SEATTLE -- As the dust from the non-waiver Trade Deadline settled, the Mariners had all their new pieces on board Wednesday, with Cameron Maybin installed in center field and three new members of a reinforced bullpen ready for the stretch run.The fact that Maybin was in the lineup for Wednesday
SEATTLE -- As the dust from the non-waiver Trade Deadline settled, the Mariners had all their new pieces on board Wednesday, with Cameron Maybin installed in center field and three new members of a reinforced bullpen ready for the stretch run.
The fact that Maybin was in the lineup for Wednesday afternoon's game against the Astros spoke volumes. The 12-year Major League veteran was in Atlanta with the Marlins on Tuesday afternoon when his trade to the Mariners was finalized, but immediately caught a flight that landed in Seattle at midnight so he could join his new team for Wednesday's game.
"I wanted to make a point to get out of Atlanta as quick as I could to get here and get in the lineup and meet my new teammates and do whatever I can to help," Maybin said as he began orienting himself to the Safeco Field clubhouse and was fitted for his new uniform three hours before game time. "I'm excited to be here."
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has been saying for several weeks that he wanted to make sure any players added at the Deadline didn't disrupt the team-first chemistry that has been building with a club that has pulled further together in the wake of Robinson Cano's suspension and hits August in position to challenge for the team's first postseason berth since 2001.
In Maybin and new relievers Zach Duke, Adam Warren and Sam Tuivailala, the club has added four players who all carry strong reputations around baseball as exceptional teammates and quality individuals.
"We're excited about the way this team has come together," Dipoto said. "We were more concerned with the roles, and we were also conscious of what we were adding to our clubhouse. I think we're adding the right people. That was a part of what we were doing. We really didn't want to throw a big rock in the water, we wanted to help this year move to the next stage and hopefully these guys do that."
Maybin joined the Astros for the final month last season and became part of a World Series champion team. He speaks glowingly of Houston's strong clubhouse character and sees similarities with a Mariners team he saw a lot of last year while with the Angels and Astros.
"Even from last year, it seems like they just continue to grow," Maybin said. "It's a really good character group, guys that like to have fun and enjoy playing the game. I'm really excited about being part of a team like that. I'm really big on character and I already know a lot of guys in the locker room and their characters speaks highly of themselves. Anytime you can add another guy like me to a locker room like that, it bodes well for more team chemistry and energy."
Maybin will play center field most days, with Denard Span and Guillermo Heredia now platooning in left. Maybin and Span are both seasoned veterans with playoff experience. Span, himself acquired from the Rays two months ago, agreed that chemistry is critical.
"Especially with a team like this that already has a good clubhouse," Span said. "They're bringing in great guys who can fit in and get on board the train, basically. These last two months, we're going to need to stick together and have each other's backs.
"Sometimes guys come in that are pending free agents and playing for themselves and that's unfortunate. We need guys that are here for one purpose and that's to accomplish the goal we all want and that's to win a World Series."
As usual, Dipoto wasn't afraid to make moves as his team looks to hold off Oakland in the American League Wild Card race. While the A's added just one player this month with reliever Jeurys Familia on July 22, the Mariners brought in four newcomers in the past week to go along with May additions Span and Alex Colome.
Many fans wanted a starting rotation addition, but Dipoto chose to use his resources to bolster the bullpen and also address the one spot in the lineup he felt needed a boost.
"We wanted to find that one more position-player element," Dipoto said. "We didn't think there were a lot of ways we were going to improve on the infield. And frankly our corner outfield -- we're quite happy with both spots. Span's been great since he joined us. Mitch [Haniger] has been an All-Star. This was the one place we thought we could really goose the club.
"And we added depth in the bullpen. ... I think as you probably saw, the starting pitchers who did go either went for a price that maybe we couldn't afford in player capital or we just didn't think that they made as big a difference for us as lengthening that bullpen."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.