Felix finished in winter league after 2 starts

Mariners ace will not pitch in Venezuela's postseason

Felix finished in winter league after 2 starts

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez's pitching plans in the Venezuelan Winter League have been cut short as the Mariners' ace is done following just two starts with his hometown Magallanes squad after it was eliminated from the upcoming playoffs, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed on Friday.

Hernandez's agent told Venezuelan journalist Marcos Grunfeld on Friday that Hernandez didn't make his name available to the remaining playoff teams in the draft process that is held to allocate players from eliminated squads to compete in the postseason.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners complement core for October push

Additions could be key to putting Felix and Co. in postseason position

Mariners complement core for October push

SEATTLE -- Players and coaches won't need name tags this time to remember who is who when the Mariners report to Spring Training in six weeks, but there still will be a number of new faces when Scott Servais opens his second season as Seattle's manager.

Year 2 of general manager Jerry Dipoto's tenure figures to focus on taking the next step as Seattle looks to break its 15-year postseason drought with a team that improved by 10 wins in 2016, only to fall just shy of an American League Wild Card berth.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners make changes, strides in 2016

New GM Dipoto, manager Servais lead Seattle's 10-win improvement

Mariners make changes, strides in 2016

SEATTLE -- The operative word for the Mariners in 2016 was "change." From the team's ownership group to the general manager, field manager, coaches and a large chunk of the roster, new faces were in new places.

And as the calendar closes, it's fair to say the general direction seems extremely positive, even while the primary goal loomed just out of reach as Seattle came up just shy of landing a postseason berth despite a 10-win improvement in the American League West standings.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Felix improves in second winter league start

Felix improves in second winter league start

SEATTLE -- After his second Venezuelan Winter League start was delayed a day because of illness, Mariners ace Felix Hernandez rebounded with a four-inning outing in which he allowed two runs for Magallanes in Thursday's 4-1 loss to Caribes.

Hernandez gave up both runs on three hits and a walk in the first inning, then was perfect over his final three frames, throwing 63 pitches. The effort was a big improvement from the 30-year-old's Venezuelan debut a week earlier when he gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in one inning.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Will Gamel be a factor next season?

Beat reporter Greg Johns answers fans' questions

Inbox: Will Gamel be a factor next season?

I keep hearing about how high the Mariners are on Ben Gamel, but other than being a defensive upgrade, I'm not sold on his bat. What does the Mariners' brass see in his potential?
-- Paul E., Salt Lake City, Utah

Jerry Dipoto feels Gamel has done everything possible the past two years in Triple-A for the Yankees to show he's ready for a Major League opportunity. The 24-year-old hit .300 and .308 those two seasons for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was the International League MVP last year when he posted a .365 on-base percentage, scored 80 runs, had 26 doubles, five triples, six homers and stole 19 bases in 116 games.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The Hall of Fame Case: Mike Cameron

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The Hall of Fame Case: Mike Cameron

The likes of Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines -- and even first-timers like Vladimir Guerrero or Pudge Rodriguez -- shouldn't have too much trouble racking up National Baseball Hall of Fame votes. But there are plenty of other players on the 2017 ballot who require a little more voter-cajoling. Players who may not have the on-field resume, but deserve an impassioned Hall of Fame case nonetheless. Players like ...

Michael Terrance Cameron -- electric center fielder, noted author and, most importantly, the Mike that kids really wanted to be Like. (Don't bother to look that up, we swear it's true.) Cameron enjoyed a 17-year big league career with eight different teams, but he's most remembered for his time with the Mariners, where he not only replaced a certain somebody in center field but also won two Gold Glove Awards, played in an All-Star Game and helped make 116-46 happen. 

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Most amazing American League games of 2016

Most amazing American League games of 2016

The Indians came thisclose to bringing a World Series title home to their fans and to the American League after an amazing 2016 season. Taking the Chicago Cubs to the 10th inning of the seventh game of the Fall Classic was just about as memorable as it gets.

But the Indians were one of 15 teams in the AL, and each one had its own Game of the Year. In consultation with the MLB.com beat reporters for every team, here are the best individual games for each AL club during another fantastic year in Major League Baseball:

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Memory of 'Hendu' helps Rizzs continue to give

Memory of 'Hendu' helps Rizzs continue to give

SEATTLE -- For 20 years, Rick Rizzs worked with Dave Henderson to distribute gifts to homeless and sick children in the Seattle area through their Toys For Kids program, a charity that grew from a grassroots effort among a handful of Mariners players to a robust service that now brings a little Christmas cheer to thousands around the Puget Sound area.

But while the program is still going strong -- reaching a record number of dollars raised and toys and cash distributed to needy families this winter -- one thing is missing this year: Henderson, who died of a heart attack two days after last Christmas at the age of 57.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners sign Waldrop to Minor League deal

Mariners sign Waldrop to Minor League deal

SEATTLE -- Kyle Waldrop, a 25-year-old outfielder who played 15 games with the Reds last season, has signed a Minor League contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to the Major League camp in February.

Waldrop became a free agent after being designated for assignment by the Reds in September. He hit .227 with a double and one RBI in 22 at-bats for Cincinnati last season, and also had one at-bat for the big league club in 2015.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Felix has rocky winter ball debut

Ace's line for Magallanes includes 2 walks, balk, wild pitch, throwing error

Felix has rocky winter ball debut

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez's early start to his winter pitching plans got off to a rough beginning on Thursday in Venezuela, but the Mariners' ace is just getting underway with a program designed to have him ready to pitch competitively in the World Baseball Classic in March.

Hernandez -- pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League for the first time since 2003, when he was just starting his pro career at age 17 -- gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in one inning of work for Magallanes in a 4-3 win at Margarita Island.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: How will Edgar fare in Hall of Fame vote?

Beat reporter Greg Johns answers fans' questions

Inbox: How will Edgar fare in Hall of Fame vote?

How likely do you think it is that Edgar Martinez gets into the Hall of Fame?
-- Andrew P., Mukilteo, Wash.

It's not going to happen this year, but I'm certainly more optimistic about Martinez's chances in his final two seasons of eligibility now in 2018 and '19 after seeing the early returns from Hall of Fame voters who have published their ballots in advance of the Jan. 18 official announcement on the 2017 class.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Photo: The one time Big Unit wasn't the tallest

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Photo: The one time Big Unit wasn't the tallest

With impossibly long limbs and a mustache straight from the O.K. Corral, Randy Johnson literally towered over the other players while firing in fastballs. 

But at the 1993 All-Star Game, Johnson was bested in the height department. And it's all thanks to New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing. 

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Mariners announce 2017 Minor League coaches

Mariners announce 2017 Minor League coaches

SEATTLE -- The Mariners announced their full roster of Minor League coaches for 2017 on Monday, including former Major League infielder Dave Berg, who will be the new hitting coach for Triple-A Tacoma.

The Mariners have promoted former Tacoma hitting coach Scott Brosius to their Major League staff for the upcoming season, opening a spot for Berg, who was the manager for Double-A Jacksonville in the Marlins' organization last year. Berg, 46, was an infielder with the Marlins and Blue Jays from 1998-2004 and had a career .269 average in 582 big league games.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dipoto keeps on dealin' to develop Mariners

Dipoto keeps on dealin' to develop Mariners

SEATTLE -- Since he signed on as general manager of the Mariners at the end of the 2015 season, Jerry Dipoto has made one thing abundantly clear. He's not afraid to trade.

In his first year on the job, Dipoto made 25 swaps involving 60 players among 12 other Major League clubs. Since the start of this offseason, his second with the Mariners, Dipoto has engineered seven more trades involving 20 players with seven different teams.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners release Japan-bound Caminero

Mariners release Japan-bound Caminero

SEATTLE -- Right-handed reliever Arquimedes Caminero was granted his unconditional release by the Mariners on Friday so he can pursue an opportunity to play in Japan next season.

The move opens a spot on Seattle's 40-man roster, which is now at 39. The 29-year-old was acquired by Seattle from Pittsburgh on Aug. 6 in a trade for Minor League pitchers Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners' Shaffer claimed off waivers by Phillies

Mariners' Shaffer claimed off waivers by Phillies

SEATTLE -- Richie Shaffer, a third baseman/outfielder acquired by the Mariners from the Rays last month, was claimed off waivers by the Phillies on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old North Carolina native, who also has played some first base during his pro career, was designated for assignment last Wednesday to open a 40-man roster spot when the Mariners traded for Giants right-hander Chris Heston.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners still looking to add to rotation mix

Mariners still looking to add to rotation mix

SEATTLE -- While the market for top-flight closers has moved swiftly in recent days with the free-agent signings of Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon, the musical chairs haven't really begun yet for starting pitchers.

But expect things to begin unfolding soon for numerous teams seeking rotation help, including the Mariners, as general manager Jerry Dipoto looks to fill the void created by his earlier trade of Taijuan Walker.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Have Mariners gotten better this offseason?

Beat reporter Greg Johns answers questions from Seattle fans

Inbox: Have Mariners gotten better this offseason?

It is well known that Jerry Dipoto still wants a starting pitcher for the middle spot in the rotation. Is there any possibility that he will return Edwin Diaz to a starting role and let Steve Cishek be the closer again now that he's healthy?
Whi C., Mountlake Terrace, Wash.

No, the Mariners are thrilled with the way Diaz developed as a reliever last year, nailing down the closer's job after making that midseason transition. They felt then -- and it proved to be true -- that his two-pitch repertoire of a live-armed fastball and nasty slider would play up in a relief role.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners' Lee claimed off waivers by Padres

Mariners' Lee claimed off waivers by Padres

SEATTLE -- Mariners right-hander Zach Lee, a former first-round Draft pick of the Dodgers, was claimed off waivers by the Padres on Tuesday.

Lee, 24, had been designated for assignment by the Mariners on Dec. 3 to open a 40-man roster spot for free-agent reliever Marc Rzepczynski, who signed a two-year deal.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Greene, 2-way talent highlight Top 50 Draft Prospects list

Greene, 2-way talent highlight Top 50 Draft Prospects list

For the second year in a row, MLBPipeline.com's early Draft Top 50 list is topped by a high school pitcher. There's still a long way to go between now and June -- last year's early No. 1 Jason Groome eventually went No. 12 overall to the Red Sox -- but there is no question that Hunter Greene is the best overall talent in the Class of 2017.

A two-way star at Notre Dame High School in Southern California (the same school Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton attended), Greene is preferred by some for his ability as a hitter and an infielder, but the vast majority think the right-hander has the chance to be an elite performer on the mound. A prep right-handed pitcher has never been the No. 1 overall pick in the history of the Draft, but does Greene and his stuff plus athleticism give him the chance to be the first?

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pike player to be named in deal with Braves

Pike player to be named in deal with Braves

SEATTLE -- Left-hander Tyler Pike, the Mariners' third-round Draft pick in 2012, was sent to the Braves on Friday to complete a trade that brought right-handers Rob Whalen and Max Povse to Seattle two weeks ago.

Pike became the player to be named in the deal, which also sent 2014 first-round Draft pick Alex Jackson to the Braves.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners add 2 in Rule 5's Minor League portion

Seattle selects lefty Paez, center fielder Taylor; Gadea plucked by Rays

Mariners add 2 in Rule 5's Minor League portion

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Mariners didn't select anyone in the Major League phase of Thursday's Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings, though they did lose promising right-handed reliever Kevin Gadea to the Rays.

Seattle did select left-handed reliever Paul Paez from the Mets and center fielder Chuck Taylor from the D-backs in the Minor League portion, while losing outfielder Austin Wilson to St. Louis.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle adds pitching depth in deal for Heston

Seattle adds pitching depth in deal for Heston

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Right-hander Chris Heston, who threw a no-hitter in a strong 2015 rookie season before spending most of last year in Triple-A and on the disabled list, was traded from the Giants to the Mariners for a player to be named on Wednesday.

The deal was the seventh trade in the past month by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, but his first move of the Winter Meetings, which conclude Thursday. Richie Shaffer, a utility player acquired from the Rays last month, was designated for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Heston.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Servais aims to guide Seattle to next step in 2nd year

Servais aims to guide Seattle to next step in 2nd year

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- A year ago, Scott Servais met reporters at the Winter Meetings for the first time, having never managed a game in the Major Leagues, and he talked about getting to know the players and personalities of his new Mariners club.

Things are different this year. Servais no longer is a rookie skipper. His team now knows him well, and vice versa. But the primary challenge remains the same. The Mariners must take the next step and push their way into the postseason for the first time since 2001 in order to begin achieving what the club's new regime has set out to do since last year's front-office makeover.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners covet more pitching after Meetings

Dipoto eyeing trade market to help bolster club's rotation

Mariners covet more pitching after Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto still has one big unchecked box on his wish list after a fairly quiet four days at the Winter Meetings.

Like many teams, the Mariners are looking to add an experienced starting pitcher to beef up their rotation. And while Dipoto did a lot of talking and surveying of the marketplace, the only deal done at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center was a minor swap with the Giants that brought right-hander Chris Heston for a player to be named.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Winter Meetings interview with Scott Servais

Q. Scott, Jerry talked about getting more versatile with the roster and he made some moves to do that this offseason. How does that help and how do you see that being different for next year?
SCOTT SERVAIS: I think looking at our club, where we are at the end of '16, where we wanted to go forward, the core of our club is what it is, it's very good in the middle of our lineup but getting a little older there, trying to infuse a little bit more younger talent and guys that are more athletic.

I think our outfield is going to have a much different look to it with us acquiring Mitch Haniger. We're going to give Ben Gamel a chance to play. We still have Seth Smith. Trying to go that direction a little bit more and hopefully it will pay off.

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Source: Seattle has discussions with Trumbo

Source: Seattle has discussions with Trumbo

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Is it possible that Mark Trumbo could return to the Mariners after leading the Major Leagues in home runs last year for the Orioles? According to a source, Seattle has had discussions with the free-agent first baseman's representatives during the Winter Meetings this week at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, though no deal appears imminent.

ESPN's Jim Bowden reported Tuesday night that the Mariners were in "serious talks" with the free-agent slugger, though the source said "serious" might be overstating the situation at this point. The club has not confirmed the discussions.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.