Mariners to add free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki
The Mariners are set to add to their outfield as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported Wednesday morning that the team has a one-year deal with an option done with Nori Aoki, pending a physical.
Aoki, who turns 34 in January, hit .287/.353/.380/.740 for the Giants last year. He played in just 93 games, missing time with a mid-season leg injury and a concussion that he suffered in August. He returned from the concussion and played in 14 more games but eventually was shut down when concussion symptoms persisted. When healthy, he has been remarkably consistent at the plate in his four-year career with a batting average that has never fallen below .285 and an on-base percentage that has ranged from .349 to .356.
Aoki joins an outfield of Franklin Gutierrez, Leonys Martin and Seth Smith and brings the element of athleticism that general manager Jerry Dipoto values. He can play both corners and should allow Nelson Cruz to spend more time in the designated hitter role.
To add Aoki, the Mariners will need to make a move on the 40-man roster, which is full. That spot could open up once the Mark Trumbo-to-Baltimore trade is completed if a second Mariner is indeed included in that deal.