Minor moves & notes

As we get ready for the Mariners' third game in this week's four game set in Houston, a few minor notes to pass along:

  • Though the minor-league season is still a week or so away from beginning, teams are making DFA moves and the Mariners are keeping tabs. Today Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto snagged catcher Jacob Nottingham off the waiver wire and he will join the Mariners as soon as travel arrangements can be made. A sixth-round draft choice of the Astros in 2013, Houston traded Nottingham to Oakland in 2015 and the A's in turn dealt him to Milwaukee in 2016. He had a couple of cups of coffee with the Brewers prior to last season (21 PAs) and thanks to there being no minor-league action in 2020 got into 20 games with them last year. In total, his brief Major League experience has yielded a line of .203/.306/.432, but it's really too small a sample to extrapolate from. His Triple-A numbers are nothing to crow about, either, though he did have a fine half-season or so in 2018 at Class-AAA Colorado Springs (.281/.347/.528). Nottingham was designated for assignment by the Brewers last week; he has no minor-league options, so he will have to stay with the Mariners or be exposed to the waiver wire again. To make room for Nottingham on the 40-man roster, The M's DFA'd reliever Brandon Brennan. 
  • The M's have also claimed infielder Jack Mayfield off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. Until this year, Mayfield had been in the Astros' organization and had appeared in 47 games for Houston over the last two seasons. Like Nottingham's, Mayfield's big-league line is unappealing but brief (.165/.193/.275, only 115 PAs), but Mayfield did post steadily improving numbers at Triple-A from 2016-’19 (.287/.350/.566 in 2019, .268/.325/.475 overall). Mayfield has a minor-league option and is currently assigned to the alternate training site pending the start of the minor-league season. IF/OF Shed Long was bumped to the 60-day injured list to make room for Mayfield on the 40-man roster.
  • Pitcher James Paxton has indeed undergone Tommy John surgery. The operation occurred sometime last week, manager Scott Servais announced. The Big Maple now faces a roughly 18-month rehabilitation process before he will be able to pitch again.
  • Pitcher Nick Margevicius was unsurprisingly placed on the 10-day injured list after his horrendous start last Sunday. The nature of his injury was not specified, but the lefty was scheduled for an MRI to diagnose his troubles. Ljay Newsome figures to move into the starting rotation in Margevicius' absence and reliever Robert Dugger was recalled to fill the vacancy on the 26-man active roster. Dugger made his Mariner debut Monday with two scoreless innings against Houston.
  • The independent Pioneer Baseball League will be testing out yet more rule tweaks when their season gets underway later this year. A "partner league" with MLB (as is the Atlantic League, an established laboratory for rule experiments), the PBL will have "designated pinch-hitters and pinch-runners," which is a bit of a misnomer as such a player is not pre-designated; this would be any bench player who comes into the game in the usual PH/PR fashion but the player substituted for may return for the remainder of the game (or until substituted for again). This would be permitted once per game. It is unclear at this point if this means once each for pinch-hitting and running or once in total. More offensively, the PBL is also doing away with extra innings and instead implementing a tie-breaking format they're calling "knock-out innings," which effectively will be a home-run contest. In a knock-out inning, each team designates one player to receive five pitches (from whom is not specified, but presumably a friendly coach) and to try to hit as many as he can over the fence. If both teams' representatives hit an equal number of homers the process repeats until there is a winner. There was no announcement from the Commissioner's Office regarding the PBL's new tweaks, so it is unknown if this action is being taken as part of Commissioner Manfred's greater attempts to screw up baseball or if this novelty gimmick was independently conceived by the PBL.