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Laker poised to become Mariners' hitting coach

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Tim Laker, the current assistant hitting coach for the D-backs, is in the final stages of being hired as the Mariners' new hitting coach to replace Edgar Martinez, according to a baseball source.

The Mariners have not confirmed the hire, but are expected to announce a new hitting coach and third-base coach at some point this week.

SEATTLE -- Tim Laker, the current assistant hitting coach for the D-backs, is in the final stages of being hired as the Mariners' new hitting coach to replace Edgar Martinez, according to a baseball source.

The Mariners have not confirmed the hire, but are expected to announce a new hitting coach and third-base coach at some point this week.

Laker, 48, spent 11 seasons in the Majors as a catcher from 1992-2006 before becoming a Minor League coach for the Indians. He worked for the Mariners as a manager for Double-A West Tennessee in 2010, then spent five seasons in the White Sox organization and one with the Indians before spending the past two years as the D-backs assistant hitting coach.

The California native hit .226 with 28 doubles, 11 home runs and 79 RBIs in 282 games with Montreal (1992-95), Baltimore (1997), Tampa Bay (1998, 2005), Pittsburgh (1998-1999) and Cleveland (2001-06) in his big league career. He played professionally for 19 seasons.

Martinez was the Mariners' hitting coach for the past 3 1/2 seasons, but asked to be shifted to a new job as an organizational hitting advisor in order to cut down on traveling so he could spend more time with his family.

The Mariners are also close to finalizing a deal with veteran Marlins infield coach Perry Hill, who has agreed to terms on a contract but not been formally named to the staff. He's expected to replace third-base coach Scott Brosius, who was asked to return to the staff, but instead is pursuing other opportunities.

The Mariners previously announced the hiring of former Cardinals Minor League pitching coordinator Paul Davis to be their new pitching coach. He's replacing Mel Stottleymyre Jr., whose contract was not renewed at the end of the season.

Bench coach Manny Acta, first-base coach Chris Prieto, assistant coach Jim Brower and bullpen coach Brian DeLunas are expected to return, though it's not known yet if they'll remain in their same positions.

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

Seattle Mariners

With Mallex on board, what's in store for Cano?

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- As has been noted frequently this offseason, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto faces a series of decisions in the coming days that will play out like dominoes, where one move leads to the next. And the biggest -- or certainly most-expensive -- domino on the board figures to be Robinson Cano.

When Dipoto traded for young center fielder Mallex Smith last Thursday, he set the table for another decision: Smith's acquisition makes it seemingly clear that Dee Gordon no longer will be playing center field.

SEATTLE -- As has been noted frequently this offseason, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto faces a series of decisions in the coming days that will play out like dominoes, where one move leads to the next. And the biggest -- or certainly most-expensive -- domino on the board figures to be Robinson Cano.

When Dipoto traded for young center fielder Mallex Smith last Thursday, he set the table for another decision: Smith's acquisition makes it seemingly clear that Dee Gordon no longer will be playing center field.

Gordon filled in extremely well at second base last year when Cano was suspended for 80 games. But Cano and Gordon can't both play second base, so what next? Will Cano, an eight-time All-Star, be back at that spot in 2019?

"Don't know that yet," Dipoto said last week at the General Managers Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. "A lot of that depends on what our roster looks like. As we get closer to Spring Training, we'll have a better idea of what 25 players make the most sense. If it makes the most sense for the Mariners for Robbie to play second base, then that's where we'll play him."

And if not? Here are the options the Mariners have as they continue laying out their plans:

Option 1: Play Gordon at second and move Cano to first base or DH
This one appears the most logical, given that the 36-year-old Cano -- who has five years and $120 million remaining on his contract -- inevitably figures to shift to a position at some point in his career that puts less stress on his legs, but keeps his productive bat in the lineup.

Video: TEX@SEA: Cano compiles 4 hits in Mariners' win

Gordon was outstanding defensively at second base and the Mariners could certainly upgrade offensively with Cano at first base, where they ranked 27th out of the 30 MLB teams last year with a .704 OPS. Ryon Healy put up 24 homers and 73 RBIs in 133 games, but he hit just .235 with a .277 on-base percentage while posting a negative 0.6 fWAR. Cano had a 3.2 fWAR in just half a season while batting .303/.374/.471 with 10 homers and 50 RBIs in 80 games.

It's also clear the Mariners are likely moving on from Nelson Cruz at DH as they look to get younger and more flexible with their roster, so Cano -- or Healy -- could get at-bats there as well in a revolving situation.

However, this option isn't a slam dunk. Cano still can play second base. He has one of the best throwing arms in the league for an infielder, is outstanding at turning double plays and if his legs and lower body are healthy -- and that has been an issue at times in recent years -- his effortless approach hides the fact he remains a good defender. The reason Cano has been so valuable for so long is that it's rare for a quality second baseman to provide the sort of offensive numbers he puts up.

Cano didn't look particularly comfortable in his 10 starts at first base, and at the end of the regular season said he's a second baseman and expects to return there. But Dipoto and manager Scott Servais quickly responded by noting that certainly isn't set in stone and they'll do whatever works best for the team.

Cano also started two games at third base and could conceivably be moved there if the Mariners trade Kyle Seager. But dealing Seager seems extremely unlikely given his three-year, $56 million contract coming off a very tough season.

Video: HOU@SEA: Cano tags Maldonado in his 1st play at third

Option 2: Leave Cano at second and move Gordon
This scenario has two different possibilities. Gordon could be shifted to shortstop if the club trades Jean Segura. Or Gordon could be traded himself.

Either option is certainly possible, given Dipoto's willingness to deal and his stated desire to restructure the roster. Trading Gordon now would certainly be selling low, however. His second-half fade last season left him with a .268/.288/.349 line and 30 stolen bases, a far cry both from his typical production or even the high impact he showed the first two months of the year before a broken big toe clearly affected his speed.

Video: TEX@SEA: Gordon lines a go-ahead RBI triple in 7th

The Mariners love Gordon's energy and attitude and believe he'll bounce back more toward the guy who led the Majors in stolen bases three of the previous four years and won the NL batting title in 2015. Having speedsters Gordon and Smith in the same lineup would be imposing, if they are both getting on base. And Gordon might not be easy to deal with two years and $26.5 million remaining on his contract at age 30.

Segura should have considerably more trade value because he's in his prime at 28 and coming off an All-Star season in which he was second on the Mariners behind Mitch Haniger with a 4.3 fWAR while batting .304/.341/.415 with 10 homers, 63 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. With four years and $58 million left on his contract, Segura offers pretty good long-term value, though that price could eliminate some smaller-budget pursuers.

Gordon started seven games at shortstop in place of Segura in the final six weeks last year and handled the position well. So it's not out of the question to move him there permanently, though second appears his best spot and the Mariners would miss Segura's offensive production.

There were concerns with Segura's attitude toward the end of the season after he and Gordon got into a clubhouse scuffle and the Mariners could look to move one or the other to clear up any lingering issues, though Dipoto insists that isn't a factor in his decision to rework the roster.

"By the end of the season, the two players got along perfectly well," Dipoto said at the GM Meetings. "That has zero to do with this."

Option 3: Put Gordon at second and trade Cano
This would appear the least likely possibility, given the difficulty of finding a trade partner willing to take Cano's large contract at this point in his career. While he's still productive, teams aren't looking to take on the second half of a 10-year deal that will carry into his age 40 season at $24 million per year.

But if the Mariners really want to move Cano, they certainly could if they're willing to eat a large percentage of the money. How much would be the question. The Mariners aren't going to just give Cano away as he's still one of their best hitters.

Bottom line, Dipoto expects and needs Cano's bat to be in Seattle's lineup next year. Exactly where is the question.

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

Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano, Dee Gordon, Mitch Haniger, Ryon Healy, Kyle Seager, Jean Segura, Mallex Smith

MLB to look into claims made against Mariners

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- A day after former Mariners executive Dr. Lorena Martin accused the club of racism, Major League Baseball said Tuesday it would investigate the charges.

"MLB is aware of the allegations made by a former employee of the Seattle Mariners regarding the conduct of club employees," the Commissioner's Office said in a statement. "Consistent with our policies, we are investigating the allegations."

SEATTLE -- A day after former Mariners executive Dr. Lorena Martin accused the club of racism, Major League Baseball said Tuesday it would investigate the charges.

"MLB is aware of the allegations made by a former employee of the Seattle Mariners regarding the conduct of club employees," the Commissioner's Office said in a statement. "Consistent with our policies, we are investigating the allegations."

The Mariners, who issued two statements on Monday denying Martin's claims on social media and in an interview with the Tacoma News Tribune, said they were glad MLB was getting involved.

"The Mariners welcome a Major League Baseball investigation and look forward to fully cooperating," Mariners vice president of communications Tim Hevly said. "We have nothing to hide and are confident the investigation will support that."

Martin was dismissed on Oct. 10, shortly after the end of her first season overseeing the organization's medical, strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental-skills departments in a newly created position by general manager Jerry Dipoto.

Martin accused the Mariners of breach of contract on Twitter and unleashed a barrage of social media comments that included charging Dipoto, manager Scott Servais and director of player development Andy McKay of calling Latin players "lazy, dumb and stupid." She also said Dipoto's leadership is to blame for the team not making the postseason.

She expanded on those charges in an interview with the Tacoma News Tribune, prompting the Mariners to issue a second statement.

"It is our general policy to not comment on confidential personnel issues," the statement said. "However, Lorena Martin has elected to publicly comment on her personnel matters, and we cannot allow the false and ludicrous allegations in the story posted tonight on the Tacoma News Tribune's website to go unchallenged.

"The claims by Lorena Martin are fabricated, including her statements about reports to Human Resources and specific allegations about people named in the story.

"We are still trying to sort through all the statements that are being made publicly by Ms. Martin, and we will continue to defend ourselves against false accusations."

Among Martin's social media comments was that "It's come to the point where I have to speak out because they are firing innocent trainers for trying to do the right thing and because of their color/race."

The Mariners didn't renew the contracts of two trainers who were hired by Martin to work at their Dominican Republic training facility, but a source indicated that was because neither trainer was certified.

Dipoto spoke highly of Martin when he gave her a three-year contract in October 2017, saying that she was a perfect fit to oversee the organization's medical, strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental-skills departments.

"We have spent nearly a year working on creating this position and structure, as well as identifying the best person for this role," Dipoto said at that time. "Lorena's background, skill set and previous experience make her a perfect match for what we envisioned."

Martin had no background in baseball when she was hired, but she had grown up in Florida as a tennis player and consulted with tennis and golf players while compiling an extensive academic background in exercise physiology, statistical analysis and psychology, as well as spending a year working with the Lakers in the NBA.

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

Seattle Mariners

Mariners' statement on claims

Seattle Mariners

"It is our general policy to not comment on confidential personnel issues. However, Lorena Martin has elected to publicly comment on her personnel matters, and we cannot allow the false and ludicrous allegations in the story posted tonight on the Tacoma News Tribune's website to go unchallenged.

"The claims by Lorena Martin are fabricated, including her statements about reports to Human Resources and specific allegations about people named in the story.

"It is our general policy to not comment on confidential personnel issues. However, Lorena Martin has elected to publicly comment on her personnel matters, and we cannot allow the false and ludicrous allegations in the story posted tonight on the Tacoma News Tribune's website to go unchallenged.

"The claims by Lorena Martin are fabricated, including her statements about reports to Human Resources and specific allegations about people named in the story.

"We are still trying to sort through all the statements that are being made publicly by Ms. Martin and we will continue to defend ourselves against false accusations."

Seattle Mariners

Mariners to add Marlins' Hill as infield coach

Servais also seeking replacements at 3B, hitting coach on staff
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- The Mariners' coaching staff is expected to be finalized at some point this week, with third-base coach Scott Brosius departing and veteran Marlins infield coach Perry Hill being hired.

The club also will be announcing a new hitting coach to replace Edgar Martinez, who asked to take on a new position next year as an organizational hitting adviser last month.

SEATTLE -- The Mariners' coaching staff is expected to be finalized at some point this week, with third-base coach Scott Brosius departing and veteran Marlins infield coach Perry Hill being hired.

The club also will be announcing a new hitting coach to replace Edgar Martinez, who asked to take on a new position next year as an organizational hitting adviser last month.

Hill's addition hasn't been officially announced, but the highly regarded 66-year-old has already changed his Twitter profile to say "Seattle Mariners infield coach."

Brosius was asked to remain on manager Scott Servais' staff, but a source confirmed Tuesday he has opted to pursue other opportunities. The 52-year-old spent the past two years with the Mariners, as an assistant coach in 2017 and third-base coach in '18.

The Mariners already hired former Cardinals Minor League pitching coordinator Paul Davis as their new pitching coach, after Mel Stottlemyre Jr. was let go at the end of the season.

Bench coach Manny Acta, first-base coach Chris Prieto, assistant coach Jim Brower and bullpen coach Brian DeLunas are expected to return, though it's unknown if they'll remain in their same positions.

Tweet from @GregJohnsMLB: With Brosius leaving, here's current Mariners coaching staff status:Bench coach: Manny ActaPitching coach: Paul Davis (new)Hitting coach: ?1B coach: Chris Prieto3B coach: ?Asst. coach: Jim BrowerBullpen coach: Brian DeLunas https://t.co/ID43JwR7gU

Hill will bring a wealth of experience to Servais' staff, having spent the past 12 seasons in the Majors with Miami. He was the Marlins' first-base coach while overseeing the infielders the past six years and coached Mariners infielder Dee Gordon when he was Miami's second baseman from 2015-17.

Gordon posted an Instagram photo of himself standing aside Hill in Marlins uniforms with the words "Back Together." During his time in Miami, Gordon credited Hill with helping mold him into a Gold Glove second baseman.

Hill has been a Major League coach for 23 years, having also worked with the Rangers, Tigers, Expos and Pirates.

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

Seattle Mariners

Ken Griffey Jr., MLB stars dine in Costa Rica

If you could invite anybody to a dinner party and have them actually show up, who'd you pick? People ask variations of this question every now and then as a conversation starter, and a real-life answer took place in Costa Rica recently. 

As shared to Instagram by Carlos Gonzalez on Tuesday, he and some of his pals went out to dinner with none other than The Kid himself, Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. And by "Carlos Gonzalez's friends," we mean a group featuring Matt Carpenter, Nolan Arenado and Adam Jones. 

Miller drives in run in Tuesday's AFL action

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Tuesday:

Gameday: Glendale 2, Surprise 9 | Mesa 3, Peoria 14 | Salt River 2, Scottsdale 4

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Tuesday:

Gameday: Glendale 2, Surprise 9 | Mesa 3, Peoria 14 | Salt River 2, Scottsdale 4

AL East

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Blue Jays No. 4 prospect Nate Pearson earned his second win of the fall after tossing five scoreless innings, allowing four hits and walking two. No. 22 prospect Santiago Espinal was 2-for-4 with a run, while Cavan Biggio (No. 9) was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run. Zach Jackson allowed two hits in a scoreless inning of relief.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: Big Nate looking 💪 in the @MLBazFallLeague again. After firing 4 perfect frames in his last start, #BlueJays No. 4 prospect Nate Pearson has tossed 4 scoreless today.Gameday: https://t.co/2BlKTkrPJp pic.twitter.com/70ABROZCsP

Orioles (Glendale)
Steve Wilkerson was 2-for-4 for his third multihit game in his last four contests, while Jay Flaa had a strikeout and allowed a hit in a scoreless inning of relief. Catcher Martin Cervenka was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Rays (Peoria)
Both Rays prospects in action had huge days at the plate, with No. 7 prospect Ronaldo Hernandez going 3-for-4 with his first triple of the fall, an RBI single and three runs scored. No. 9 prospect Lucius Fox also went 3-for-4 and scored two runs, hitting a double and an RBI single to go with a walk. More »

Video: Lucius Fox on strong game, confidence in Fall League

Red Sox (Mesa)
Red Sox No. 7 prospect Darwinzon Hernandez allowed a trio of inherited runners to score but struck out the side to escape the fourth inning. Other Boston prospects didn't fare as well. Josh Taylor was tagged for four runs on five hits in an inning of relief, while No. 10 prospect Josh Ockimey and Esteban Quiroz were a combined 0-for-7.

Yankees (Glendale)
Hobie Harris struck out two in a scoreless inning, while Kyle Zurak yielded an unearned run while allowing a walk and a hit in 1 2/3 frames.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Indians No. 6 prospect Yu Chang singled, walked and scored, and outfielder Connor Marabell was 1-for-5. While Dalbert Siri pitched a shutout inning out of the bullpen, starter Justin Garza didn't fare so well in a wild outing, allowing four hits and walking four as he was charged with four runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Royals (Surprise)
Nick Heath extended his hitting streak to four games with a 2-for-4 showing in which he doubled and scored a pair of runs. Arnaldo Hernandez allowed two hits and a walk but threw two scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Tigers (Mesa)
Tigers No. 8 prospect Daz Cameron had multiple hits for the fifth time in his last seven games with a 2-for-5 performance that brought his fall average to .324. Daniel Pinero was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, while Daniel Woodrow was 1-for-4 with an RBI single.

Twins (Salt River)
Twins No. 18 prospect Travis Blankenhorn struck out three times but singled for his first hit in four games. Adam Bray pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief but allowed two runs on two hits.

White Sox (Glendale)
Laz Rivera, the No. 28 prospect in the White Sox system, hit an RBI single, while No. 9 prospect Luis Alexander Basabe was 1-for-4 with a walk and Luis Robert (No. 4) was 1-for-5. Danny Dopico had a forgettable relief outing, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk in one inning.

AL West

A's (Mesa)
Luis Barrera tripled for the first time this fall and scored a run, and Jake Bray allowed three runs (two earned) in an inning of relief.

Angels (Mesa)
Ryan Clark and Daniel Procopio each struck out a batter in a perfect inning of relief.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Abraham Toro, Houston's No. 21 prospect, hit his first triple of the fall and walked twice in a 2-for-3 afternoon that raised his OPS to 1.017. Center fielder Ronnie Dawson was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Mariners (Peoria)
Mariners No. 2 prospect Evan White struck out in the first inning before he was replaced by Weston Wilson in the second inning. No. 20 prospect Ian Miller had an RBI single to go with a run-scoring groundout and a bases-loaded walk, and Chris Mariscal was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run.

Rangers (Surprise)
Charles Leblanc was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)
The Braves had a busy and productive day, with six of their prospects in action. Braxton Davidson hit a three-run homer, his league-leading sixth of the fall, as he went 1-for-4 with a walk. No. 6 prospect Cristian Pache was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI single, and No. 23 prospect Izzy Wilson also tacked on an RBI single. Jeremy Walker allowed an unearned run in a four-inning start to notch his first win of the fall, and Adam McCreery closed out the victory with a scoreless ninth. No. 12 prospect Kyle Muller yielded two runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Marlins (Salt River)
Marlins No. 2 prospect Monte Harrison was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, while Kyle Keller took the loss in relief after being charged with two runs on two hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Starting pitcher Tyler Viza pitched five scoreless frames and struck out nine, tying for the most strikeouts in an AFL start this season. Austin Listi hit a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh, while Darick Hall was 1-for-4 and Jonathan Hennigan earned his first AFL win with one-third of an inning of relief. More »

Video: Tyler Viza on his performance against Salt River

Nationals (Salt River)
Ben Braymer and Taylor Guilbeau each allowed a hit and a walk in scoreless relief appearances, while Jake Noll walked and hit his second double of the fall to raise his average to .261.

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso reached base three times, walking twice and hitting a game-tying two-run double in the seventh. Catcher Ali Sanchez (No. 25) was 1-for-3 with a walk.

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Keston Hiura, the Brewers' top prospect, brought his fall RBI total to 32 with a two-run double. In the last 10 seasons of AFL play, only two players -- Mike Olt and Nolan Arenado -- have had more RBIs. Weston Wilson replaced Evan White at first base in the second inning and was 1-for-4 with two runs.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: After this 2-run double, #Brewers top prospect Keston Hiura is up to 32 RBIs in the @MLBazFallLeague. Only two players have had more in the past 10 AFL seasons: Mike Olt (43) and Nolan Arenado (33) in 2011.Gameday: https://t.co/BmnW6NcA6K pic.twitter.com/V3K42WbhIn

Cardinals (Surprise)
Lane Thomas was 2-for-3 with an RBI double and two runs, while Tommy Edman went 0-for-5.

Cubs (Mesa)
Cubs No. 6 prospect Nico Hoerner and Trent Giambrone (No. 29) were a combined 1-for-8 at the plate. Jhonny Pereda, who finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, had the best day of any Cubs prospect. Erick Leal had been lights out in the AFL, but hit a rough patch and was charged with seven runs (six earned) over three innings.

Pirates (Surprise)
Pirates No. 8 prospect Bryan Reynolds drove in a pair of runs and finished 2-for-4. Will Craig (No. 16) stole the show and put together one of his best games of the AFL. Craig, who finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs, hit his fifth homer of the Fall, which has him tied for the second-most in the league. More »

Video: Craig on strong day at the plate, learning first base

Reds (Scottsdale)
All three of Cincinnati's top prospects that played on Tuesday had success at the plate, as No. 2 prospect Taylor Trammell singled and scored a run, No. 8 prospect Shed Long hit an RBI double to drive in his fourth run in as many games, and No. 23 prospect Alfredo Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Wyatt Strahan and Alex Powers each pitched scoreless innings.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
D-backs No. 3 prospect Jazz Chisholm continued his torrid fall with a two-run triple as part of a 2-for-4 game with a walk. He raised his AFL average to .425 and has hit safely in all nine games he's played. Catcher Daulton Varsho (No. 5) was 1-for-4 and caught a scoreless start by No. 1 prospect Jon Duplantier, who struck out five in four innings, scattering four hits and three walks. Catcher Renae Martinez was 0-for-3 with a walk for Surprise.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Cody Thomas and Jared Walker combined to go 3-for-6 at the plate. Walker went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Thomas scored a run as part of his 1-for-3 afternoon. On the mound, Andre Scrubb gave up one run on two hits in one inning.

Giants (Scottsdale)
Sam Wolff earned his third save of the fall with two strikeouts and two walks in a scoreless ninth inning. No. 19 prospect Melvin Adon didn't fare as well, as he was charged with two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Padres (Peoria)
A pair of Padres' relievers combined to throw 2 1/3 scoreless innings in Peoria's win over Mesa. Blake Rogers struck out two over 1 1/3 innings, while Dauris Valdez picked up a strikeout in his inning on the mound.

Rockies (Salt River)
All three Rockies prospects in action on Tuesday -- No. 9 prospect Sam Hilliard, No. 11 prospect Tyler Nevin and Josh Fuentes -- singled and walked.

How Mariners could go about replacing Zunino

Seattle created hole behind the plate while acquiring Smith from Rays
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Jerry Dipoto has solved one major issue facing the Mariners this offseason, landing his center fielder of the future with Thursday's trade with the Rays for Mallex Smith. But one move leads to another, as Seattle now must replace Mike Zunino behind the plate.

What options are there at catcher? Well, there are more than at center field, it seems, which is surely one reason Dipoto made the quick move to snag Smith. Catcher is a critical position, and while Zunino's low batting average and high strikeout percentage frustrated fans, he did a lot of good things for the Mariners.

SEATTLE -- Jerry Dipoto has solved one major issue facing the Mariners this offseason, landing his center fielder of the future with Thursday's trade with the Rays for Mallex Smith. But one move leads to another, as Seattle now must replace Mike Zunino behind the plate.

What options are there at catcher? Well, there are more than at center field, it seems, which is surely one reason Dipoto made the quick move to snag Smith. Catcher is a critical position, and while Zunino's low batting average and high strikeout percentage frustrated fans, he did a lot of good things for the Mariners.

• Mariners complete Zunino-Mallex deal

It's worth noting, again, that the Mariners were 62-39 in games started by Zunino last season, compared to 27-34 when backups David Freitas, Chris Herrmann and Mike Marjama donned the gear. There are a lot of intangibles involved with catching, and Zunino was strong both defensively and in his ability to get the most out of his pitchers.

Video: Rays, Mariners trade to swap Smith, Zunino

So where do the Mariners go now behind the plate?

In-house options

Freitas is the only remaining catcher on Seattle's 40-man roster, since Marjama retired during last season and Herrmann was claimed off waivers last week by the Astros.

Freitas hit .215/.277/.312 with one home run and five RBIs in 36 games (32 starts) as a 29-year-old rookie. He was back and forth from Triple-A for four different stints last year and figures primarily as a backup candidate.

The Mariners' farm system isn't loaded with catchers-in-waiting either. The only backstop rated among Seattle's Top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline is Cal Raleigh (No. 13). But the 21-year-old was just drafted last year in the third round out of Florida State and played at Class A Short-Season Everett last year, so he's several years away from the Majors.

Freitas and Herrmann split time in Tacoma last year with veteran Cameron Rupp, who is now a free agent, and Garrett Kennedy, who was released, so there are no Triple-A catchers remaining.

The primary catchers at Double-A Arkansas were Joe DeCarlo and Joseph Odom, and while both have potential, neither is ready for the Majors. DeCarlo was a second-round Draft pick in 2012 as a third baseman and he's converted to catcher over the past two years. There's some intrigue there as he hit .246/.339/.440 with eight homers in 58 games this year and now is getting some great experience -- and batting .344 in 10 games -- in the Arizona Fall League. Odom is a 26-year-old the Mariners picked up from the Braves in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 Draft last winter. He hit .241/.300/.361 with five home runs in 76 games for Arkansas.

Possible free-agent targets

Dipoto doesn't figure to dive too deep into free agency, given he's trying to gain roster and payroll flexibility and shying away from long-term deals for players in their 30s. But it's possible the Mariners could take Nelson Cruz's 2018 salary and put it toward the catching position.

If so, they conceivably could be in the running for Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos, the top two free-agent catchers who are both young enough to fit into a long-term view. But both will come at a high price and are certain to be pursued by numerous teams.

• Dipoto: Free agency not 'first path' for Mariners

Grandal, 30, was given a qualifying offer by the Dodgers, so he'd cost both a Draft pick and a hefty multiyear deal. Ramos, 31, is also relatively young for a free agent and brings a strong offensive game and expectations of a significant multiyear deal.

Martin Maldonado might be a more likely target, as the 32-year-old is an excellent defender who would likely sign for something similar to what Zunino was going to make in arbitration over the next two years. In that scenario, the Mariners would have landed their center fielder and not taken a step back behind the plate.

Video: Martin Maldonado enters free agency at age 32

There are other older veteran options -- including Robinson Chirinos, Kurt Suzuki, Jonathan Lucroy, Brian McCann and Matt Wieters -- though they'd be viewed as short-term fixes and not fit into Dipoto's "longer range" mode. However, catcher is a such a critical position that maybe Seattle opts for an established veteran to bridge the gap.

Potential trade targets

Here, of course, is the most-likely solution given Dipoto's penchant for dealing. The Mariners' GM has made 81 trades involving 170 players over the past three years. The majority of those involved have been Minor Leaguers, but Dipoto isn't shy about shuffling his big league roster either, as evidenced again by the Zunino swap.

Don't spend a lot of time dreaming about J.T. Realmuto, however. While the Marlins are likely to trade the 27-year-old All-Star backstop, they'll expect a huge prospect haul in return. Dipoto could throw James Paxton and others at the Marlins, but Miami isn't looking for a player like Paxton, who like Realmuto is two years from free agency, but rather young prospects, which is what the Mariners are trying to add and not subtract.

Francisco Cervelli of the Pirates is another oft-named trade target, though he'll be 33 next season and is owed $11.5 million in the final year of his contract, which again doesn't fit what Dipoto is targeting.

More likely, Dipoto will try to come up with a deal for a catcher with some big league experience but still three to five years of team control remaining. And that might require seeing how other teams' dominoes play out.

For instance, if the Phillies went big and traded for Realmuto, promising 25-year-old Jorge Alfaro might suddenly be available. Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez of the Indians could also be available and have contracts with team options for at least three more seasons.

Or there are potential candidates who have worked primarily in backup roles -- like Kevin Plawecki of the Mets, James McCann of the Tigers or Blake Swihart of the Red Sox -- who are in the 26-28-year-old range and could be brought in to be part of a solution.

Bottom line, there are a lot of options and you can rest assured that Dipoto and his staff are actively pondering them all.

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

Seattle Mariners

White doubles, collects 2 RBIs in AFL

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Monday:

• Gameday: Surprise 4, Scottsdale 5 | Mesa 2, Glendale 4 | Salt River 4, Peoria 5

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Monday:

• Gameday: Surprise 4, Scottsdale 5 | Mesa 2, Glendale 4 | Salt River 4, Peoria 5

 

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Blue Jays No. 1 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting .351 after going 1-for-3 with a two-run single. Cavan Biggio (No. 9) went 0-for-3, but made a nice diving catch in right field. Jackson McClelland had a rough afternoon as he gave up three runs (two earned) and issued a pair of walks in one inning.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: The youngest player in the @MLBazFallLeague, ladies and gentlemen.Follow live: https://t.co/QJw9o8rlW3 https://t.co/qUxuUfM8zw

Orioles (Glendale)
Chris Lee notched five strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings for the Desert Dogs. Lee, who has a 3.05 ERA in the AFL, walked one and gave up two runs on four hits. Steve Wilkerson went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, while Ryan McKenna (Orioles' No. 12 prospect) went 0-for-2 with a walk. Tanner Chleborad cruised through 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out four and surrendering just one hit.

Rays (Peoria)
Rays No. 9 prospect Lucius Fox went 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored out of the leadoff spot.

Red Sox (Mesa)
Red Sox No. 6 prospect Bobby Dalbec and Josh Ockimey (No. 10) went a combined 1-for-7 while hitting fourth and fifth in Mesa's lineup.

Yankees (Glendale)
Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial and Thairo Estrada (No. 16) each collected a hit for the Desert Dogs. Florial went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and Estrada finished 1-for-5. On the mound, Matt Wivinis threw one-third of an inning and picked up the save.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Rob Kaminsky improved to 3-0 and lowered his AFL ERA to 1.86 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Connor Marabell boosted his average to .303 as he went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs, while Li-Jen Chu drove Marabell home with an RBI double in in the fourth. Chu finished 1-for-4.

Royals (Surprise)
Royals No. 2 prospect Khalil Lee went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Meibrys Viloria and Nick Heath each went 1-for-4, with Viloria picking up an RBI in the process. Scott Blewett (No. 26) gave up two runs and struck out six over five innings of four-hit ball. Grant Gavin issued a pair of walks and gave up a hit but escaped the game with a scoreless inning.

Tigers (Mesa)
Daz Cameron (Tigers No. 8 prospect) went 0-for-4. Sandy Baez (No. 26) only faced two batters, but struck out one and retired both. John Schreiber also fanned one and threw a clean inning.

Twins (Salt River)
Jaylin Davis went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored. It was a challenging day for Twins relievers, starting with Devin Smeltzer, who allowed two earned runs on three hits and one walk in one-third of an inning. Hector Lujan gave up two unearned runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning, taking the loss.

White Sox (Glendale)
White Sox No. 4 prospect Luis Robert saw his average dip to .338 after going 0-for-4. Zach Thompson walked one and gave up a hit but kept the opponents off the board in 1 2/3 innings on the mound.

AL West

A's (Mesa)
Skye Bolt, the Athletics' No. 30 prospect, went 1-for-3 with a single. Calvin Coker retired both batters he faced, while Sam Sheehan didn't fare quite as well. Sheehan spun an inning but was charged with two runs on two hits.

Angels (Mesa)
Angels No. 4 prospect Jahmai Jones hit his sixth Fall League double as part of a 2-for-5 effort. David MacKinnon also picked up a hit and finished 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Ronnie Dawson hit his first homer of the Fall League, a solo shot that highlighted his 1-for-4 afternoon.

Mariners (Peoria)
Mariners No. 2 prospect Evan White went 1-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, a walk and a run scored. It was his sixth double of the Fall League season. Joe DeCarlo started at catcher and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Wyatt Mills (No. 9) pitched two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief, giving up two hits. David McKay notched the win in relief, allowing one unearned run on one hit in one inning with one strikeout.

Rangers (Surprise)
Joe Barlow struck out one, but gave up hits, including a walk-off double, to the other two batters he faced. Joe Kuzia also pitched in relief and spun a scoreless inning.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)<
Braves No. 6 prospect Cristian Pache went 1-for-5 with a single, a run scored and four strikeouts. Ray-Patrick Didder went 0-for-4. Thomas Burrows (No. 19) pitched one inning of relief, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk.

Marlins (Salt River)
Marlins No. 17 prospect Jordan Yamamoto continued his impressive Fall League campaign with five scoreless innings. Yamamoto allowed one hit and one walk while striking out six. The right-hander lowered his AFL ERA to 2.08. Bryson Brigman (No. 27) went 1-for-5 with a stolen base and a run scored. Brian Miller (No. 12) went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Chad Smith pitched a hitless inning of relief, walking one and striking out two. More >>

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Darick Hall entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth and came up clutch with an RBI single. Phillies No. 11 prospect Arquimedes Gamboa went 1-for-3. Luke Williams went 0-for-3. Seth McGarry gave up two runs on two hits in two innings out of the bullpen before handing off to Luke Leftwich, who yielded one hit, but threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Nationals (Salt River)
Nationals No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom had a nice day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with four singles, an RBI and a run scored. Tres Barrera (No. 15) went 1-for-5 with an RBI double. Daniel Johnson (No. 7) went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Tweet from @JakeDRill: #Nationals Tres Barrera gives Salt River a 2-0 lead with an RBI double in the fourth. @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/iaRM8e7TOT

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 1 prospect Andres Gimenez was just 1-for-5 at the plate, but that lone hit was a big one, as he came through with a walk-off two-run double in the bottom of the ninth. Peter Alonso (No. 2) also picked up an RBI and finished 1-for-4. Desmond Lindsay (No. 11) drew a pair of walks, but was otherwise 0-for-2. 

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: The #Mets' No. 1 prospect (#MLB No. 55) has struggled in the @MLBazFallLeague (.133 AVG), but he comes through in the clutch here. Gameday: https://t.co/B9BLeBr4It https://t.co/xm7m1pP2L7

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Weston Wilson went 2-for-5 with a run scored, including a 10th-inning single that led to the winning run scoring on an error on the same play. Trent Grisham (Brewers No. 19) went 2-for-3 with an RBI triple, a walk and a run scored. Grisham's three-bagger tied the game in the ninth. Daniel Brown tossed 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing one hit and striking out two.

Cardinals (Surprise)
Andy Young is hitting .328 after his 2-for-3 afternoon, which included an RBI double.

Cubs (Mesa)
Cubs No. 6 prospect Nico Hoerner tripled, his fourth of the AFL, and finished 1-for-4. DJ Wilson (No. 16) went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, while P.J. Higgins picked up an RBI and went 1-for-3. Justin Steele (No. 8) gave up five hits over four innings, but limited the damage to just two runs (one earned). Steele walked two, struck out three and has a 5.79 ERA in the AFL. Manuel Rondon threw a scoreless two-thirds of an inning.

Pirates (Surprise)
Cole Tucker, the Pirates' No. 5 prospect, went 0-for-4, but is still hitting .351. Bryan Reynolds (No. 8) finished 1-for-4. Will Craig (No. 16) went 1-for-3, while also drawing a walk and scoring a run.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Reds No. 2 prospect Taylor Trammell boosted his AFL average to .280 as he collected a pair of hits and finished 2-for-4. Shed Long (No. 8) entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and struck out in his lone at-bat. Ty Boyles picked up the win for the Scorpions after throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
It was a fairly quiet day at the plate for D-backs prospects as Pavin Smith (Arizona's No. 4 prospect), Daulton Varsho (No. 5) and Drew Ellis (No. 9) combined to go 2-for-13. Smith and Ellis each had a single, while Ellis also drew a walk.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Dodgers No. 20 prospect Errol Robinson went 1-for-4. Jared Walker hasn't hit particularly well in Arizona, but came through with a double and two RBIs for the Desert Dogs. Jordan Sheffield (No. 26) issued two walks but didn't give up a run in his two-thirds of an inning. More >>

Giants (Scottsdale)
Giants No. 28 prospect CJ Hinojosa went 0-for-3 and is hitting just .150 in the Fall League. Matt Winn also had a tough day at the plate and finished 0-for-2. Garrett Williams (No. 20) struggled with his command -- issuing four walks -- but did rack up six strikeouts in four innings. The lefty, who has a 1.88 ERA in the AFL, gave up two runs on four hits.

Padres (Peoria)
Padres No. 23 prospect Hudson Potts went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles. Buddy Reed (No. 13) went 0-for-4 with a walk. Miguel Diaz got the start for the Javelinas and pitched three scoreless innings with one hit allowed, one walk and three strikeouts. Travis Radke was the first reliever out of Peoria's bullpen, and he allowed two earned runs on four hits in three innings, striking out one.

Rockies (Salt River) 
Jesus Tinoco (Rockies No. 20 prospect) continued his strong Fall League season, lowering his ERA to 1.72 with 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief. Tinoco walked one and struck out two. Justin Lawrence (No. 17) also pitched in relief, giving up one earned run on two hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

Mariners add free-agent utility infielder Moore

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Dylan Moore, a utility infielder who spent most of last season with the Brewers' Triple-A club in Colorado Springs, signed a Major League free-agent deal with the Mariners on Friday.

The 26-year-old posted a .280/.346/.492 line with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs in 97 games at Colorado Springs, as well as .373/.429/.639 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 24 games for Double-A Biloxi.

SEATTLE -- Dylan Moore, a utility infielder who spent most of last season with the Brewers' Triple-A club in Colorado Springs, signed a Major League free-agent deal with the Mariners on Friday.

The 26-year-old posted a .280/.346/.492 line with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs in 97 games at Colorado Springs, as well as .373/.429/.639 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 24 games for Double-A Biloxi.

The Mariners' 40-man roster is now at 32 players. Two veteran utility players -- Andrew Romine and Gordon Beckham -- became free agents last month, leaving Kristopher Negron as the only returning utility man.

Moore was a seventh-round Draft pick of the Rangers in 2015 out of Central Florida and was traded to the Braves in 2016. He signed a Minor League deal with the Brewers last April after being released by Atlanta.

In four Minor League seasons, Moore has hit .260 with 42 home runs, 200 RBIs and 90 stolen bases, but he is yet to play in the Majors. He's played all four infield spots as well as seeing limited duty in left and center field during his pro career.

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

Seattle Mariners, Dylan Moore

Who will be dealt? Each team's top trade chip

MLB.com @feinsand

Free agency will garner most of the headlines during baseball's Hot Stove season, but this is also a time for MLB's general managers to discuss a plethora of trade options.

Some clubs may be looking to shed salary, while others could be looking ahead at next year's free agents. One thing is certain: Teams are more willing to trade than ever before, meaning we'll see a number of moves in the weeks and months ahead.

Free agency will garner most of the headlines during baseball's Hot Stove season, but this is also a time for MLB's general managers to discuss a plethora of trade options.

Some clubs may be looking to shed salary, while others could be looking ahead at next year's free agents. One thing is certain: Teams are more willing to trade than ever before, meaning we'll see a number of moves in the weeks and months ahead.

The latest MLB free agent and trade rumors for Hot Stove season

Here's a look at one trade candidate from every team:

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Baltimore Orioles: Andrew Cashner
With an $8 million salary in 2019 and a $10 million option for '20, Cashner is a reasonably priced starter who could provide some back-end value for many teams. The Orioles are firmly in rebuilding mode, and they would probably love to shed some of their higher-priced players.

Boston Red Sox: Christian Vazquez
Vazquez signed a team-friendly three-year, $13.5 million contract with the Red Sox that kicks in next season, but his disappointing year at the plate could prompt Boston to try moving him. Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart still remain, though the Sox could try bringing in a better bat behind the plate, as well.

New York Yankees: Miguel Andujar
Sonny Gray was too obvious for this one, as GM Brian Cashman said after the season that he was going to look to trade the disappointing right-hander. Andujar posted a terrific rookie season, but his value may never be higher, questions remain about his defense … and the Yankees might make a play for Manny Machado. If they do, Andujar could be flipped for a controllable pitcher.

Video: NYY@BOS: Andujar's 47th double ties AL rookie record

Tampa Bay Rays: C.J. Cron
Jake Bauers played more innings at first than Cron last season, while No. 2 prospect Brendan McKay is the first baseman of the future. Cron's 30-homer, .816-OPS season in 2018 should make him a valuable asset, and he'll be due a raise from his $2.3 million salary in his second year of arbitration.

Toronto Blue Jays: Brandon Drury
The Blue Jays have an abundance of infielders, and with baseball's top prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., zooming toward the Majors, it's only a matter of time before third base becomes his territory. Drury is a versatile, valuable player with three years of arbitration eligibility remaining, so he could bring back a nice return.

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu
Abreu has been a popular name on the trade-rumor mill for more than a year, and although the White Sox are close to finishing their rebuild, Abreu is arbitration-eligible for the final time this offseason and can become a free agent after next season.

Cleveland Indians: Carlos Carrasco
Corey Kluber could have been the choice here given their ages -- Kluber is entering his age-33 season, while Carrasco will be playing at 32 -- and contract situations (Kluber is owed $13 million in 2019 and has club options for '20 and '21 worth $13.5 million and $14 million, respectively; Carrasco will earn $9 million next year and has a $9.5 million club option for '20). Kluber's track record is stronger, so although he may fetch a better return, the Indians would probably prefer to hang on to their ace and deal Carrasco.

Detroit Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
The Tigers are in a full-on rebuild, and while they won't be able to move the sizeable contracts of Miguel Cabrera or Jordan Zimmermann, Castellanos is a huge chip for GM Al Avila. Fresh off a 23-homer, .854-OPS season, Castellanos has two years of club control left and should bring back some value.

Kansas City Royals: Danny Duffy
The Royals contemplated trading Duffy last summer, but the left-hander had a rough outing the week before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, then got knocked around twice in August before landing on the DL with a left shoulder injury. Trading him might be difficult because of the late-season injury and his salary (he has three years and $46 million left on his contract), but if the chance to deal him for value presents itself, the Royals could make a move.

Minnesota Twins: Jake Odorizzi
Odorizzi will get a raise from his $6.3 million salary in his final year of arbitration, and while he had a decent season for the Twins in 2018, Minnesota could flip him a year before he becomes a free agent.

AL WEST

Houston Astros: Hector Rondon
With Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith, Collin McHugh and Josh James all returning, Rondon and his $4.5 million salary might prove to be an expendable piece for the Astros.

Los Angeles Angels: Kole Calhoun
Three of the Angels' top six prospects are outfielders, and given that Mike Trout and Justin Upton aren't going anywhere, Calhoun could be on the move if the Halos can get a pitcher in return. He's due $10.5 million in 2019 with a $14 million club option for '20.

Oakland Athletics: Mike Fiers
Fiers earned $6 million last season and has one more year of club control, but given the raises coming to Khris Davis and Oakland's 11 other arbitration-eligible players, Fiers -- who had his best season in three years -- could be moved to free up some payroll.

Seattle Mariners: James Paxton
Mike Zunino is already gone from Seattle, traded to Tampa Bay in a five-player deal that landed center fielder Mallex Smith with the Mariners. GM Jerry Dipoto is trying to reshape the roster this offseason, and with Mitch Haniger, Edwin Diaz and Marco Gonzales reportedly not on the block, no player would bring back a bigger return than Paxton, the hard-throwing lefty who, despite a lengthy injury history, is considered by many to be one of the top southpaws in the league.

Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo
Shin-Soo Choo had a terrific year, but with $42 million due to him over the next two years, his contract will be tough to move. Gallo isn't arbitration-eligible until 2020, and with four years of club control and a powerful bat, he would be valued by many teams and might be moved for a starting pitcher. Texas has Ronald Guzman ready to take over full-time at first base should Gallo be moved.

Video: TEX@LAA: Gallo crushes 40th homer of season to center

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves: Johan Camargo
Austin Riley, the Braves' No. 5 prospect (and No. 43 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100), posted an .882 OPS at three Minor League levels last year, moving closer to the Majors. Camargo had a very solid season in 2018 (.806 OPS, 19 homers), but Riley remains the future at the hot corner. Atlanta might be able to move Camargo for an arm.

Miami Marlins: J.T. Realmuto
A year after trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Gordon, the Marlins could decide to move their All-Star catcher for a haul of prospects -- and there would be no shortage of teams lining up to make a deal.

• Marlins' three main options for Realmuto

Video: Bowman: Braves could pursue Realmuto trade

New York Mets: Zack Wheeler
Many believed Wheeler would be traded last summer, but the Mets held on to him. He delivered a strong season (3.31 ERA in 182 1/3 innings) that boosted his value, and with one year remaining until Wheeler becomes a free agent, new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen could bring back a nice return for the right-hander if he decides to move him.

Philadelphia Phillies: Maikel Franco
Franco had a bounce-back season in 2018, his .780 OPS representing a 90-point boost from the previous year. But his streaky nature -- Franco struggled badly for most of May and August -- and inconsistent defense might prompt the Phillies to try moving him elsewhere.

Washington Nationals: Michael A. Taylor
With Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Adam Eaton in the outfield -- not to mention the potential return of Bryce Harper -- Taylor would appear to be the odd man out. He should draw interest from several teams and bring something of value back to the Nationals.

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ
The 24-year-old infielder/outfielder was unable to build on his impressive rookie campaign as virtually every one of his offensive statistics regressed from 2017. Happ's versatility, talent and age make him an ideal target for any team -- small- or large-market -- and given the Cubs' glut of young position players, dealing from that strength to acquire pitching would make sense.

Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton
Hamilton has been on the trade block before and will likely be there again this offseason. The Reds need pitching, which could lead to them moving Hamilton or fellow outfielder Scott Schebler.

Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Ray
Brewers GM David Stearns isn't big on trading his top prospects, but with Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun locked into the outfield, Milwaukee could dangle its No. 2 prospect in an effort to acquire some pitching. Ray hit 27 home runs, stole 37 bases and posted an .801 OPS at Double-A last season.

Video: Ray, Brown named Brewers' Minor League POY

Pittsburgh Pirates: Francisco Cervelli
The Pirates posted a winning record in 2018 despite trading away Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen, so the idea of dealing their starting catcher isn't unrealistic. Cervelli's $11.5 million salary is the highest on the team, and he's slated to become a free agent after next season. Elias Diaz could take over behind the plate.

St. Louis Cardinals: Jose Martinez
Martinez's bat has never been a question, evidenced by his career .309 average and .850 OPS. His defense, however, has proven to be less than ideal, making him a prime candidate to be traded to an AL club where he could become a full-time DH.

NL WEST

Arizona D-backs: Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt has one year of club control remaining before becoming a free agent at the end of the 2019 season. If the D-backs decide they won't be able to re-sign him to a new deal, they could opt to move the franchise first baseman rather than letting him walk for Draft picks. This might not be a likely scenario given Arizona's desire to contend, but it can't be completely ruled out, either.

Video: D-backs pick up Goldschmidt's 2019 option

Colorado Rockies: Raimel Tapia
Tapia didn't find much of a role with the Rockies in 2018, playing in only 25 games during stints in July and September. He posted an .847 OPS with 11 homers and 21 stolen bases in 105 games at Triple-A, so a team in need of speed might have interest in Tapia, who is out of Minor League options.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp
Kemp had a solid regular season, hitting 21 home runs with an .818 OPS in 146 games, but he disappeared in the postseason, hitting one home run with three RBIs with a .548 OPS in 13 games. Kemp is owed $21.5 million in the final year of his eight-year contract, and the Dodgers would surely love to save at least part of that salary.

San Diego Padres: Craig Stammen
Stammen has performed well during his two years with San Diego, posting a 2.73 ERA in 2018 with 10 strikeouts per nine innings and a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. A contender would likely give the Padres something of value for Stammen, who is due $2.25 million and will be a free agent after 2019, his age-35 season.

San Francisco Giants: Joe Panik
Panik had a very disappointing 2018, but with two years of club control remaining, a change of scenery could be just the thing to spark his game. The Giants don't have an internal candidate to replace Panik at second base, though the position is as deep as any in this year's market, so finding a new second baseman shouldn't be very difficult.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

Here's what happened in Friday's AFL action

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Friday:

• Gameday: Scottsdale 5, Glendale 6 | Salt River 4, Mesa 5 | Surprise 2, Peoria 4

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Friday:

• Gameday: Scottsdale 5, Glendale 6 | Salt River 4, Mesa 5 | Surprise 2, Peoria 4

AL East

Blue Jays (Surprise)
MLB Pipeline No. 1 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s AFL average dropped to .351 after a 1-for-4 performance that included an infield single to third base and a pair of swinging strikeouts. Zach Jackson allowed one run on one hit and two walks with one strikeout out of the Saguaros' bullpen.

Orioles (Glendale)
Steve Wilkerson boosted his Fall League average to .300 with a 2-for-4 afternoon. Ryan McKenna, the Orioles' No. 16 prospect, went 0-for-2.

Rays (Peoria)
Lucius Fox, the Rays' No. 9 prospect, hit a single in his first at-bat to increase his hitting streak to eight games before finishing 1-for-5. The shortstop sports a .329 average with 15 runs scored in 18 games this fall.

Tweet from @GoldenSombrero: #Rays Lucius Fox leadoff single to LF pic.twitter.com/VOa3MVEjdY

Red Sox (Mesa)
Bobby Dalbec, Boston's No. 6 prospect, struck out twice and walked in three trips to the plate for the Solar Sox. He's hitting .194 with a .713 OPS in the Fall League. Josh Taylor posted a scoreless inning with one strikeout in relief.

Yankees (Glendale)
Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial has had a rough AFL, but did collect a pair of hits on Friday. Florial went 2-for-4 and also drove in a run. Thairo Estrada (No. 16) went 0-for-3 and scored a run. Steven Sensley went 0-for-4. Jordan Foley twirled a strong start for the Desert Dogs. The right-hander walked four, but yielded just one run on three hits through four innings. Matt Wivinis and Hobie Harris followed Foley to the mound and each threw an inning. Wivinis retired the side in order, Harris gave up one run on one hit, but notched a trio of strikeouts.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Indians No. 6 prospect Yu Chang finished just 1-for-4 at the plate, but also drove in a pair of runs. Li-Jen Chu went 0-for-2, but drew a walk and scored a run. Dalbert Siri and Rob Kaminsky each threw in relief. Siri gave up one run on one hit in one inning, while Kaminsky faced just two batters, walking one and retiring the other.

Royals (Surprise)
Nick Heath tallied an opposite-field single in three trips to the plate from the bottom of the order for the Saguaros. On the mound, right-hander Arnaldo Hernandez pitched around three walks in the fifth inning to complete a scoreless frame.

Tigers (Mesa)
Tigers No. 8 prospect Daz Cameron has swung a hot bat this fall, and that continued when he delivered a walk-off hit to cap a 2-for-5 performance that included a stolen base. With the multihit performance, Cameron pushed his average to .338. Catcher Jake Rogers (No. 12) paced the offense with two runs scored as part of a 1-for-3 performance that included his third double. On the mound, Solar Sox starting pitcher Gregory Soto (No. 14) allowed two runs (one earned) over four innings to lower his ERA to 2.88. He mixed three hits with three walks and struck out a pair. Eduardo Jimenez took over for Soto in the fifth inning and delivered two hitless frames with a walk and two strikeouts. Sandy Baez (No. 26) didn't fare as well in the ninth, allowing two earned runs on three hits, though he did record his second AFL victory after Cameron won it for Mesa.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: Walk it off, Daz!#Tigers No. 8 prospect Daz Cameron continues his strong @MLBazFallLeague campaign with this game-winner for Mesa. Gameday: https://t.co/KSCqo5b8CV pic.twitter.com/aw6V8gp1XZ

Twins (Salt River)
Griffin Jax was sharp in his longest Fall League outing, tossing five innings of two-hit ball during which he allowed just one run. The right-hander issued two walks, struck out five and generated seven ground-ball outs while throwing 44 of 78 pitches for strikes. Adam Bray and Hector Lujan both struck out the side but also gave up an earned run during their respective innings out of the bullpen in relief of Jax.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: ������#MNTwins righty & @AF_Baseball product Griffin Jax had his best start of the @MLBazFallLeague this afternoon. Gameday: https://t.co/d9oqvyK47X pic.twitter.com/uXtglm7pS8

White Sox (Glendale)
White Sox No. 4 prospect Luis Robert extended his hitting streak to 14 games and is hitting .386 after another impressive day at the plate. Robert finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and a double. He also scored two runs and stole a base. Danny Dopico struggled on the mound. Dopico walked three, yielded one hit and was charged with two runs in two-thirds of an inning. More »

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: Luis Robert is rolling!2-for-2, 2B, SB, 2 R, RBI. The #WhiteSox No. 4 prospect is batting .378 in the @MLBazFallLeague and has hit in all 14 games he's played -- the longest AFL streak since 2014.Gameday: https://t.co/wfH9KcM4QV pic.twitter.com/dgvXMVg1JJ

AL West

A's (Mesa)
A's No. 18 prospect Eli White, starting at shortstop for Mesa, plated a run with his second AFL double, his lone hit in four trips to the plate. Skye Bolt (No. 30) reached base twice in the contest, going 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and two stolen bases. They're batting .334 and .244 this fall, respectively.

Angels (Mesa)
Jahmai Jones, the Angels' No. 4 prospect, reached via a walk and tallied his fifth AFL double while going 1-for-3 from the two-spot in the lineup. Neither third baseman Roberto Baldoquin nor first baseman David MacKinnon collected a hit, as they together went 0-for-7 with four strikeouts, three of which belonged to MacKinnon.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Astros No. 2 prospect Forrest Whitley didn't receive much help from his defense. The right-hander was charged with five runs in four innings, however just one of the runs was earned. Whitley also walked two and struck out four. Trent Thornton (No. 24) and Erasmo Pinales followed in relief and each threw a scoreless inning. Hitting atop the Scottsdale lineup, Drew Ferguson went 1-for-4 with a double. Robbie Dawson entered the game as a pinch-hitter, but was hit by a pitch in his lone plate appearance. Abraham Toro-Hernandez (No. 21) also entered as a pinch-hitter and drew a walk.

Mariners (Peoria)
Evan White, Seattle's No. 2 prospect, reached base three times via two walks and an opposite-field single to finish 1-for-2. Ian Miller (No. 20) and catcher Joe DeCarlo both went 0-for-2 but walked twice. On the mound, Javelinas starter Anthony Misiewicz (No. 28) took a no-decision despite tossing four blank frames of two-hit ball with four strikeouts. The left-hander has pitched to a 2.76 ERA with 13 strikeouts and four walks across 16 1/3 frames (five starts). Right-hander David McKay tossed a perfect seventh inning with one strikeout out of the bullpen.

Rangers (Surprise)
Yanio Perez put Surprise on the board with a ninth-inning RBI single, his lone hit in four trips to the plate. Charles Leblanc, meanwhile, was held hitless, going 0-for-4. The two players are batting .211 and .306, respectively. Joe Barlow issued a walk before recording the third out in the eighth inning after entering in relief.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)
Braves No. 6 prospect Cristian Pache (No. 68 overall), batting cleanup for the Javelinas on Friday, worked a pair of walks and scored a run as part of a 0-for-2 showing. Reigning AFL Hitter of the Week Braxton Davidson delivered a two-run single to center field with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to extend Peoria's lead. He finished 1-for-3 at the plate and now has 13 RBIs this fall.

Marlins (Salt River)
Marlins No. 2 prospect Monte Harrison went 0-for-4. Brian Miller (No. 12) entered the game as a pinch-runner, but didn't record an at-bat. Bryson Brigman (No. 27) doubled his RBI total as he went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and has now driven in four runs in the AFL. Kyle Keller was stuck with the loss for the Rafters after giving up one run on two hits in the bottom of the ninth.

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Phillies No. 11 prospect Arquimedes Gamboa went 1-for-2 with a walk as he continues to struggle and is hitting .191 in the AFL. Darick Hall went 2-for-5 and scored a pair of runs, while Austin Listi went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Nationals (Salt River)
Nationals No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom and Daniel Johnson (No. 7) had rather pedestrian days at the plate as Kieboom went 1-for-3 and Johnson finished 0-for-2.

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 1 prospect Andres Gimenez went 0-for-3 at the plate. Peter Alonso (No. 2) entered the game as a pinch-hitter, but drew a walk in his lone plate appearance. Ali Sanchez (No. 25) entered the game as a defensive replacement and didn't record a plate appearance. Joe Zanghi struck out one as he worked his way through a clean inning.

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Brewers top prospect Keston Hiura (No. 30 overall) was held hitless out of the two-spot in the lineup, as he finished 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He's hitting .325 in the Fall League. Right-hander Miguel Sanchez lowered his ERA to 1.29 and earned his first AFL win after tossing two scoreless frames out of the bullpen. He surrendered two hits, walked one batter and struck out a pair.

Cardinals (Surprise)
Switch-hitting shortstop Tommy Edman went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk out of the leadoff spot, while two-hole hitter Lane Thomas finished 0-for-3 with a walk. Catcher Jeremy Martinez went 2-for-4 with a double as he accounted for a quarter of Surprise's eight hits on the night. Starting pitcher Evan Kruczynski added to his strong fall campaign by allowing just one hit over four scoreless innings. He walked a pair and struck out three.The left-hander's ERA sits at 1.37 through 19 2/3 frames (five starts) after his second straight scoreless outing. Right-hander Conner Greene (No. 28) struck out the first batter he faced but ultimately allowed three earned runs on three hits and two walks while last just 2/3 innings.

Cubs (Mesa)
Cubs No. 16 prospect D.J. Wilson boosted his average to .160 as he went 2-for-4 and scored a run.

Pirates (Surprise)
Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh's No. 8 prospect, went 1-for-4, and Will Craig (No. 16) plated one of the Saguaros' two runs with a ninth-inning single to finish 1-for-4. Matt Eckelman issued a pair of walks but otherwise tossed a clean seventh inning in relief.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Taylor Trammell, the Reds' No. 2 prospect, was 1-for-2 at the plate, but also showed solid plate discipline as he drew a trio of walks. Alfredo Rodriguez (No. 23) went 0-for-5 and is hitting just .164.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
D-backs No. 4 prospect Pavin Smith went 0-for-3 but drew a walk and scored a run. Daulton Varsho (No. 5) scored a run, but was otherwise 0-for-5. Drew Ellis (No. 9) picked up his 12th RBI as part of a 1-for-3 afternoon.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Dodgers No. 26 prospect Jordan Sheffield walked one, but picked up his first save of the AFL after throwing a scoreless ninth inning. Jared Walker went 0-for-3.

Giants (Scottsdale)
Giants No. 10 prospect Heath Quinn went 0-for-4 with a walk, C.J. Hinojosa (No. 28) entered the game as a defensive substitution in the ninth and Matt Winn went 1-for-2 with a homer, his second of the Fall. Melvin Adon has impressed in the AFL, but gave up one run on three in his lone inning and was stuck with the loss.

Padres (Peoria)
Padres No. 23 prospect Hudson Potts broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the sixth inning and finished 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. Buddy Reed (No. 13) drove home a run two innings later with an opposite-field double before finishing 1-for-3 with a walk. RIght-hander Blake Rogers allowed a hit and a walk during a scoreless eighth inning, while Dauris Valdez yielded two earned runs on three hits while striking out the side in the ninth to secure the Javelinas' victory.

Tweet from @GoldenSombrero: Hudson Potts��� RBI single puts Peoria on the board. #Padres @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/gkSzzpWMRh

Rockies (Salt River)
Tyler Nevin, the Rockies No. 11 prospect, entered the game as a defensive replacement. Josh Fuentes picked up a pair of hits and is hitting .310 after his 2-for-4 performance.

Misiewicz tosses four scoreless frames in AFL

Seattle also ships Heredia, Minor Leaguer to Tampa Bay, acquires prospect Fraley
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Mallex Smith believes in second chances, so he'll happily give Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto a pass on his first abbreviated stint with Seattle.

The 25-year-old outfielder noted that Dipoto jokingly told him he'd be part of the club "for longer than [77] minutes" after reacquiring the youngster, who the Mariners initially traded for two years ago before immediately flipping him to the Rays in the Drew Smyly deal.

SEATTLE -- Mallex Smith believes in second chances, so he'll happily give Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto a pass on his first abbreviated stint with Seattle.

The 25-year-old outfielder noted that Dipoto jokingly told him he'd be part of the club "for longer than [77] minutes" after reacquiring the youngster, who the Mariners initially traded for two years ago before immediately flipping him to the Rays in the Drew Smyly deal.

This time, the Mariners are bringing on Smith for keeps, as he's the centerpiece of a five-player swap that sent catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Guillermo Heredia and Minor League left-hander Michael Plassmeyer to the Rays in exchange for Smith and Minor League outfielder Jake Fraley.

"It's like they made a mistake and wanted me back," Smith said in a Friday conference call from his offseason home in Tallahassee, Fla., after the trade became official. "They slipped up and let me go. It feels good. The team wanted me, and I really appreciate that."

The trade fills the Mariners' need for a center fielder and allows Dee Gordon to move back to the infield next season, where he appeared far more comfortable in 2018. But it does open the need for another move to fill the vacancy at catcher, with rookie backup David Freitas the only remaining backstop on Seattle's 40-man roster.

Dipoto: Free agency not 'first path' for Mariners

Thus this figures to just be the first domino for Dipoto in what shapes up as a busy offseason. But even the Mariners' GM took a lighthearted approach to landing a player whose previous tie to Seattle was measured in minutes.

"Bringing Mallex back home to Seattle is exciting for us all," Dipoto said. "His combination of speed, baserunning impact, defense and on-base abilities are unique in today's game. We believe his breakout 2018 performance reflects the many ways his skills will positively impact the Mariners for years to come."

Smith put up a .296/.367/.406 line with a league-leading 10 triples while also stealing 40 bases for the Rays in 141 games in his first season as a regular starter. He has one more year before reaching arbitration and won't become a free agent until 2023.

Dipoto is also intrigued by Fraley, a 23-year-old who posted a .347/.415/.547 line with four homers, 41 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 66 games for the Rays' Class A Advanced affiliate Charlotte last year and adds outfield depth to the Mariners' farm system.

"Jake Fraley exhibits a similarly exciting set of athletic and baseball skills," Dipoto said. "His offensive game blossomed in 2018 and creates an exciting profile when coupled with his exceptional defense and overall instincts. Both players fit our desire to build a younger, more athletic and exciting roster."

Giving up Zunino wasn't easy, however. The 27-year-old has been Seattle's starting backstop for most of the past five seasons after being selected with the third overall pick in the 2012 Draft out of Florida.

Video: Zunino discusses joining Rays after trade

Zunino's offense took a dip last year as he posted a .201/.259/.410 line with 20 home runs and 44 RBIs in 113 games, but he was named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday as MLB's top defensive catcher, and he's been one of the game's premier power hitters at his position the past two seasons.

Zunino admitted he was shocked by the deal, but he understood it once reality set in as he landed with a club close to his home in Gainesville, Fla.

"I had a conversation not even a week ago with [Mariners manager Scott] Servais just talking about the offseason and stuff like that," Zunino said. "So when this popped up, it was extremely surprising. But once everything got laid out, you know Jerry [Dipoto] has a vision, and I just thank those guys for how they treated me over the last few years."

Dipoto's plan figures to unfold with further moves, but Smith fills a clear void in center field. Gordon opened last season in center, though he shifted back to his natural second-base spot when Robinson Cano was suspended for 80 games. Gordon also filled in well at shortstop for seven games while Jean Segura was sidelined later in the year, so he could play either of those positions going forward.

"Our preference would be that Dee plays the infield, because that's what he does best," Dipoto told MLB.com on Thursday at the GM Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif.

For his part, Smith is eager to play with Gordon, a fellow Florida native who employs a similar speed game.

"Me and Dee have a good off-the-field relationship, so it will definitely be a pleasure to play with him and learn from him," Smith said. "He's still my elder and has done some things I haven't done in my career. I'll definitely learn from him."

Zunino has two more seasons of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent in 2021, and he made $2.975 million last season, with a raise expected to push his salary above $4 million next year.

Smith made the MLB minimum of $550,000 last year. With four years of team control before he'll reach free agency, he fits Dipoto's vision of building around the younger core of Mitch Haniger, Marco Gonzales, Edwin Diaz and others who'll be with the club at least another four to five years.

Zunino was outstanding in the clubhouse and working with pitchers, but Smith is well respected as well and said his proudest accomplishment in his breakout season last year was being named the Rays' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

"I feel like it's a good fit," Smith said. "It's very comfortable when the team wants you. Jerry has traded for me twice. I think I'll fit in well."

Heredia hit .236/.318/.342 in 125 games last year. The 27-year-old Cuban is a strong defender, but he struggled at the plate when given extensive playing time. Like Smith, he has one more season before reaching arbitration and four remaining years of club control.

Plasssmeyer, 22, had a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings over 13 games (12 starts) for Class A Short-Season Everett after being drafted in the fourth round by the Mariners in June.

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

Seattle Mariners, Mallex Smith, Mike Zunino