Some were surprised to see that Jason Bay was getting a $1 million deal from the Mariners after he accepted a buyout from the Mets about a month ago, but it turns out that his contract isn’t fully guaranteed.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that if Bay doesn’t make the team out of spring training, he’ll only be guaranteed $500,000. However, if he surprises with a big spring and makes the Opening Day roster, he will get $1 million with the chance to earn an additional $2 million with incentives.
Bay, 34, batted just .234/.318/.369 with a .687 OPS over three seasons with the Mets, including a .165/.237/.299 batting line over 215 plate appearances in 2012. There’s a real chance that he’s done, but that didn’t stop the Mariners from taking a flier. Hey, it worked with Oliver Perez, right?
The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.
Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field. He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.
Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.