BRENT STECKER

Mariners Notebook: Trevor Story update, MiLB Rule 5 Draft picks

Dec 8, 2021, 1:41 PM | Updated: 5:22 pm
Mariners Rockies Trevor Story...
Trevor Story celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Texas Rangers on Aug. 30. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The MLB Hot Stove may be turned off due to the league’s lockout, but it’s still giving off some residual heat when it comes to Mariners news.

What makes Matt Chapman a prime Mariners trade target

Chief among that would be a recent report that the Mariners made an offer to All-Star shortstop Trevor Story, one of the biggest names remaining available in free agency, before the league locked out players a week ago.

While teams can make no contact, let alone signings, with MLB players during the lockout, the Mariners will likely get right to work trying to secure Story’s services whenever the lockout does end based on what MLB reporter Jon Heyman shared Monday on his “Big Time Baseball” podcast.

Heyman said that he’s heard of at least three teams that are making serious runs at signing Story, “plus others and a mystery team,” specifically naming the Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.

“Seattle certainly made an offer,” Heyman said on the podcast.

While Story has only played shortstop in his six MLB seasons, he is being considered a candidate to play second base or third base going forward. The Mariners have committed publicly to 2020 American League Gold Glove winner J.P. Crawford at shortstop but have to fill the vacancy left by Kyle Seager at third base, while recent trade addition Adam Frazier has positional flexibility that allows the Mariners to consider adding a player like Story that would provide needed power to the lineup to play second.

Second base may be the best spot for Story in the future as an elbow injury last season has caused concerns about his throwing strength. The fact that he has spent his entire career playing home games at Colorado’s Coors Field, which is known to be hitter-friendly due to the thin, mile-high air of Denver, is also a big storyline surrounding his viability as a free agent.

For a closer look at Story, including what to make of his lopsided home-road splits, read this post.

Let’s get to some more Mariners-related news.

Minor League Rule 5 Draft

The Mariners both lost and added players in Wednesday’s Minor League Rule 5 Draft.

First, it’s worth noting that while minor league business continues during the lockout, the annual MLB Rule 5 Draft will not be held until the lockout ends. For details on what the Rule 5 Draft is, click here.

Seattle picked up a pair of speedy outfielders with its top two selections in Wednesday’s draft.

With the Mariners’ first pick in the Triple-A phase, they took Tanner Kirwer from Toronto with the 16th pick. The 25-year-old Alberta native and Niagara University product was a 20th-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2017. In 2021, he hit .243 with 11 home runs, a .768 OPS, and 43 stolen bases on 48 attempts between High-A Vancouver and Double-A New Hampshire.

With a second pick in the Triple-A phase, the Mariners then selected Walking Cabrera 35th from the Colorado Rockies. The 21-year-old Dominican Republic native hit .252 with six homers, an .812 OPS and 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts in 45 games for the Rockies’ rookie-level Arizona Complex League affiliate. Watch video of Cabrera here.

Finally, the Mariners selected right-handed pitcher Tommy Wilson from the Mets with the 44th pick, but they traded him to Baltimore for cash considerations later in the day. Wilson, 25, was an 18th-round MLB Draft pick in 2018. He made 10 relief appearances with Double-A Binghampton in 2021, registering a 2.35 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 18 strikeouts and five walks over 15 1/3 innings. Watch video of Wilson here.

The No. 1 pick in Wednesday’s draft actually came from the Mariners, with right-handed pitcher Nolan Hoffman going to the Baltimore Orioles. Hoffman, 24, was a fifth-round pick by Seattle in 2018. He split 2021 between Single-A Modesto and High-A Everett. In 23 relief appearances and one start for Modesto, he had a 2.17 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 31 strikeouts and nine walks over 29 innings. With Everett, he had a 5.32 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 24 strikeouts and five walks over 22 innings (13 games, one start).

Seattle then lost left-hander Elvis Alvarado to the Detroit Tigers with the No. 7 pick. The 22-year-old Alvarado had a 4.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 34 strikeouts, 19 walks and six hit batters between three teams in 2021.

New Rainiers manager

The Mariners had a vacancy for their Triple-A manager with Kristopher Negrón moving from Tacoma to the big league coaching staff, and they filled it on Tuesday with former MLB catcher Tim Federowicz.

The 34-year-old Federowicz also announced his retirement as a player after 14 pro seasons Tuesday.

Federowicz spent time with six MLB teams during his career – the Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Astros, Reds and Rangers – and most recently played in the big leagues with Texas in 2019. In 2021, he played 25 games for the Dodgers’ Triple-A team in Oklahoma City.

Mariners-related signings

Finally, a couple of names who spent time on the Mariners’ roster in 2021 have new teams.

• First baseman/outfielder José Marmolejos is headed to Japan to play for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Pro Baseball league. Marmolejos, 29, was the best offensive player for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers in 2021 and spent 76 games with the Mariners between 2020 and 2021 combined.

• Catcher/first baseman Jacob Nottingham, who was acquired not once but twice via waivers by the Mariners from the Milwaukee Brewers in 2021, has signed a minor league deal with the Orioles. Nottingham, 26, played 10 games for Seattle, all coming after the second time the Mariners claimed him. He was released by Seattle in late September. He may be best remembered by Mariners fans for leaving some bats with longtime friend J.P. Crawford when he went back to Milwaukee in between his two stints with Seattle, with Crawford finding success with them at the plate in 2021.

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Mariners Notebook: Trevor Story update, MiLB Rule 5 Draft picks