FanFest is behind us, Spring Training is rapidly approaching, and the Mariners are reportedly nearing closure in their pursuit of another starting pitcher. Questions abound heading into camp and we're here to answer as many as we can from Mariners fans around the world. So send 'em in.Who is the new Japanese pitcher the Mariners have signed? -- Kento D., Vancouver, Wash.
The Mariners signed 18-year-old right-hander Kenta Suda to a Minor League contract on Jan. 16. Suda pitched for the NOMO Baseball Club in Japan in 2007 and participated in the IBAFAAA (under 18-year-old) Championship games in Taiwan in August as a member of the Japanese team. He is expected to join the Mariners' extended Spring Training camp in Peoria, Ariz., in April.
If you were to put together an all-time Mariners lineup, along with their positions, who would be on it? And who would be the starting pitcher? -- Rusty R., Newport, Ore.
I rarely watched the Mariners play between 1977 and 1985, so my selections are from the post-'85 season. Here's my all-time team: Catcher: Dan Wilson; First base: Alvin Davis; Second base: Harold Reynolds; Shortstop: Alex Rodriguez; Third base: Adrian Beltre; Left field: Phil Bradley; Center field: Ken Griffey Jr.; Right field: Ichiro; Designated hitter: Edgar Martinez; Starting pitcher: Randy Johnson; Manager: Lou Piniella.
Any idea whether Kyle Lohse is on the Mariners' radar? It is notable that he hasn't yet been signed. -- Mike V., Santa Rosa, Calif.
From what I gather, Lohse is not on the Mariners' radar. His 63-74 record and career ERA of 4.82 are not particularly impressive. Furthermore, his agent, Scott Boras, reportedly is seeking a five-year contract for the 29-year-old right-hander.
What does "clearing waivers" mean? -- David C., Zamami Island, Japan
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When an organization wants to send a player who is out of options to the Minor Leagues, the player must first "clear waivers," a 72-hour (three business days) period when he becomes available to all other MLB organizations. If the player goes unclaimed, he then can be sent to the Minors, released or traded.
Looking at all of the players invited to Spring Training this year, there seem to be quite a few catchers on the list. With three catchers already expected to be joining the team for the season, are the others just being invited to get their names out to use as possible trade fodder? -- Joseph C., Kent, Wash.
The primary reason for inviting seven catchers to camp is to have enough catchers to handle the workload of the 30 pitchers who also have been invited to Spring Training. It has little to do with trade fodder. By the end of camp, there will be 12 pitchers and probably three catchers on the Opening Day roster.
What is the status of pitcher Mark Lowe? -- Brett H., Moses Lake, Wash.
Lowe, who had right elbow surgery nearly one year ago and missed most of the 2007 season, has been working out at the Spring Training complex in Peoria and will report to camp with other pitchers and catchers on Feb. 13. He worked out at Safeco Field recently, and head trainer Rick Griffin was impressed with what he saw. Lowe will be monitored closely during Spring Training, but he has a good chance of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster.
How is Mike Hargrove doing in retirement? Any chance we might see him in a Mariners uniform again? -- Scott M., Florence, Ore.
Grover is doing well at his home near Cleveland and is scheduled to manage the Liberal BeeJays, a semi-pro summer team in southwest Kansas. Hargrove played for the BeeJays in 1972, while on the roster of Northwestern Oklahoma State University. It is unlikely that he'll be wearing a Mariners uniform again anytime soon.
How many years until Adam Jones is eligible for salary arbitration? -- Katie H., Sunnyside, Wash.
Jones has 139 days of Major League experience under his belt, which leaves him 48 days short of one full season. A player needs three full Major League seasons to qualify for salary arbitration, but those in the upper 17 percent with less than three full seasons fall into the "Super Two" category, becoming eligible for salary arbitration. Mariners reliever George Sherrill was a "Super Two" player this offseason.
Do you think there's a chance the Mariners can pick up another quality pitcher without trading Jones? And, what ever happened to Carl Everett? -- Gary W., Issaquah, Wash.
To acquire the caliber of pitcher the Mariners desire, it will cost them Jones, among others, and there is no getting around that. As for Everett, he currently is on the roster of the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The White Sox and Angels have expressed interest in the veteran slugger, but he remains unsigned.
If a player signs a one-year deal but gets designated for assignment before the season ends, does the club still have to honor the contract? -- Mike V., Everett, Wash.
Unlike other professional sports, every baseball contract is guaranteed.
The Mariners added a farm team at Pulaski in the Appalachian League. Is this a lower league than the Northwest League? What is the reason for the Mariners to add another team? -- Phil M., Philadelphia
The Appalachian League is regarded as a "Rookie-advanced" caliber league, and the Mariners view it as an opportunity to place some of their Latin American players as well as some of the top high school players that aren't quite ready for Class A Everett, which is more of a college-level team. So instead of sending certain players to Arizona, they will be sent to Pulaski, "so they can play under the lights and in front of people," farm director Greg Hunter said. Seattle and Pulaski signed a one-year working agreement.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.