West team other than the Houston Astros, what's the plan for 2018? Who makes up a 21-game deficit in one offseason? Even in the land of competitive balance, that kind of thing almost never happens.

Or maybe not.

If you're an American League West team other than the Houston Astros, what's the plan for 2018? Who makes up a 21-game deficit in one offseason? Even in the land of competitive balance, that kind of thing almost never happens.

Or maybe not.

The Minnesota Twins improved by 26 games in 2017. The Arizona Diamondbacks notched a 24-game improvement.

Hot Stove Tracker

Here's the other part of the deal. Stuff happens. Strange stuff. Unpredictable stuff. As the late Paul Owens would tell his Philadelphia front-office staffers, "Do something to get better every single day."

His point was that no team can make up a 21-game deficit with one move or even two or three of them. But teams can make dramatic improvement when they focus on the things they can control. So here now is a handy guide on how the rest of the AL West can close the gap on the Astros:

Angels (80-82, -21 games)

1. Get the best player in baseball healthy
Mike Trout missed 48 games and didn't finish first or second in American League Most Valuable Player Award voting for the first time in his career. Only four AL teams scored fewer runs than the Angels.

2. Ditto the rotation
To stay competitive in a season in which Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker combined for 20 starts is a remarkable accomplishment and one of manager Mike Scioscia's finest hours.

Besides that, Tyler Skaggs missed three months in the middle of season, and Andrew Heaney didn't make a start until Aug. 18. If those four combine for, say, 100 starts in 2018, the Angels could make a huge leap from 80 victories.

3. Additions
General manager Billy Eppler strengthened his lineup by re-signing outfielder Justin Upton, who was acquired Aug. 31, and added veteran Jim Johnson to his bullpen. The Angels are a finalist for Shohei Ohtani, which could create all kinds of possibilities.

Video: Guardado discusses Johnson, offseason projections

Rangers (78-84, -23 games)

1. Pitching, pitching, pitching
General manager Jon Daniels has added veterans Doug Fister and Mike Minor to a rotation that began the offseason with Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and a long list of question marks.

Video: Minor reportedly signs multi-year deal with Rangers

Former closer Matt Bush will be given an opportunity to compete for a spot, and if he can maintain his 98-mph fastball -- or close to it -- over six or seven innings, he could have a dramatic impact.

But the real impact addition would be the signing of Ohtani, who could transform a potentially respectable rotation into a postseason-caliber group.

2. And then more pitching
Texas' bullpen had a 4.64 ERA, second-worst in the AL. Alex Claudio opens Spring Training as the closer, and the Rangers have confidence in Keone Kela, Jake Diekman and Jose Leclerc. If Minor and Bush both sick in the rotation, Daniels will need to add bullpen depth.

3. Center field
Carlos Gomez and Delino DeShields split the position in 2017, and Texas center fielders led the AL with 199 strikeouts. Gomez is a free agent, and DeShields is likely to enter Spring Training as the starter. With so much focus on upgrading the pitching staff, center field is unlikely to get a dramatic upgrade.

Mariners (78-84, -23 games)

1. Rotation
Manager Scott Servais did an amazing job keeping the Mariners afloat for five months despite using 17 starting pitchers, including a Triple-A rotation for a chunk of the season.

In James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez and Mike Leake, Seattle has a potentially decent front four. General manager Jerry Dipoto is going hard for Ohtani, but so are the Angels and Rangers.

Video: Mariners are poised to court Ohtani

If Ohtani goes elsewhere, Dipoto could make a play for a big-time free-agent starter, possibly Yu Darvish. With another productive season from King Felix, the Mariners would take a huge step toward making up some ground with the Astros.

2. First base
Dipoto checked that box off his shopping list by acquiring Ryon Healy from the Athletics. With Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Healy in the middle of Seattle's lineup, offense shouldn't be a problem.

Athletics (75-87, -26 games)

1. Hope springs eternal
The Athletics won 31 of 59 over the final two-plus months as third baseman Matt Chapman and first baseman Matt Olson established themselves as middle-of-the order sluggers. Only the Twins hit more home runs in this stretch, and when the season ended, the A's could see light at the end of the tunnel.

Video: OAK@TEX: Chapman cranks solo shot to open the scoring

2. Rotation
Oakland's strong finish was even more impressive considering its starters had a 5.29 ERA, third worst in the Majors. How much ground the A's make up in the AL West will depend on the progress of youngsters Andrew Triggs, Jharel Cotton and Paul Blackburn to shore up the rotation spots behind Sean Manaea and Kendall Graveman. Also, left-hander A.J. Puk, MLBPipeline.com's No. 34 prospect, likely will pitch in the Majors at some point in 2018.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.