Mariners notebook: Gaby Sanchez added to first base platoon mix

Jan 22, 2016, 3:20 PM | Updated: 4:11 pm
Gaby Sanchez, who signed a minor league deal with Seattle, last played in the MLB in 2014 with Pitt...
Gaby Sanchez, who signed a minor league deal with Seattle, last played in the MLB in 2014 with Pittsburgh. (AP)

Add one more name to the list of candidates for the Mariners’ opening for a right-handed hitting first baseman. The team has yet to confirm but ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Gabby Sanchez has agreed to a minor league deal with the Mariners with an invitation to spring training.

Sanchez, 32, spent last season in Japan playing for the Tohuku Rakuten Golden Eagles where he hit .226/.328/.392. He is a lifetime .291/.382/.389 hitter against left-handed pitching in seven years of MLB service. He last played in the majors for Pittsburgh in 2014.

Mariners first baseman Adam Lind joins the Hot Stove Show

Sanchez joins Travis Ishikawa, Ed Lucas and Jesus Montero as possible platoon candidates at first base. Stefen Romero, who told us earlier this year on the Hot Stove that he has been taking offseason work at first, could also be under consideration for the position.

Pitchers and catchers report to the Mariners’ spring training facility in Peoria, Ariz., on February 19.

New Top 10 List

Baseball America has come out with its list of top 10 Mariners prospects, and as one would expect it is dominated by players from the lower minors. The list features just one player, Boog Powell at No. 9, who could be widely regarded as being close to Major League ready.

The list is as follows:

1. Alex Jackson
2. Edwin Diaz
3. Drew Jackson
4. Tyler O’Neill
5. Nick Neidert
6. Luiz Gohara
7. Braden Bishop
8. Andrew Moore
9. Boog Powell
10. D.J. Peterson

Jackson repeats at No. 1 despite coming off a year where he was forced to return to Everett after struggles at the plate and an injury. While he had a bumpy first full professional season, Jackson has only just turned 20. He took part in the recent hitting summit in Peoria and there is optimism that he can take steps forward in 2016.

Drew Jackson, Neidert, Bishop and Moore were all drafted in 2015. Peterson, Diaz and Gohara are the only repeats on the list from 2015 with Gohara and Diaz moving up, Peterson down. Gone from the 2015 top 10 are: Ketel Marte and Carson Smith, who are on big league rosters; Patrick Kivlehan and Gabby Guerrero, who are now in the Rangers and Diamondbacks organizations; and Austin Wilson and Ryan Yarbrough, who fell off the list.

Nelson Cruz, philanthropist

Last year a Spanish language reporter told me that Nelson Cruz was known by many in his hometown not as a baseball player, but as the man who saved the lives and homes of friends and relatives. Cruz has donated emergency equipment and vehicles in the Dominican Republic. I talked to Nelson about this for a piece about ballplayers giving back that I put together for Roberto Clemente Day last season. When I finished the interview Nelson said that he had to run – he was having an introductory meeting with members from the Seattle Fire Department to see they could donate any equipment. Well, it would appear they came through.

No down time for Acta

New third base coach Manny Acta brings a considerable résumé with him to Seattle. In addition to managing both the Nationals and Indians, he has also managed the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic and the Tigres del Licey of the Dominican League. He currently is the Tigres general manager, with his team facing Moises Alou’s team in the Dominican League finals for a spot in the Carribean Series. Jesse Sanchez has an interesting article about the two, who both have a chance to be the next Latino GM in MLB.

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