Arizona has claimed catcher/infielder Jordan Pacheco off waivers after he was designated for assignment by Colorado last week.
Pacheco was an everyday player for the Rockies in 2012, playing mostly third base and first base while hitting .309 with five homers and a .762 OPS in 132 games. That looks good, but an empty .300 batting average with a mid-.700s OPS is actually below average for someone calling Coors Field home and Pacheco has hit just .238 with a .601 OPS since then.
This year he was playing mostly catcher for the Rockies, backing up Wilin Rosario, and his defensive versatility gives Pacheco some value as a bench player even if his bat isn’t good enough to play regularly.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.
I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.
Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.
Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?