SEATTLE -- Even before the proposed Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz trade to the Mets could be finalized, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto engineered another deal, sending right-handed reliever Alex Colome to the White Sox for catcher Omar Narvaez on Friday.The move fills Seattle's hole behind the plate, with the
SEATTLE -- Even before the proposed Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz trade to the Mets could be finalized, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto engineered another deal, sending right-handed reliever Alex Colome to the White Sox for catcher Omar Narvaez on Friday.
The move fills Seattle's hole behind the plate, with the 26-year-old Narvaez replacing Mike Zunino, who was traded to the Rays on Nov. 8. The Mariners' only other catcher on the 40-man roster is David Freitas, who split time last year between Triple-A Tacoma and Seattle as a 29-year-old rookie.
Narvaez made the MLB minimum of $560,000 last season, and he has four years of team control remaining, so he fits in with Dipoto's push to gather a young nucleus that can move forward together in 2020 and beyond.
After being part of the White Sox rebuilding process the past three seasons, Narvaez understands what the Mariners are doing, and he is eager to be a part of the plan.
"I'm really happy because I like to see a lot of talent coming up," Narvaez said from his offseason home in Miami. "What I know is, it doesn't matter if we're rebuilding or not, we'll still do our best every day to win and give Seattle fans good-looking games."
Narvaez posted a .275/.366/.429 line with nine home runs and 30 RBIs in 97 games last season, though he won't rival Zunino's power and didn't rank well in pitch-framing statistics last season.
"I know last year wasn't really good at the framing stuff," Narvaez said. "We had a lot of young guys. I'm still working on framing and all my things. I'm a guy who never stops working. For me, every year is new. Every day, I try to learn something. I have a really open mind and am still learning everything I can."
The Mariners like Narvaez's ability to get on base, as he took advantage of Welington Castillo's 80-game suspension last season to gain added playing time while posting a 1.9 bWAR.
"Omar has quietly developed into one of the tougher outs among catchers in MLB, his contact and on-base skills are welcome additions to our lineup," Dipoto said. "The fact that he is also under club control through 2022 made him a great fit for our club."
Colome, a former closer with the Rays, worked in the setup role to Diaz for after being acquired by the Mariners in May. He made $5.3 million last season, and he has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining before becoming a free agent. The 29-year-old posted a 2.53 ERA in 47 appearances for the Mariners after leading the American League with 47 saves in 2017 with Tampa Bay.
Narvaez posted a .275/.366/.429 line with nine home runs and 30 RBIs in 97 games last season, and he is regarded as a solid defensive catcher with good on-base skills, though he won't rival Zunino's power.
Assuming the Cano and Diaz trade goes through as well, the Mariners will be searching for a closer next season. With Nick Vincent now a free agent, the returning relievers on the 40-man roster are Shawn Armstrong, Chasen Bradford. James Pazos, Nick Rumbelow, Roenis Elias and rookie Matt Festa, with veteran Juan Nicasio perhaps at the top of that list as a closer candidate if he's healthy after undergoing surgery to clean up a knee issue in September.
The framework for the Cano-Diaz deal is in place with the Mets, as was reported on Thursday, but no official word is expected until all the financial aspects can be worked out. The Mariners are expected to receive veteran outfielder Jay Bruce, relievers Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista, as well as two of MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects in outfielder Jarred Kelenic (No. 62) and right-hander Justin Dunn (No. 89) in what will be Dipoto's fifth trade in an already busy offseason.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.