Mariners agree with 3 undrafted FAs (source)

June 15th, 2020

SEATTLE -- With a shortened MLB Draft this year, a number of talented amateur players remain available and the Mariners came to agreement with three on Sunday as the nondrafted free agent signing period opened.

Due to impacts of the pandemic, MLB reduced the 2020 Draft to five rounds instead of its normal 40 rounds. Draft-eligible players who weren’t selected can now be signed for a $20,000 maximum bonus, and the Mariners have so far come to terms with a trio of such prospects, all college seniors.

The Mariners have not made any of the agreements official, as players must pass a physical exam before contracts can be signed.

Scott Hunter, the Mariners director of amateur scouting, said last week that the club will likely sign between 5-10 of the undrafted free agents. Here’s a look at the players who are known to have agreements in place thus far:

Matt Scheffler, C, Auburn University
It’ll be a homecoming for Scheffler, who grew up in Kirkland, Wash., and played at Lake Washington High and Pierce Community College in Tacoma before transferring to Auburn in 2019. The 6-foot-2, 190 pounder is regarded as a strong defensive backstop and he helped Auburn reach the College World Series for the first time in 22 years in ’19 while batting .260 with two homers and 28 RBIs in 61 games.

He was off to a torrid start this season, posting a .412/.516/.549 line with a homer and 14 RBIs in 16 games. While not a big power catcher, he’s shown excellent contact skills and had eight walks with just four strikeouts in 51 at-bats this spring.

Justin Lavey, INF, Louisville
Lavey grew up in Kenosha, Wisc., the same town that produced top Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic, and played second base, shortstop and third base in his four seasons at Louisville. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder had a career .277/.347/.393 slash line in 173 games for the Cardinals.

After earning All-ACC Third Team honors in 2019, Lavey was batting .316/.364/.526 as the starting shortstop in 17 games and riding a 12-game hitting streak this year for one of the top-ranked teams in the nation before the season was shut down.

Brett Rodriguez, INF, Wofford
Another versatile infielder, Rodriguez played 184 games in four seasons at the South Carolina school, batting .294 with 149 runs, 93 RBIs and a school record 85 stolen bases while playing second, short and third base as well as a few games in center field. He started all 17 games at third base this season and was hitting .250 with 10 stolen bases.

The 6-foot, 200-pounder is from Queensbury, N.Y., and has already earned his degree in finance and accounting, while twice being named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll.