John Baker Signs With the Mariners, Adds Catching Depth

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As the Seattle Mariners make their last few moves (it seems) before the opening of Spring Training in Peoria, they’ve now added some additional veteran catching depth to the 40-man roster.

John Baker, a former Marlin, Padre, and Cub, signed a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League camp with the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners front office has yet to confirm the deal, but John Baker is heading to Seattle for a physical Thursday, and recently tweeted:

With the addition of Baker, 34, the Mariners carry four catchers  on the 40-man roster that have a shot at making the Opening Day 25-man roster. First is incumbent Mike Zunino, 23, who will start for the Mariners in 2015 barring an injury. Then, there are the three vying for the backup position: newly acquired Baker, Jesus Sucre, and youngster John Hicks.

Zunino caught 130 games for the M’s last season and cranked 22 home runs despite a batting average below the Mendoza line. Sucre, 26, has only played in 29 Major League games with the Mariners over the last two seasons. And Hicks, 25, has played on 28 games at Triple-A Tacoma, and looks to start there in 2015.

John Baker– a left-handed hitter– has a career triple slash is .247/.330/.341. He has been a journeyman catcher, playing in only 359 games in his 7-year career.

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Last season with the Cubs Baker caught 68 games, but batted under the Mendoza line and managed on 15 RBI.

It will be interesting to see what the Mariners do with the California native who was picked by the Oakland Athletics in the 4th round of the 2002 draft out of UC Berkley.

With his age and major league experience, he could be the backup the Mariners so desperately need to spell Zunino every couple of days. And at the same time, he could prove valuable in Triple-A Tacoma, mentoring John Hicks while Jesus Sucre manages the backup duties.

Either way, it’s going to be Sucre or Baker backing up Zunino in 2015. Though neither of them ‘wow’ offensively, they would provide backstops capable of calling a good game.

What do you think of the signing? Do the Mariners have enough talent and depth at the catcher position for this upcoming season?

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