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Mariners' first-round Draft pick Gilbert signs

Seattle inks No. 14 overall selection to slot value
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Logan Gilbert took the first step in his professional career on Saturday, and it was a lucrative one, as the right-hander out of Stetson University finalized a contract with the Mariners. He will head soon to Class A Everett, though his innings will be limited this season after a heavy workload in college.

The 21-year-old agreed to a $3,883,800 signing bonus, according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, which is the slot value money assigned to the No. 14 overall position where he was selected last week by Seattle.

SEATTLE -- Logan Gilbert took the first step in his professional career on Saturday, and it was a lucrative one, as the right-hander out of Stetson University finalized a contract with the Mariners. He will head soon to Class A Everett, though his innings will be limited this season after a heavy workload in college.

The 21-year-old agreed to a $3,883,800 signing bonus, according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, which is the slot value money assigned to the No. 14 overall position where he was selected last week by Seattle.

"He's been pretty much a workhorse at Stetson," Mariners amateur scouting director Scott Hunter said. "He started his first live game, an intersquad game, in January, so he's pretty much at his innings limit. We'll ease him in. If he throws a few innings this summer, it'll be icing on the cake. But it's not going to be a heavy workload whatsoever. We're about getting him ready for our [high-performance] camp in the fall."

Tweet from @Mariners: Making the rounds. pic.twitter.com/OUjpb0aj6N

Gilbert was at Safeco Field on Friday to watch the Mariners' 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Red Sox in front of more than 44,000 fans, and that definitely gave him a taste of what he'll be working toward in the upcoming seasons.

"It was crazy," Gilbert said. "It was a good game to be at, with the comeback and how they played. It was an awesome atmosphere and all that stuff. Just imagining being out there in a couple years, it was pretty cool. I'm ready to get to work. I'm excited to get to Everett and hopefully get to throw a little bit. And hopefully work my way up over the next few years."

Video: Hunter on Mariners drafting Gilbert 14th overall

The Mariners also announced the signings of Georgia outfielder Keegan McGovern (their ninth-round pick) and Benjamin Onyshko (24th round), a left-handed pitcher also out of Stetson.

The Mariners have now signed 32 of their 40 Draft selections, including 28 of the top 30. The only top-10 pick who hasn't signed is third-rounder Cal Raleigh, a catcher from Florida State.

Gilbert went 11-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 16 starts this year as a junior, with 163 strikeouts and 25 walks in 107 innings, and he was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year. His 163 strikeouts were the most by any NCAA Division I pitcher. Over three seasons, Gilbert posted a 23-3 record with a 2.48 ERA in 52 games, including 33 starts.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander is less than two semesters shy of graduating with a degree in business systems and analytics from the private school of about 3,000 students in DeLand, Fla.

That education clearly could come into use in a Mariners organization that leans heavily on analytics.

"I think it's going to be big," Gilbert said. "I didn't use it a ton in college. There wasn't a ton of data really that we had to use. But that's who I am and how my mind works. I'm an analytical type of person. So I look forward in the future to being able to utilize that in different ways. I think it'll help my game to have extra information and data to use."

Gilbert wasn't highly recruited out of high school, where he was a 4.0 student at Wekiva High in Apopka, Fla., so he jumped at the chance to go to Stetson, which has a tradition of producing top pitchers. Indians standout Corey Kluber was a fourth-round pick by the Padres in 2007 out of Stetson and Jacob deGrom was a ninth-round selection by the Mets in '10.

Gilbert is something of a late bloomer, not fully committing to pitching until his final years of high school. But once that decision came, his dad built a mound in the family's backyard in Florida and the work hasn't stopped since.

"Most of the time, kids have their own batting cages," Hunter said, "but that might have been my first with their own mound. I know one thing we're definitely getting is the work ethic and upside and passion for the game. It's amazing what he's done on his own over the course of his career. And where he wants to get to, it's refreshing as an organization that we're getting that kind of human, too."

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

Seattle Mariners

Seattle scouting director on Draft: 'Really strong'

Mariners focus on high-upside college talent, late-round 'diamonds in the rough'
MLB.com

The Mariners wrapped up the 2018 MLB Draft on Wednesday, and with their selections in rounds 11-40 on Day 3, Seattle hopes to have found not only future Major League stalwarts for the franchise, but also some diamonds in the rough.

Draft Tracker: Every Mariners pick

The Mariners wrapped up the 2018 MLB Draft on Wednesday, and with their selections in rounds 11-40 on Day 3, Seattle hopes to have found not only future Major League stalwarts for the franchise, but also some diamonds in the rough.

Draft Tracker: Every Mariners pick

The Mariners' Draft week began with the selection of a pitcher in the first round for the first time since 2011 -- when the organization picked Virginia's Danny Hultzen at No. 2 overall -- selecting Stetson University right-hander Logan Gilbert with the 14th pick in Monday's first round.

Seattle wrapped Day 1 by drafting another college player, Louisville's Josh Stowers, in Round 2. The selections of Gilbert and Stowers kicked off a Draft-wide trend for the Mariners, who went heavy on adding high-upside college talent to their Minor League ranks.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Of the Mariners' 40 draft picks, 33 are college players. Seattle didn't draft a high schooler until Day 3, when the organization selected Damon Casetta-Stubbs, a right-handed pitcher out of nearby Kings Way Christian Schools (Wash.), in the 11th round. Casetta-Stubs told The Columbian that he agreed to a $350,000 signing bonus -- well above the $125,000 allotted for Rounds 11-40 -- to forgo his commitment to Seattle University and join the Mariners' Rookie-level affiliate in Peoria, Ariz.

Mariners director of amateur scouting Scott Hunter said that the high school players Seattle was targeting went off the board early, and established college players fit with the organization's plan to bolster its upper Minor League levels and improve a farm system often ranked among the lowest in baseball.

"Only time will tell, but we feel really strong about what we did over the last three days," Hunter said. "We were pretty college-heavy, but if you look at the depth of the Draft this year, and so many teams that had multiple picks, a lot of these high school guys were gone, and we had a lot of things in the works that just didn't get to us. We did a very good job of finding some junior college kids, some Division II players we feel very strongly about, saved a little bit of money in the first 10 picks, and then we got a little bit aggressive on some high school pitching."

That high school pitching came in the 11th round, the first of Wednesday's Day 3 of the Draft, when Seattle selected Casetta-Stubbs. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander has seen his fastball improve dramatically this season, clocked up to 96 mph.

"Casetta-Stubbs is a Mariners fan, and while he did have quite a big number in regards to signability in the top 10 rounds, we met with him and the family and his representative, and just seeing what we were doing here and how he could grow and develop, the family and him came off their number a little bit, and that's why we were able to make a run at him. He's pretty exciting for us."

Another Day 3 pick Hunter is particularly excited about is a pitcher he refers to as "Big Country," J.T. Salter out of the University of West Alabama. Salter is a 6-foot-7, 300-pound right-hander with raw stuff that, if harnessed, could translate into special things at the big league level.

Seattle selected Salter in the 20th round, 598th overall. Featuring a 95-mph fastball along with an 86-mph slider, he posted a 2.65 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings for West Alabama this season, earning a first-team All-Gulf South Conference selection.

"We started looking at the video, and we couldn't believe it. He's a massive human being, he's athletic, his arm works, his delivery works, he throws strikes, and now getting him out of West Alabama, we're hoping he's a diamond in the rough," said Hunter. "Once he learns how to really control what he's doing, since he doesn't really have a long track record of having any pitching gurus or real instruction, what he's doing and his size sparked some real interest."

Another selection that Hunter spotlighted was outfielder Cesar Trejo, selected in the 17th round out of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. In three collegiate seasons, Trejo slashed .333/.400/.557 with 26 home runs and 29 steals in 161 games.

"A 65 runner, a plus arm, has some rawness at the plate, but staying with our motto of trying to get a tools-oriented, athletic-oriented player, along with all of our filters, this is a true five-tool guy that, if he develops into the player we think he can be, has a chance to impact the game on multiple levels," Hunter said.

The Mariners dedicated their final selection of the Draft, right-hander David Rhodes out of Langley Secondary School in White Rock, British Columbia, to longtime scout Wayne Norton, who passed away in January. Norton, a native of Port Moody, British Columbia, covered Canada as a Mariners scout beginning in 2000.

"Wayne Norton is a legend, and I have the utmost respect for him and his wife, Trudy, to whom we sent the video of us selecting this player," Hunter said. "It was a moment we wanted to dedicate to Wayne, but also David Rhodes, because kids in Canada all know Wayne Norton, and to do that in Wayne's honor, and for this kid, we all thought that was a special moment."

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Seattle Mariners

Mariners' focus on college talent on Day 2

Catcher Raleigh, lefty Plassmeyer among club's 8 selections
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Looking to bolster their upper Minor League levels with a strong infusion of young talent, the Mariners hit the college ranks hard on Day 2 of the MLB Draft on Tuesday.

After selecting Stetson right-hander Logan Gilbert and Louisville outfielder Josh Stowers in the first two rounds on Monday, Seattle continued adding established college players with all eight of its picks on Tuesday.

SEATTLE -- Looking to bolster their upper Minor League levels with a strong infusion of young talent, the Mariners hit the college ranks hard on Day 2 of the MLB Draft on Tuesday.

After selecting Stetson right-hander Logan Gilbert and Louisville outfielder Josh Stowers in the first two rounds on Monday, Seattle continued adding established college players with all eight of its picks on Tuesday.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Mariners Draft pick

The Mariners tabbed four more pitchers as well as two promising catchers, an outfielder and shortstop on the second day.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Scouting director Scott Hunter said the high school players the club was interested in went off the board early, but the college players fit well with the organization's desire to add talent capable of moving quickly up the system.

"We're trying to create waves of talent, and hopefully these kids will start jelling together," he said. "It does solidify the middle of our organization a little. Because we were so thin, we looked to build up from the college ranks so [Class A Advanced] Modesto and Double-A [Arkansas] get a little more stable. It does give you comfort if you build up the foundation of an organization and then you can start swinging for the fences a little."

Mariners draft Stetson righty Gilbert at No. 14

Hunter said eight of the 10 players have already committed to signing and he's hopeful the other two come to terms once their collegiate seasons end.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 9 a.m. PT.

Here are Tuesday's selections:

Round 3: C Cal Raleigh, Florida State
The 21-year-old is an intriguing catching prospect as a switch-hitter with power and a high on-base percentage. Raleigh posted a .326/.447/.583 slash line at FSU with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs in 62 games this season and was a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection.

At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Raleigh has good size and has been extremely durable as a three-year starter for the Seminoles. He is regarded as a good pitch framer who still needs work behind the plate to develop his defensive skills. But he's a good enough athlete to have been a basketball standout as well at Smokey Mountain High in Cullowhee, N.C., where he was the conference player of the year and led his team to regional championships in back-to-back years.

Raleigh comes from a baseball family. His father, Todd, played at Western Carolina before signing with the Red Sox and serving as the head coach at Western Carolina (2000-07) and Tennessee (2008-11). His uncle, Matt, was a 14th round Draft pick of the Expos and played 10 seasons in the Minors.

Round 4: LH Michael Plassmeyer, Missouri
The 6-foot-2 junior left-hander emerged as Missouri's top pitcher this season, going 5-4 with a 3.06 ERA with 103 strikeouts and 17 walks in 91 1/3 innings over 14 starts. While not a power arm with a fastball in the 87-90 range, the 21-year-old has outstanding control and a high spin rate that helped him rack up 199 strikeouts with just 35 walks over three collegiate seasons.

The Mariners have an inside connection with Plassmeyer as he worked with current bullpen coach Brian DeLunas at Premier Pitching and Performance in his native St. Louis before DeLunas took a job on Seattle's coaching staff this season.

Plassmeyer's older brother, Mitch, is a pitcher for Bradley University and they both worked out at DeLunas' facility last summer. After a disappointing sophomore season where he posted a 4.83 ERA and lost his starting role in midseason, Plassmeyer improved his velocity several miles per hour and looks like a lefty on the upswing. In three years at Missouri, his ERA dropped each year from 5.12 to 4.83 to 3.06 and his opponent batting average went from .350 to .285 to .249.

Round 5: RH Nolan Hoffman, Texas A&M
The side-arming reliever broke out with a big junior season after transferring from Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College, going 3-1 with a school-record-tying 14 saves and a 1.15 ERA in 33 outings for the Aggies. The 6-foot-4 right-hander had 53 strikeouts and 12 walks in 55 innings and he was one of 20 finalists for the 2018 Pitcher of the Year award from the College Baseball Foundation.

Hoffman, 20, was a starter at Hutchinson CC and set a school record with 168 strikeouts in 160 innings in his two seasons. He was 8-1 with a 3.43 ERA in 13 starts as a sophomore.

But Hoffman was struggling early at Texas A&M until coach Rob Childress suggested he try a submarine-style delivery in the fall. He wound up quickly developing that style with a fastball in the 89-92 range to go with a slider and changeup that allowed him success against both right- and left-handed hitters.

Round 6: Joey O'Brien, RHP, College of Southern Nevada
O'Brien grew up in Japan, where his father took up residence after being stationed in Okinawa in his long military career, but O'Brien moved to the United States to live with an uncle while playing baseball the past two years for the junior college in Henderson, Nev.

The 20-year-old was a two-way standout for the Coyotes, posting a .330/.457/.549 line with nine homers and 52 RBIs in 57 games as an outfielder this season. But the Mariners drafted him as a pitcher after he went 6-4 with a 2.61 ERA with 69 strikeouts and 16 walks in 51 2/3 innings in 17 games and showed a fastball up to 94 mph.

O'Brien has signed a letter of intent to play for Hawaii.

Round 7: Jake Anchia, C, Nova Southeastern University (Fla.)
The 21-year-old catcher has some pop in his bat, hitting .340/.402/.713 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs in 51 games this past season as a junior. The Miami native is 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and he was a four-year letterwinner at Archbishop McCarthy High where he helped his team win three state titles.

He hit eight home runs his first year at Nova Southeastern to break the school's freshman record of five set in 2007 by Tigers standout J.D. Martinez and he followed up by batting .326 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs as a sophomore.

Round 8: RH Joey Gerber, Illinois
Expected by many to land in the fourth to fifth rounds, the 21-year-old fell to the Mariners and they happily added another strong-armed college reliever to their mix. Gerber never started a game in college, but he features a 92-96 mph fastball and sharp slider that proved effective out of the 'pen.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander is a three-time All-Big-10 Academic selection as an accounting major and his numbers added up this year for the Illini bullpen as well, when he struck out 45 with 14 walks in 28 2/3 innings with a 3.14 ERA and a school-record-tying 14 saves in 14 opportunities.

Round 9: CF Keegan McGovern, Georgia
McGovern was the first fourth-year senior selected by Seattle and he brings a left-handed power bat, hitting .319/.431/.644 with 18 homers and 50 RBIs in 58 games this season while earning first-team All-SEC honors.

The Mariners are listing McGovern as a center fielder, though he played primarily left field as a four-year starter at Georgia. The 22-year-old also became the first Bulldog to be named the SEC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year since current Mariners infielder Gordon Beckham in 2008. He's a biology major who also was a two-time selection to the SEC Community Service Team.

Round 10: SS Matt Sanders, Troy University
Seattle's second fourth-year senior selection is a speedy 21-year-old who hit .378/.463/.538 with five home runs, 26 stolen bases and an NCAA Division I-leading 90 runs in 63 games this season. At 5-foot-8, 175 pounds, Sanders doesn't bring a lot of power, but he has good range and is a strong defender in the middle infield.

The Alabama native finished his senior season with more walks (44) than strikeouts (33) and hiked his OBP from .380 as a junior to .463.

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

Seattle Mariners

Mariners draft Stetson righty Gilbert at No. 14

'This kid fit every checkpoint of a pitcher we'd want to select,' Hunter says
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Logan Gilbert became the highest pick ever out of Stetson University when the Mariners grabbed him with the 14th selection in the first round of Monday's MLB Draft, but that doesn't mean his school hasn't produced some standouts in the past.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Mariners Draft pick

SEATTLE -- Logan Gilbert became the highest pick ever out of Stetson University when the Mariners grabbed him with the 14th selection in the first round of Monday's MLB Draft, but that doesn't mean his school hasn't produced some standouts in the past.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Mariners Draft pick

If Gilbert comes anywhere near a couple other Stetson right-handers -- Corey Kluber of the Indians and Jacob deGrom of the Mets -- the Mariners will be plenty happy.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

The Mariners landed center fielder Josh Stowers, a speedster out of University of Louisville, with their second-round selection. The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 9:30 a.m. PT, with exclusive coverage beginning at 10 a.m. PT.

"This is awesome," Gilbert said after his name was called by the Mariners. "This is everything I ever dreamed of, all the way since I started playing baseball. It finally happened. But this isn't the end. This is just the beginning. I'm ready to get to work now."

The 21-year-old junior still has a little work still to do at Stetson, however, for a team headed to the NCAA Super Regionals this weekend to play North Carolina. Gilbert has gone 11-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 15 starts this year, with 157 strikeouts and 23 walks in 107 innings and was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year.

Scott Hunter, the Mariners director of amateur scouting, said there's a lot to like about the 6-foot-6 right-hander, who is less than two semesters shy of graduating with a degree in business systems and analytics from the private school of about 3,000 students in DeLand, Fla.

"In the Cape Cod League he was throwing 94-97 mph with an easy fastball," Hunter said. "He's tall, athletic, with a loose, easy arm. He's got four pitches and throws a ton of strikes. And if you look at his stat line over the last three years, he misses bats. That's something we value here. This kid fit every checkpoint of a pitcher we'd want to select and we were pleasantly surprised he was still sitting there."

Hunter said Gilbert was ranked in the top 3-4 players in the Draft last summer by many scouts in the Mariners organization after his Cape Cod showing. But eyebrows raised -- and some other Major League teams backed off a bit -- when his velocity began dipping midway through his collegiate season.

Gilbert said he just tired a bit from the long year on the mound, but bounced back after a week's rest and is topping out again now at 95 mph with his fastball. Hunter credited Rob Mummau, the Mariners' area scout in Southwest Florida, for staying on top of Gilbert's progress and recognizing that he was quickly back to form.

"He's been pitching lights-out the past month," Hunter said. "We actually started getting worried he might [get selected] before us, but there were a couple surprise picks with some high school hitters that we didn't expect to go that pushed Logan down to us. We're pretty excited to get this kind of arm where we did."

Video: Draft 2018: Mariners draft RHP Logan Gilbert No. 14

Once Stetson's season is done, Gilbert sounds ready to sign, and Hunter said he'd likely initially pitch in the Arizona Rookie League and perhaps with Class A Everett, though much depends on the amount of work accumulated since he's already thrown 107 innings this college season.

"That was something we discussed with his advisor," Hunter said of signing. "Once they're done playing, that was part of the agreement verbally. They are in a regional, but once he's done playing, I would like to think he'll be in a Mariner uniform and up here quite quickly."

Gilbert said he wasn't highly recruited out of high school, where he was a 4.0 student at Wekiva High in Apopka, Fla., so he jumped at the chance to go to Stetson, which has a tradition of producing top pitchers. Kluber was a fourth-round pick by the Padres in 2007 and deGrom was a ninth-rounder by the Mets in '10.

Tweet from @Mariners: Crunch time.Take a peek inside Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Hunter's draft room. #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/Y6p4XQ8ejF

Over three seasons at Stetson, Gilbert posted a 23-2 record with a 2.38 ERA in 51 games, including 32 starts.

The Mariners hadn't drafted a pitcher in the first round since 2011, when they took Virginia's Danny Hultzen with the second overall pick.

Seattle went for an impact position player with its second-round pick as Stowers is a 6-foot, 205-pounder who stole 36 bases this season while posting a .336/.477/.559 line with nine home runs in 62 games as a junior at Louisville.

Video: Draft 2018: Mariners draft CF Josh Stowers No. 54

"Josh becomes another one of the athletes we're putting into the system," Hunter said. "He's a top-of-the-scale speed guy who has some power. A very athletic guy who controls the strike zone. He walks more than he strikes out, has power and is a gamer. We're very excited to add another athlete to the program."

Stowers got off to a slow start in his junior year, but Hunter said his stock rose quickly once his offensive game took off again after a strong Cape Cod showing as well.

The 21-year-old has already agreed to sign with Seattle and Hunter expects him to be at the team's post-Draft minicamp next week in Arizona and to start the season in Everett.

Hunter said both first-day picks have plenty of room for continued development.

"Having this type of athlete and this kind of upside in college players, who are both on the younger side of the college age, we're excited about it," he said. "Hopefully they can start pushing Evan White and Kyle Lewis [the first-round picks the previous two years] and get in that mix where we start building waves of talent that every year we have guys coming and can eventually help our Major League team."

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

Seattle Mariners

Mariners might take college hurler in 1st round

Club selected collegiate pitchers with six of first 10 picks in '17
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- After making numerous trades and dealing with injuries to some of their top prospects, the Mariners will look to bolster their farm system depth when they take part in the MLB Draft.

SEATTLE -- After making numerous trades and dealing with injuries to some of their top prospects, the Mariners will look to bolster their farm system depth when they take part in the MLB Draft.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3 p.m. PT. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 9:30 a.m. PT. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at 9 a.m. PT.

Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying. Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Mariners, whose first selection is the 14th overall pick.

In about 50 words
General manager Jerry Dipoto prefers to tap college talent with his top picks and that trend likely will continue when Seattle selects in Monday's first round. The Mariners are thin on top-level prospects, but love the athleticism of their last two first rounders -- outfielder Kyle Lewis and first baseman Evan White. Now they need to keep those two healthy after some injury issues and add to the mix.

The scoop
This will be Scott Hunter's second season leading the Mariners' Draft as their director of amateur scouting. The Mariners tabbed college pitchers with six of their first 10 picks last year and could follow a similar patch this time, particularly after trading youngsters like Nick Neidert, Andrew Moore, Luiz Gohara and Ryan Yarbrough in the past two years.

First-round buzz
Callis projected the Mariners to take left-handed pitcher Ryan Rolison from Mississippi with their first-round selection in his latest mock draft. Callis agrees that the Mariners are targeting college pitchers, with Stetson right-hander Logan Gilbert, Florida right-hander Jackson Kowar and South Florida left-hander Shane McClanahan also possible. If the Mariners opt for a college hitters, Oregon State outfielder Trevor Larnach is a possibility.

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $125,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

This year, the Mariners have a pool of $7,555,200 to spend in the first 10 rounds, including $3,883,800 to spend on their first selection.

Shopping list
The common theme of "best available athlete" rings truer than ever for the Mariners, with Dipoto looking to build up a farm system that he used heavily to acquire more advanced Major League-ready players the past two years. Pitching tops the list, but Seattle will look to add catching depth and could use young help in the pipeline across the infield as well.

Trend watch
During Dipoto's first two Drafts for Seattle, the Mariners took nine college players in the top 10, but used the second-round to tab a promising prep prospect and saved money elsewhere to sign those players above their slot value. Last year it was pitcher Sam Carlson out of Minnesota after tabbing third baseman Joe Rizzo in 2016. Carlson is Seattle's No. 3 prospect, though he's dealt with arm issues since being selected. Rizzo is playing third base for Advanced-A Modesto as a 20-year-old.

RECENT DRAFT HISTORY

Rising fast
Two relievers drafted last season by the Mariners are opening eyes already at Modesto in the Cal League. Wyatt Mills, a third-round pick out of Gonzaga, has already moved up to No. 10 on Seattle's prospect list, per MLB Pipeline. Seth Elledge, a fourth-rounder from Dallas Baptist, is currently at No. 18. Both have been used in the closer role for Modesto and Elledge has a 1.33 ERA in 16 outings, while Mills is at 3.00 in 17 appearances.

Cinderella story
Art Warren was a 23rd-round pick out of Ashland University in 2015, but broke through with a big season last year and a powerful showing in the Arizona Fall League. The big right-hander is No. 8 on Seattle's MLB Pipeline prospect list and currently pitching at Double-A Arkansas, where he put up a 2.00 ERA and a pair of saves in seven outings. Warren is currently on the DL with some arm soreness, but is expected back soon.

In The Show
Because Dipoto has made so many trades since arriving in Seattle, only four of the players on the current 25-man roster were initially drafted by the Mariners -- third baseman Kyle Seager (third round, 2009), left-hander James Paxton (fourth round, 2010), catcher Mike Zunino (first round, 2012) and reliever Dan Altavilla (fifth round, 2014).

The Mariners' recent top picks
2017: Evan White, 1B (Advanced-A Modesto). 2016: Kyle Lewis, OF (Modesto). 2015: Nick Neidert, RHP (Double-A Jackson with Marlins). 2014: Alex Jackson, C (Double-A Mississippi with Braves).2013: D.J. Peterson, 3B (Triple-A Louisville with Reds).

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

Seattle Mariners

Inbox: Vogelbach's hot bat makes 1B hot topic

Mariners beat reporter Greg Johns responds to questions from fans
MLB.com

Is manager Scott Servais still planning to use Ryon Healy as the Mariners' primary first baseman, with Daniel Vogelbach as occasional backup? Though it's a small sample, it seems that it would be better to go with the hot bat a bit more often.
-- Wes O., Bellevue, Wash.

Six games into the season, Healy remains the primary first-base option despite his slow start at the plate. He's played well defensively, and no team changes its playing-time decisions based on one week of at-bats. That said, Vogelbach clearly is making a case for increased opportunities if he keeps hitting as he's done since the start of spring, and his production is being noted.

Is manager Scott Servais still planning to use Ryon Healy as the Mariners' primary first baseman, with Daniel Vogelbach as occasional backup? Though it's a small sample, it seems that it would be better to go with the hot bat a bit more often.
-- Wes O., Bellevue, Wash.

Six games into the season, Healy remains the primary first-base option despite his slow start at the plate. He's played well defensively, and no team changes its playing-time decisions based on one week of at-bats. That said, Vogelbach clearly is making a case for increased opportunities if he keeps hitting as he's done since the start of spring, and his production is being noted.

The one upside of Nelson Cruz's ankle sprain is it's allowing Vogelbach a chance to show if he can rake in regular-season games as well as he fills in at designated hitter. So far, he's taken advantage.

What is the likelihood that Felix Hernandez has a renaissance like Justin Verlander had last year?
-- Chris O., Nooksack, Wash.

That's the $1 million -- or $27 million -- question, it seems. We've seen the good Felix and bad Felix in his two outings so far. The Mariners would surely settle for a Felix somewhere in the middle. If he can be a solid starter all season -- something like the guy who put up a 3.82 ERA in 25 starts in 2016 -- their rotation looks a lot better. If he stays healthy and pitches smart, using his offspeed weapons like he did in the opener, I certainly think that's possible.

Is there a reason we are now seeing Juan Nicasio in the eighth instead of Nick Vincent? They're both right-handers, so I don't see it as a matchup situation.
-- Rick A., Puyallup, Wash.

General manager Jerry Dipoto signed Nicasio because he was one of the most effective setup men in the Majors last year, and the plan all along was to use him, Vincent and David Phelps in a rotating fashion as the late-inning bridge to closer Edwin Diaz. Phelps' injury changed that, and Nicasio hasn't looked sharp yet, but they'd like him to be the eighth-inning guy when possible and take some of the burden off Vincent, who has been outstanding the last two years when he hasn't been overworked.

Why is there an off-day in the middle of these early-season series?
-- Ian O., Bozeman, Mont.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement added three or four off-days to each team's schedule, which meant starting the season earlier than ever before. At the same time, MLB decided it wanted to have every team to open on the same day, Thursday, March 29.

Teams with a three-game Opening Series were then given an off-day Friday as a built-in weather day, in case the opener needed to be rescheduled. That didn't make a lot of sense in Seattle's case, given Safeco Field has a roof, but it wouldn't have made sense to skip a Saturday or Sunday home game either.

Same thing happened this week in Minnesota, where the Twins had their home opener Thursday and the "potential makeup" day on Friday. There have been many weather-related cancellations around MLB the first week, so that cushion day was needed. But it did make for an odd start for Seattle, with three off-days in the first nine days of the schedule.

How is Erasmo Ramirez doing, and what will the Mariners do with their rotation next week when the schedule really picks up?
-- Cory S., Spokane, Wash.

Ramirez threw 30 pitches in a simulated game on Tuesday with Triple-A Tacoma as he returns from a strained right lat muscle, and he could make a short appearance in a Minor League game this weekend. But he'll need a couple of outings to build up to where he can start for the Mariners, so Ariel Miranda is on track to be promoted when a fifth starter is needed for the first time on Wednesday in Kansas City.

I suspect Miranda will be given at least two starts in the rotation before Ramirez is ready and, at that point, they'll see who is healthy and how well everyone is throwing before making any decisions.

Do you think as an organization, the Mariners have made up their minds to move Robinson Cano, Cruz and Hernandez if they are out of contention by mid-summer?
-- Lonnie G., Olympia, Wash.

Everyone seems to love pondering this question, but the reality is Cano will be 36 and have five years and $120 million remaining on his deal after this year, and Hernandez has another year at $27 million, so those contracts are virtually impossible to trade for any kind of worthwhile return. It's not about the players, but the contracts, which is why teams are increasingly reluctant to dish out long-term deals to free agents in their 30s.

Cruz is a different story since he'll be a free agent after this season, but the Mariners would have to be well out of contention to move him, and that's certainly not in their plans at the moment.

Can James Paxton speak to eagles?
-- Jenson, Napoleon, Ohio

The Big Maple clearly has the right temperament to deal with eagles, Orioles and Blue Jays, not to mention Tigers, Rays, Diamondbacks or any other kinds of wildlife. That truly was the most amazing pregame moment I've seen.

Is there any further word on the timeline for Mike Zunino's return?
-- Steven, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Some initial thought that their catcher could be back with the team by this weekend in Minnesota has been curtailed, in large part by the reality that pushing a strained oblique muscle too soon in 30-degree weather wouldn't be wise.

Barring any setbacks, Zunino might be able to rejoin the club to start the next homestand on April 13, though that still would be a pretty quick return after just 2 1/2 weeks. Much will depend on how he feels once he gets cleared for rehab games.

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

Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Ryon Healy, Felix Hernandez, Juan Nicasio, James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez, Nick Vincent, Daniel Vogelbach, Mike Zunino

Vogelbach makes Mariners' roster as backup

Seattle options Miranda to Triple-A, reassigns Gosewisch, Vincej, Cook to Minors
MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With Ichiro Suzuki's status up in the air due to a lingering calf issue, the Mariners haven't yet set their 25-man roster for Thursday's season opener against the Indians. But first-base prospect Daniel Vogelbach was told Sunday that he's made the Opening Day roster and will be used as a backup to starter Ryon Healy.

The Mariners optioned left-hander Ariel Miranda to Triple-A Tacoma and also reassigned catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, infielder Zach Vincej and reliever Ryan Cook to the Minor Leagues, leaving 31 players in camp. The final roster decisions are being held back because of uncertainty over Ichiro's health; he's been able to play just four games since signing on March 7 due to a calf issue.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- With Ichiro Suzuki's status up in the air due to a lingering calf issue, the Mariners haven't yet set their 25-man roster for Thursday's season opener against the Indians. But first-base prospect Daniel Vogelbach was told Sunday that he's made the Opening Day roster and will be used as a backup to starter Ryon Healy.

The Mariners optioned left-hander Ariel Miranda to Triple-A Tacoma and also reassigned catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, infielder Zach Vincej and reliever Ryan Cook to the Minor Leagues, leaving 31 players in camp. The final roster decisions are being held back because of uncertainty over Ichiro's health; he's been able to play just four games since signing on March 7 due to a calf issue.

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Vogelbach, the club's No. 11 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, was understandably thrilled to receive his good news.

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"I feel really good about it," said the 25-year-old, who has opened eyes by hitting .400 with seven doubles and six homers in 50 at-bats. "It's pretty cool making your first Opening Day [roster]. I've said from the start this is a really good group of guys in here, and I'm just happy I get to compete with them."

Manager Scott Servais said he doesn't want Vogelbach to sit after his strong spring. He'll give Vogelbach an occasional start at first base against right-handed starters and use him as possible off the bench, though pinch-hitting opportunities are limited in the American League.

"You want to get Vogey a start here or there," Servais said. "We will see a lot of right-handed pitching. You don't want to take all the momentum and just go to a dead stop where he doesn't play. So we'll try to get him a start here or there early on."

Vogelbach had an opportunity to earn a platoon role at first base last spring with Danny Valencia, but he struggled in camp and was sent to Triple-A. This year he said he was much more relaxed and just played his game, and the results landed him on the roster.

Video: SEA@LAA: Vogelbach crushes solo homer to right field

"Obviously, last year getting sent down, that's not the feeling you want to feel," Vogelbach said. "This year was a totally different feel. I'm happy that things paid off, but this is just one step from where I want to go with it.

"I'm going to do everything I can to help this team, because I think we can win a lot of games," Vogelbach said. "Whatever my part is, whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."

Though he hadn't been informed yet, utility man Andrew Romine is also going to be kept on the final roster, as Servais said he'll be used as a backup to keep other starters fresh.

The Mariners will open with 12 pitchers, including an eight-man bullpen, but they can carry an extra position player initially. They'll only need four starters for the first 10 games of the season, due to off-days.

Barring late additions, it appears the bullpen will consist of Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, Dan Altavilla, Marc Rzepczynski, James Pazos, Casey Lawrence and new addition Wade LeBlanc.

If Ichiro isn't ready, Guillermo Heredia will be the starter in left field and hit in the No. 9 spot, which is where Ichiro had been set to bat. Veteran Kirk Nieuwenhuis remains in camp as a non-roster invitee and could open the year on the team if Ichiro is on the disabled list.

"We're trying to figure out where we're at with a couple guys still in camp," Servais said. "We'll probably hold right until the end. We need to see where Ichiro is, health-wise. That's the main concern right now."

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

Seattle Mariners, Daniel Vogelbach

Miller learning speed game from Dee, Ichiro

Mariners' No. 17 prospect finds himself among his idols
MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- For young Mariners outfield prospect Ian Miller, two dreams came true this spring. For starters, he was invited to his first Major League camp and had a chance to learn and glean from guys who've made it to where he wants to go.

But to top it off, a pair of the Mariners' veterans he was watching and learning from just happened to be Dee Gordon and Ichiro Suzuki, two guys he grew up emulating because they play the same speed game he employs.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- For young Mariners outfield prospect Ian Miller, two dreams came true this spring. For starters, he was invited to his first Major League camp and had a chance to learn and glean from guys who've made it to where he wants to go.

But to top it off, a pair of the Mariners' veterans he was watching and learning from just happened to be Dee Gordon and Ichiro Suzuki, two guys he grew up emulating because they play the same speed game he employs.

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For his first month in camp, Miller leaned on Gordon, one of the best bunters and basestealers in the Majors. And when Ichiro was added to the mix two weeks ago, well, that was the icing on the cake.

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"He was my favorite player growing up," Miller said. "I watched from his rookie year in 2001, there's a compilation on YouTube of all the infield hits he has. I couldn't tell you how many times I watched that video, just seeing him be able to do that. And at the time, that's the kind of hitter I was, all infield hits. If he could do it, why couldn't I do it?

"That's kind of how everything was built for me, so it's just amazing to watch. Especially now in person. I was in the same locker room as Dee Gordon and Ichiro, so it's kind of like my life is made pretty much. Two of my favorite players are here, and I can try to pick their brains as much as I can and try to play just like them."

Miller, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Mariners' No. 17 prospect, was reassigned to Minor League camp last week, though he's continued to be used in Cactus League games. On the spring, he's hit .259 with five RBIs and three stolen bases in 27 at-bats.

Video: SD@SEA: Miller brings home Ford with a single

After being named the Mariners' Minor League Hitter of the Year last season after batting .307 with 43 stolen bases and 85 runs at Double-A Arkansas and a late-season stint with Triple-A Tacoma, the 26-year-old knows speed remains his strongest weapon, and he's worked harder than ever to refine that tool this spring.

He quickly attached himself to Gordon when the Mariners' new leadoff man arrived at camp, and the two could frequently be seen practicing bunts together after everyone else finished hitting.

"He's helped me tremendously, probably more than I would have expected," Miller said. "Just little stuff like defense. He's new to the outfield, and he was teaching me a lot of things. Bunting, stuff at the plate, routine, what to do to get ready every day at the cage and on the field. It's extremely beneficial to have him around.

"We worked on bunting quite a few times. He's just a wizard with the bat. The way he goes about it and practices it, it's game-like all the time. So when he gets in a game, it's easy to slow down. The bunt really worked for me this past year, and I thought I worked hard at it, but I didn't work nearly as hard as he works on it. So it was kind of an eye-opener."

Miller said one of the best experiences of his camp was being accepted so readily by the veterans. Gordon, who was already friends with Ichiro from their time together in Miami the past three years, took Miller over to introduce him to the future Hall of Famer the first day Ichiro arrived.

And Miller acknowledged he's had a hard time taking his eyes off the 44-year-old whenever he can watch him work in the cage or in the field.

"Just seeing guys like that who are speed guys, who can get bunts down and steal bags, they get paid for doing that," he said with a smile. "It tells me like, 'Hey man, maybe you can do that, too, one day, and get paid for doing that.' It gives you hope and confidence. And for them to be great people on top of that is just special."

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

Seattle Mariners, Dee Gordon, Ian Miller, Ichiro Suzuki

Whalen sent down, opening door for Miranda

Iwakuma feeling 'great' with bullpen session scheduled
MLB.com

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Rob Whalen was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma prior to the Mariners' 8-4 loss to the Angels on Monday, clearing the way for Ariel Miranda to likely fill Seattle's fifth starter position to open the season.

Miranda is one of the five healthy starters still in camp, though he likely won't begin the year on the 25-man roster either, since the Mariners won't need a fifth starter until April 11 due to early off-days on the schedule.

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Rob Whalen was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma prior to the Mariners' 8-4 loss to the Angels on Monday, clearing the way for Ariel Miranda to likely fill Seattle's fifth starter position to open the season.

Miranda is one of the five healthy starters still in camp, though he likely won't begin the year on the 25-man roster either, since the Mariners won't need a fifth starter until April 11 due to early off-days on the schedule.

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Spring Training information

But with Erasmo Ramirez just starting to throw again after missing a month with a strained right lat, manager Scott Servais acknowledged that Miranda -- who went 8-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 31 games, including 29 starts last year -- has the upper hand in taking those starts when the time comes.

"Miranda has done it before," Servais said. "He's the guy with the experience. He's the guy that will probably get the first shot at coming up and filling that spot."

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Whalen walked away in midseason last July while with Triple-A Tacoma to deal with depression and anxiety issues, but opened eyes with a strong Cactus League showing until allowing nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits in a 16-3 loss Sunday vs. the Indians.

"It had nothing to do with yesterday's outing, just to be clear on that," Servais said of Whalen's departure. "It was on the docket for him to be sent out and keep him going in the right direction. It's a really good story with an outstanding Spring Training for him.

"He's certainly got something to feel good about and build on. We are going to need him. He will help us at some point this year."

Video: SF@SEA: Whalen on his curveball, Mariners' staff

Iwakuma making significant progress

Hisashi Iwakuma threw 10 pitches off the front of the mound for the first time since his October shoulder surgery and is targeted now for a full bullpen session Sunday as he works toward a possible return in the first few months of the regular season.

"I felt great," Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. "I didn't have to worry about the shoulder in general. That's always a good sign. Better than I was expecting. I can't recall when I felt that good, probably a year ago in Spring Training."

Iwakuma hasn't pitched in a big league game since May 3 and is eager to return, but isn't allowing himself to get too caught up in that just yet.

"As a whole, I think about that a lot," he said. "But right now. I'm just worried about making good steps, one at a time."

Injury updates

Ichiro Suzuki, who played just three Cactus League games before straining his right calf, got 11 plate appearances in Minor League games Monday and had three hits, a walk and five strikeouts.

Nelson Cruz (right quad) and Robinson Cano (left hamstring) took batting practice again and are targeted to return Wednesday when the Mariners host the Brewers. Ichiro could also return Wednesday, though Servais said he'll be cautious with the 44-year-old and could hold him out until Thursday if he's not 100 percent ready.

Position competition

First baseman Ryon Healy also got extra at-bats in the Minor League games Monday, and Servais said the 26-year-old appears on target to be fully healthy by Opening Day. Healy, who had surgery to remove a bone spur from his right hand Feb. 14, has played in two Cactus League games and gone 2-for-5 with a double.

Daniel Vogelbach, who homered Monday and has hit extremely well all spring, but Servais reiterated that Healy was acquired to be the everyday first baseman and "that's the plan if he's healthy and ready to go."

Video: SEA@LAA: Vogelbach crushes solo homer to right field

The Mariners could open the season with two first basemen since they'll only need four starting pitchers in the first 10 days, but ultimately it could be difficult to find a spot for Vogelbach on the roster if everyone remains healthy.

Up next

Following Tuesday's off-day, the Mariners resume Cactus League play Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. PT against the Brewers at Peoria Stadium, with Mike Leake getting the start in a game available on MLB.TV.

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

Seattle Mariners, Rob Whalen

Relief prospect Warren among 5 roster cuts

Morin, Armstrong, Andreoli, Freitas also sent to Minor League camp
MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With Opening Day now just 11 days away, the Mariners trimmed their Major League camp to 39 players on Sunday, sending five players to the Minor League side, including promising relief prospect Art Warren and backup catching contender David Freitas.

Warren, the Mariners' No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, will likely open the season at Double-A Arkansas after pitching last season for Class A Advanced Modesto, according to manager Scott Servais.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- With Opening Day now just 11 days away, the Mariners trimmed their Major League camp to 39 players on Sunday, sending five players to the Minor League side, including promising relief prospect Art Warren and backup catching contender David Freitas.

Warren, the Mariners' No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, will likely open the season at Double-A Arkansas after pitching last season for Class A Advanced Modesto, according to manager Scott Servais.

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Also sent down were right-handed relievers Mike Morin and Shawn Armstrong and outfielder John Andreoli. Freitas was the only one of the five on the 40-man roster, so he was technically optioned to Triple-A Tacoma, while the others were re-assigned to Minor League camp.

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The decision on Freitas leaves the backup catching job behind starter Mike Zunino to Mike Marjama, though Tuffy Gosewisch also remains in camp.

"We want to give Marjama a chance to catch more regularly here this last week, he and Zunino back and forth," Servais said." It was a good competition. I like a lot of things that Freitas brings. We just think Marjama has had a better spring to this point."

It's possible the club could still pursue a trade or waiver pickup as other teams make their final cuts. Carlos Perez of the Angels is out of Minor League options and he is a catcher with some Major League experience who figures to be available. The 27-year-old was acquired by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto while he was with the Angels in 2015 and Perez has played 184 games over the past three years with the Halos.

Three of the remaining 39 players in camp figure to open the year on the disabled list -- right-handed starters Erasmo Ramirez and Hisashi Iwakuma and left fielder Ben Gamel. So essentially there are still 36 players competing for the final 25-man roster spots when the season opens on March 29 against the Indians at Safeco Field.

The Mariners likely will open the season with an eight-man bullpen and just four starters due to three off days in the first nine days, and that picture is clarifying with just 10 relievers still in camp.

Video: CLE@SEA: Nicasio fans Chisenhall to start the 5th

The remaining relievers are right-handers Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, David Phelps, Dan Altavilla, Casey Lawrence, Chasen Bradford and Ryan Cook and lefties Marc Rzepczynski and James Pazos.

Warren never was projected to make the club, but he took advantage of his opportunity to open some eyes.

"The last couple outings he had maybe a little of the dead arm, a young player who was juiced up early," Servais said. "Maybe not quite as sharp as he was early, but I thought he showed very well in this camp."

Armstrong, a 27-year-old acquired from the Indians in December, has gone the opposite direction as he's been able to build up arm strength after a slow start and threw a pair of scoreless innings in Saturday's 4-1 win over the A's in Mesa.

Both Armstrong and Morin -- who'd been claimed off waivers from the Royals in December -- cleared waivers recently to move them off the 40-man roster, but were kept in the organization.

Video: SF@SEA: Armstrong earns save with help from Vincej

"I think [Armstrong's] arm is starting to get back to where it was when we acquired him," Servais said. "It was down early in camp. There's a reason we thought at that point in getting him off the roster. Both he and Morin were out of options, so you kind of have to play the roster game there a little bit. We're glad to have them both in our organization. I think they'll definitely help us at some point, but right now where we're at going forward, we'll stick with the crew we've got now."

Andreoli's departure leaves the Mariners with six outfielders, including Gamel. That group likely will be trimmed to four, with Dee Gordon, Mitch Haniger, Ichiro Suzuki and Guillermo Heredia the likely crew. But Kirk Nieuwenhuis, a 30-year-old with 414 games of big league experience, also remains in camp.

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

Seattle Mariners, Shawn Armstrong, Art Warren

Warren's talent, demeanor 'very impressive'

Hard-throwing prospect opening eyes as he ascends through system
MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Every year it seems the Mariners manage to uncover a previously unheralded, hard-throwing young reliever ready to rise quickly through the system. And this spring's candidate could well be big Art Warren, a strapping 24-year-old who has opened eyes with his mature presence and upper-90s fastball.

Warren is another converted reliever -- similar to previous success stories Edwin Diaz and Dan Altavilla -- who had a breakthrough second half last year in Class-A Advanced Modesto in his first full season out of the bullpen.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Every year it seems the Mariners manage to uncover a previously unheralded, hard-throwing young reliever ready to rise quickly through the system. And this spring's candidate could well be big Art Warren, a strapping 24-year-old who has opened eyes with his mature presence and upper-90s fastball.

Warren is another converted reliever -- similar to previous success stories Edwin Diaz and Dan Altavilla -- who had a breakthrough second half last year in Class-A Advanced Modesto in his first full season out of the bullpen.

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After being drafted in the 23rd round in 2015 out of Division II Ashland University in Ohio, Warren was getting decent results in Low-A ball as a starter with an 88-92 mph fastball. But he quickly worked himself into the closer's role for Modesto and then was lights out after getting invited to the Arizona Fall League.

"Very impressive," manager Scott Servais said. "This is a guy who kind of figured it out the second half of the season last year. He was dominant in helping Modesto win the Cal League, he goes into the Fall League and didn't give up a run. That's when I started to pay attention."

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Warren has been slowed this spring by a sore right hip flexor, but made his debut on Tuesday and while he allowed a pair of singles, the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder struck out the other three batters he faced, including his final victim on a 99 mph fastball on the corner.

Warren followed that with a 1-2-3 ninth in Saturday's 5-2 victory over the Reds.

"He's got weapons," Servais said. "He doesn't just throw hard. He's got a real slider and curveball in there. I like the demeanor and makeup. He's physical and it looks like he could hold up over the course of a long season."

Video: SEA@CIN: Warren induces a groundout to earn the save

Warren said his velocity has increased in part because he's no longer pacing himself as a starter, but also because he's gotten bigger and stronger during the past year after coming to Arizona in the 2017 offseason to commit fully to his career.

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"Honestly, when I moved out here to work out, giving up time with my family and girlfriend coming off my first pro season, my mentality changed," the Ohio native said. "I knew I had to do something different, I had to push myself more to get where I want to be. There's that age-old saying, when you're done playing you don't want to ask yourself, 'What if?' So, that was my thought process. And I got bigger, stronger and my velo ticked up."

So did his development status as he's elevated now to the Mariners' No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline and has clearly caught the Mariners' attention.

Having never pitched above Class-A ball, he still has a long path. He says he's just "soaking everything up like a big sponge" this spring from the veterans in camp, keeping the same approach he brought to the Fall League when he went in with eyes wide open and then opened other's eyes with his own performance.

Video: COL@SEA: Warren strands runners on the corners

"It took up until the All-Star break in Modesto for things to kind of click," he said. "I was working on being quick to the plate and a slide step, kind of overanalyzing myself and my mechanics. I got back to what worked for me and got comfortable in my own shoes and trusting my work ethic. I changed a little of my routine and preparation into each outing, and it just steamrolled.

"Good outings just kept piling up and before I knew it we were in the championship. It's tough because you don't want to think too much into it when you're on a streak, so it's just a blur, a cloud of smoke; you just keep riding through it. You don't change what you're doing, you just roll with what's working.

"So I carried that into the Fall League," he said. "Going to play with all those top-prospect guys and I'm just a smaller D-2 guy. I went in there with open ears, same mentality as I have here, and learned from those guys. It's all just a really good experience."

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

Seattle Mariners, Art Warren