PEORIA, Ariz. -- A Mariners outfield competition built almost entirely around rookies took on a new name Tuesday as veteran Carlos González signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp, the club announced on Monday.
The Mariners confirmed the deal after González passed a physical exam. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, González would be paid $750,000 if he makes the Major League roster.
González was a three-time All-Star and three-time National League Gold Glove Award winner during his 10 years with the Rockies, but he struggled last year with the Indians and Cubs while posting a .200/.289/.283 line with three homers and 10 RBIs in 45 games.
The Mariners are uncertain of the status of right fielder Mitch Haniger, who recently underwent sports hernia surgery and hasn’t played since last June after rupturing a testicle on a foul ball. With Haniger expected to miss at least the start of the regular season, Mallex Smith is the only experienced outfielder on Seattle’s 40-man roster.
The Mariners had already penciled in rookie Kyle Lewis as the likely starter in left field, with fellow prospects Jake Fraley, Braden Bishop and Jose Siri competing for playing time in right field in Haniger’s absence.
González will provide a veteran mentor for that group and could have a shot at making the roster, given that Fraley, Bishop and Siri have a combined 30 Major League games and 96 at-bats between them.
González hit .276 with 16 homers and 64 RBIs in 132 games for the Rockies in 2018, then signed with the Indians last spring on a Minor League deal. He wound up earning a spot on Cleveland’s roster, but he was designated for assignment on May 22 after batting just .210/.282/.276 with two homers in 30 games.
He signed with the Cubs in June and played 15 games before being DFA’d again a month later after hitting .175/.306/.300 with one homer and three RBIs.
Four non-roster invites extended
The Mariners announced four additional non-roster invitations to Major League camp, including three veterans on Minor League contracts. Left-handed pitchers Wei-Yin Chen and Manny Bañuelos and infielder Alen Hanson all finalized Minor League deals, while outfielder Eric Filia -- already in the Mariners’ organization -- has also been extended a late invitation. The four additions raise the Mariners’ camp total to 66 players -- the 40-man roster plus 26 non-roster invitees.
Bañuelos, 28, went 3-4 with a 6.93 ERA in 16 games (eight starts) with the White Sox last year and previously pitched seven games (six starts) at the big league level with Atlanta in 2015.
Chen, 34, posted a 46-32 record with a 3.72 ERA in 117 starts with the Orioles from 2012-15, but he struggled after signing a five-year, $80 million deal with Miami and is still owed $22 million by the Marlins for this coming season.
Hanson, 27, has spent parts of four MLB seasons with the Pirates, White Sox, Giants and Blue Jays, batting .232/.266/.368 with 12 homers and 21 stolen bases in 261 games. While second base has been his primary position, the Dominican Republic native has also spent time in the outfield and all four infield spots.
Filia, 27, missed 100 games due to a suspension last year, but he batted .331 in 35 games after returning to Triple-A Tacoma and then hit .301 in 45 games this winter in the Dominican League.