Mariners extend spring training invites to 4, including Wei-Yin Chen
The Mariners are filling out their locker room for spring training, having announced the invitations of four non-roster players to the team’s major league camp, including veteran left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen.
Chen, left-handed pitcher Manny Bañuelos and infielder Alen Hanson have all signed minor-league deals with Seattle and will attend the Mariners’ camp. Also joining those three is outfield prospect Eric Filia, who has been in the Mariners’ farm system since 2016.
Chen was first reported to be signing with the Mariners by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman on Jan. 30, but Tuesday was the first time the team acknowledged the signing.
Here is a look at each of the four invitees announced Tuesday by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto:
Chen, 34, has been in the MLB since 2012, having started his career with the Baltimore Orioles as a starting pitcher. He signed with the Miami Marlins in free agency before the 2016 season after going 46-32 with Baltimore with a 3.72 ERA over his first four seasons.
During his four seasons with the Marlins, Chen struggled to stay healthy and started just 57 games from 2016 to 2018. In 2019, Chen was used out of the bullpen, appearin in 45 games all in relief. Chen had a 6.59 ERA in 2019, which raised his Marlins ERA to 5.10.
The Mariners appear to have four of their five starting rotation spots settled – barring injury – with Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield and Kendall Graveman. Chen will be competing with prospect Justin Dunn among others for that fifth spot, though Seattle could opt to use him out of the bullpen.
Filia, 27, is a name many who have followed the Mariners’ farm system are likely familiar with.
Drafted out of UCLA in 2016, Filia fell to the 20th round due in part to being suspended for the entire 2015 season due to plagiarizing a paper.
He has hit everywhere he’s played since going pro, with a career .320 batting average and .411 on-base percentage, but he’s also gotten suspended twice for druge use.
Filia was suspended for the first 50 games of the 2018 season after a failed drug test. Shortly after his reinstatement, he was traded to Boston, but he failed his physical and returned to the Mariners just a few days later.
Last season, Filia was again suspended for drug use, this time 100 games. After his suspension, he played for AAA Tacoma and hit .331 in 35 games.
Bañuelos, 28, was initially signed by the New York Yankees as an international free agent and was with the organization from 2008 to 2014. He had Tommy John Surgery in 2012 and missed the entire 2013 season.
After his stint with the Yankees, he signed with the Atlanta Braves in 2015. He was with the Braves until May of 2016, when he was released and signed by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
After 2017, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he made the AAA all-star team. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox after the 2018 season and made his major league debut in 2019. He went 4-8 with a 6.31 ERA in 77 innings, appearing 16 games, eight of them being starts.
Overall, Bañuelos has a 41-44 record and a 3.63 ERA in 11 minor league seasons, appearing both as a starter and reliever throughout his career.
Hanson, 27, was signed as an international free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirares in 2009.
He appeared in the major leagues with the Pirates in 2016 and 2017, and was designated for assignment in June of 2017. He was then claimed by the White Sox, who he played periodically for in the major leagues for the rest of the season before electing free agency.
He signed with the San Francisco Giants before 2018 and promptly played a career-high 110 games, hitting .252 with eight home runs, 39 RBIs and stealing seven bases.
Hanson then spent the 2019 season with the Toronto Blue Jays organization, appearing in 18 games with Toronto and 48 games with their AAA affiliate.
Hanson has amassed a .232 career batting average in 261 MLB games with 12 home runs, 55 RBIs and 21 stolen bases.
Mariners pitchers and catchers report to Peoria Sports Complex Wednesday, Feb. 12, and their first workout is Thursday, Feb. 13. Position players report to camp Monday, Feb. 17. The team’s first fill-squad workout is Tuesday, Feb. 18.