M’s Sign Four To Minor League Deals

Dave · December 14, 2010 at 11:59 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The M’s have announced the signings of four players to minor league contracts with invites to spring training. Those four are Ryan Langerhans, Denny Bautista, Chris Gimenez, and Royce Ring. They are actually more interesting than you might think.

Langerhans, you know. He probably won’t make the team out of spring training unless Saunders fails to make the club for one reason or another. Most likely, he’ll hang out in Tacoma and come up when Milton Bradley lands on the DL. He gives the team a legitimate reserve outfielder who can play all three spots.

Gimenez is basically Rob Johnson 2.0. Eric Wedge reportedly loved him in Cleveland, and if Moore flops in spring training, he could end up as the backup catcher. Otherwise, he’ll head to Tacoma and serve as organizational depth. He strikes out a lot and doesn’t have much power, but he will take a walk or two.

The two pitchers actually have an outside chance of making this club. Bautista is a hard-thrower with no command, kind of an older version of Dan Cortes. His fastball averages 95 MPH and he gets a lot of strikeouts, but his walk rate was a horrendous 7.22 BB/9 last year. If you enjoyed Jesus Colome, you’ll love Bautista, who is basically the same idea – big arm, no command, could be good if he ever figures it out, but at 30, don’t count on it. A good spring training could land him on the team, however.

Ring is a classic LOOGY, and has been one of the best lefty specialists in Triple-A for several years. He’s completely worthless against RHBs, however, so his only role on a team is as a one or two batter situational reliever. Given that the M’s don’t really have a guy who is good at left-on-left match-ups, Ring could be an attractive bullpen option in March. His lack of versatility will work against him, however.

As far as minor league signings go, these are pretty decent ones. All four guys could end up playing for the M’s and contributing in their own way. They aren’t big additions, but they’re decent depth at no real cost.


23 Responses to “M’s Sign Four To Minor League Deals”

  1. msfanmike on December 14th, 2010 12:16 pm

    It didn’t take long, nor did it take very much to fill the gaps of “losing” Rob Johnson and Maikel Cleto. Easy as 1, 2, 3.

    Bautista sound like an older and slightly more polished version of what Cleto currently is, and Giminez is already better than Johnson becuase Wedge likes him. The other two moves provide a little bit of mediocre depth – which we certainly need. Actually, Langerhans is a tick or two above mediocre.

    Filling the 3rd and/or 4th spot at C is not all that difficult. I am not sure why anybody would have been sweating out how to replace the “loss” of Johnson. It only took 1/2 a working day to do it … and that is probably only because they went slow. Bard, Quiroz, Burke, etc. etc … there are plenty of guys like that available if needed at this time of year.

  2. sexymarinersfan on December 14th, 2010 12:20 pm

    Where has Johnson gone? Everyone keeps saying that, but I haven’t seen any reports on it. I knew he was kicked off the 40 man roster, but has another team claimed him yet, or are the Mariner’s gonna trade him, or wait the full 10 days and try to sneak him in through the waiver?

  3. msfanmike on December 14th, 2010 12:23 pm

    Where has Johnson gone

    You are technically correct … and thanks for the reminder. Johnson was Designated for Assignment (DFA’d) … which means the team has 10 days to make a decision on him. Trading him within that timeframe is one of those options. Releasing him outright or releasing him and then signing him back to a minor league deal if he clears is also an option. I would be a bit surprised if the team re-signs him to any kind of deal, but you never know.

  4. sexymarinersfan on December 14th, 2010 12:49 pm

    Ok, thanks. Thought I had missed something there.

  5. coasty141 on December 14th, 2010 1:15 pm

    Was Ring injured or adapting by throwing in a different arm slot in the last year? His velocity is down from 87.1 mph in 08 to 83.4 mph in 2010

  6. jakeludington on December 14th, 2010 6:57 pm

    Chris Giminez might bat like Rob Johnson, but he’s definitely better behind the plate. Giminez will throw out more runners and have fewer passed balls than either Johnson or Moore. If he can hit .240 that’s a massive upgrade at catcher.

  7. Chris_From_Bothell on December 14th, 2010 7:46 pm

    They aren’t big additions, but they’re decent depth at no real cost.

    You can pretty much say that about the entire offseason for the Ms.

  8. TomC on December 14th, 2010 10:19 pm

    I was hoping for Jack to find some young prospects that have been overlooked by other organizations. Instead we get Cust, Olivo, Ryan + minor league depth. Bleh. Ryan is the best of that bunch and he is only slightly above average – maybe.

    I know the Mariners are not going to crawl back from the open sewage pond of last season with flashy free agent signings and we need to build organizational depth. But, this offseason has really been depressing.

    Our roster lacks talent, excitement,and hope. I don’t see progress – I see more of the same. I don’t see a competitive or even interesting team until 2012 at the earliest. And even that is looking iffy.

    The front office might as well have put up a billboard saying “Sorry, we suck and it will be a long time until we are any good — fans who still hold out hope should stop now.”

  9. MrZDevotee on December 15th, 2010 12:40 am

    Hmmm… Interesting pieces, with not just upside, but a few rare moments of success already demonstrated (granted, not reliably yet).

    Most interesting to me:

    “Gimenez, 28 later this month, has 197 big league plate appearances with the Indians to his name. This year at Triple-A, he hit .276/.341/.464 in 219 plate appearances while spending time at catcher and the outfield corners. He can also handle the infield corners.


    “Ring, 30 later this month, posted a 1.93 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, and 0.4 HR/9 in 42 Triple-A innings for the Yankees’ affiliate this year. The southpaw posted a 9.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 against lefty batters.”

    Sure, they’re not show stoppers. But these finds make me happier than hearing things like Eric Byrnes, Milton Bradley, or Mike Sweeney again this year.

    If we want to sustain success we have to build it ourselves, not invest bigger dollars on guys who are either AT their peak, or beyond it (cue the Bavasi flashbacks). Someday perhaps we’ll be comfortable NOT KNOWING the names of new players in our system. Guys we can develop into the next Edgars, A-Rods, Juniors, etc.

    Or Pujols, Jeter’s, A-Gon’s– guys who came up in the very system of the teams they later became stars for.

    Although “trust” is a difficult thing given the past 5 years of floundering.

  10. bookbook on December 15th, 2010 5:22 am

    You’re all right, in my oh-so humble opinion. These are a set of good little moves, emphasis on “little.”

    We’d love to see a bit more acquisition of upside prospects. That’s hard to do, of course. The international signing announced the other day is more hopeful (and much more longterm).

    I’ve always been massively wrong about how the upcoming year will go for the M’s, but yeah, no pennants in 2011. I think there’s real reason to be optimistic about the prospects for 2012.

  11. Arron on December 15th, 2010 6:50 am

    Even before these signings, the Mariners have had the best off-season in the AL West according to gaining WAR…so although we won’t be in the World Series next year, we are improving…

    Baby steps…

  12. Liam on December 15th, 2010 11:57 am

    It’s easy to improve when the bar is set so low.

  13. nathaniel dawson on December 15th, 2010 1:46 pm

    I was hoping for Jack to find some young prospects that have been overlooked by other organizations….this offseason has really been depressing.

    That may still happen — we still have 2 months to go before Spring Training. You can’t just manufacture deals like that out of thin air, there has to be another team that has a need and is willing to move the right players. You have to wait until an opportunity presents itself, and be ready to take advantage of it when it does.

  14. Kazinski on December 15th, 2010 4:43 pm

    I was hoping for Jack to find some young prospects that have been overlooked by other organizations….this offseason has really been depressing.

    Thats a pretty stupid comment. If the prospects are sleepers that have been overlooked by other organizations, how are we going to know when Jack signs them? If they’re sleepers, we’ll be sleeping on them too. I’m not saying that any of these guys fit the bill, but if they do, it won’t be something we’ll figure out until May or June, and it could be May or June of 2012 or 2013.

  15. MrZDevotee on December 15th, 2010 5:25 pm

    For those worried we haven’t made enough acquisitions, don’t forget the subplot to Cliff Lee returning to the Phillies this week. How ’bout his whirlwind year for an analysis of quality prospect hunting by Jack Z?

    What we stole from Texas, by loaning Cliff Lee to them for 3 months:

    Jack Z quotes: “We view Smoak as a middle-of-the-lineup bat and Lueke as a late-inning guy. Both should be with us in 2011. Beavan is a future starting pitcher who is not that far away and who competed in Triple-A at just 21 years of age in 2010. And Matt Lawson should fit a role as a Major League contributor as well.”

    Beavan advanced to Triple-A Tacoma late last season and picked up a postseason victory for the Rainiers. The 2007 first-round Draft pick figures headed back to Tacoma this year for further seasoning, but provides rotation depth and a nice arm for the future.

    Lawson, who just turned 25, hit .319 with an .815 OPS for Double-A West Tennessee.”

    What we sent to Philly:

    “Aumont, Seattle’s first-round Draft pick in 2007, is regarded as the prize prospect in that group. And while he’s just 22 and has time to emerge, he wound up getting demoted from Double-A Reading to Class A Clearwater by the Phillies in midseason after going 1-6 with a 7.43 ERA in 11 starts.

    Aumont was 2-5 with a 4.48 ERA in high Class A ball, and there are questions being raised again about whether he is more suited to a relief role, as the Mariners had projected.

    Ramirez, a 22-year-old right-hander from Nicaragua, successfully made the jump from Clearwater to Reading. He was 4-3 with a 4.06 ERA in Class A ball and then 3-4 with a 5.45 ERA at Double-A, but wound up requiring surgery on a labrum tear in his hip after the season.

    Gillies, also 22, ran into hamstring problems that limited him to 26 games of Double-A ball. He hit .238 with just a .619 OPS in 105 at-bats for Reading and also had an off-field issue with a drug-possession charge that was eventually dropped, but it wasn’t a great year for the promising outfielder.

    None of the three were ranked among the Phillies’ top 10 prospects in a recent rating by Baseball America.”

    (Full story on the M’s website.)

    These moves should count towards “building to the future”, definitely. With equal thanks to Cliff Lee and Jack Z.

  16. bradguy on December 15th, 2010 9:58 pm

    Bring back Chris Snelling!

  17. Hopmacker on December 16th, 2010 3:08 pm

    I like these moves. Sure, GMZ could make a big splash and sign a free agent, IF (note big if) a big FA would come here.

    I am big on process. The process I see is a good one. Last year was a great deal of bad luck. I think it was an outlier as far as results. If these guys even perform at close to the normal expectations dervied from past performance, etc. I think the Defense/Pitching model will be fine.

    Not expecting a pennant in 2011, but I like our chances starting 2012 and later. This next season’s team could be very fun to watch.

  18. bongo on December 16th, 2010 7:31 pm

    These moves demonstrate that Cleto and Rojo were replacement level players at best, since equivalent performance was available at replacement level prices.

    The 2011 team could be significantly better than 2010, if only by replacing the worst performers with mediocrity. The 2010 Mariners didn’t demonstrate that pitching & defense can’t win; it only demonstrated that good starting pitching and defense is insufficient to overcome an atrocious bullpen and historically terrible hitting.

    If the 2011 Mariners bullpen and hitting achieves mediocrity, this will be a big step up. The bullpen alone probably lost us at least 10 games in 2010. If in addition Olivo & Cust outhit Moore/RoJo & Griffey/Sweeney (how could they not?) and Figgins regresses to the mean a bit, this team could actually outhit the 1962 Mets!

    If in addition, any of Bedard/Bradley/Pineda/Saunder suprise on the upside…. this team might actually be worth watching.

  19. jordan on December 17th, 2010 12:53 am

    Also, the longer Z waits on trading Aardsma, the higher his value goes it seems. Free agent relievers are going high and going fast.

  20. jordan on December 17th, 2010 1:01 am

    BTW: what are all you guys expecting the Mariners to do? Go out and trade for huge name guys, and sign half the FA market? We are rebuilding, and doing stuff like signing multi year contracts hurts our chances in 2012 and beyond (when we can actually compete)

    This is just a year to get some stop gaps, and let our prospects develope and see what we got for years to come.

  21. Brantid on December 17th, 2010 6:37 am

    I’ve liked the moves so far this off season, including these four. Bottom line, as long as the M’s don’t historically suck in 2011, I’ll be happy.

    How’s that for setting the bar high?

  22. Mariners2620 on December 17th, 2010 9:12 pm

    I know that the author’s of this site, prefer it if you do not comment on a thread, if it does not relate to that thread in particular but I have a question that I have been seeking the answer for…..

    Can Dan Cortes actually touch 100 mph? Everyone had boasted about how he could “bring the heat”, referring to the fact that he could touch 100 and sometimes 101. We obviously did not see that, Cortes topping out at 97.

  23. Carson on December 20th, 2010 11:00 am

    I could live with only 97.

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