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Source: Mariners ink Milone to Minors deal

Veteran southpaw also gets a non-roster invitation to Spring Training
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- With some openings available in their pitching staff following a flurry of early trades this offseason, the Mariners figure to be an attractive landing spot for some veterans looking for an opportunity this spring. One of the first to take advantage is left-hander Tommy Milone.

The 31-year-old free agent agreed to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to camp, according to a source, though the deal has not been confirmed by the Mariners.

SEATTLE -- With some openings available in their pitching staff following a flurry of early trades this offseason, the Mariners figure to be an attractive landing spot for some veterans looking for an opportunity this spring. One of the first to take advantage is left-hander Tommy Milone.

The 31-year-old free agent agreed to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to camp, according to a source, though the deal has not been confirmed by the Mariners.

Milone has a career record of 46-37 with a 4.42 ERA in 151 Major League appearances -- including 130 starts -- over eight seasons. He went 1-1 with a 5.81 ERA in five outings (four starts) in his second stint with the Nationals last season and also previously played for the A's, Twins, Brewers and Mets.

His best season came in 2015, when he was 9-5 with a 3.92 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) for Minnesota.

Milone went 7-4 with a 4.19 ERA in 20 starts for Triple-A Syracuse last season and is 1-1 with a 0.00 ERA in six starts for Licey in the Dominican winter league.

Having traded starter James Paxton as well as relievers Edwin Diaz, Alex Colome, James Pazos and Juan Nicasio in a flurry of deals to add younger prospects over the past month, general manager Jerry Dipoto will be looking to add some experienced depth over the coming weeks to help out in 2019.

Milone could be a candidate either as starting depth or in the bullpen, where Roenis Elias is the only returning left-hander still on the 40-man roster following the trade of Pazos.

Minor League signings

The Mariners also signed four Minor League free agents who have limited MLB experience, but will add depth to the system: catcher Austin Nola, right-hander Zac Grotz, shortstop Orlando Calixte and second baseman Tim Lopes.

Calixte is the only one in that group who has reached the Majors, as the 26-year-old played two games for the Royals in 2015 and 29 for the Giants in '17. He posted a .270/.323/.405 line with 11 homers and 48 RBIs in 125 games for Triple-A Sacramento in the Giants organization last season. Though primarily a shortstop, he's played some outfield as well as second and third base.

Video: PHI@SF: Calixte lays out to make a diving catch

Nola is a 28-year-old who posted a .279/.370/.376 line with two homers and 32 RBIs in 69 games for the Marlins' Triple-A club in New Orleans last season and gives Seattle some needed catching depth in its system. The former infielder converted to catcher in 2016 and was Miami's fifth-round Draft pick in '12 out of LSU.

Grotz, 25, was 3-7 with a 4.61 ERA in 13 starts for the Mets' Class A club in Columbia. He also pitching in the independent Atlantic League last season.

Lopes returns to the Mariners organization after spending the last two campaigns in the Blue Jays system. The 24-year-old was drafted in the sixth round by Seattle in 2012 and enjoyed a strong season for Double-A Jackson in '16 before being traded to Toronto for switch-pitcher Pat Venditte. He posted a .277/.325/.364 line with two homers and 29 RBIs in 104 games for Triple-A Buffalo in '18.

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

Seattle Mariners, Tommy Milone