(Mike Jacobs playing first base with the Royals in 2009 spring training as Mariners first-base coach Lee Tinsley congratulates Mike Sweeney after a single. Photo by Associated Press).
I’m part of Seahawks mania this week in Renton, but I wanted to get this posted.
Mike Jacobs, who hit 32 homers for the Marlins in 2008, will be joining the Mariners organization on a minor-league deal with an invitation to major-league spring training. Credit Rick Randall (@randallball) for breaking the news on twitter — at least that’s where I first saw it. I’ve since gotten it confirmed.
Jacobs, now 32, has had an interesting career. Once one of the rising sluggers in baseball after joining Florida in the Carlos Delgado trade, he hit 20, 17, 32 and 19 homers from 2006-2009. His breakout season was seemingly 2008, when he posted an OPS of .812 and drove in 93 runs at age 27. He’s 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and hits left-handed while throwing right-handed.
But then injuries and declining performance deterred Jacobs. He drifted from the Marlins to the Royals back to the Mets to the Blue Jays to the Rockies. In 2011, Jacobs became the first professional athlete in the United States to test positive for HGH, earning a 50-game suspension and an immediate release from the Rockies. In a rarity, Jacobs admitted to the infraction. He told the New York Times in a statement:
“A few weeks ago, in an attempt to overcome knee and back problems, I made the terrible decision to take H.G.H. I immediately stopped a couple of days later after being tested. Taking it was one of the worst decisions I could have ever made, one for which I take full responsibility.”
Jacobs landed with the Diamondbacks organization last year, hitting .279 with 18 homers and 60 RBIs for Reno of the Pacific Coast League. He was a September callup with the Diamondbacks and in 13 games posted the unusual slash line of .211/.348/.263.
It seems highly unlikely there will be a spot on the 25-man roster for Jacobs, but he could provide some depth at Tacoma. He’s now one of two Mariners born in Chula Vista, Calif., the other being John Jaso
Other players so far with a spring-training invitation for the Mariners include catcher Jesus Sucre, who was with Jackson last year and re-signed as a minor-league free agent; right-handed reliever Jonathan Arias, a converted catcher who pitched with High Desert and Jackson last year and was also resigned as a minor-league free agent; and Jeremy Bonderman, the former Tiger hurler who is making a comeback from Tommy John surgery.
It’s very likely that highly regarded prospects such as Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Mike Zunino and Nick Franklin will also get spring-training invites, but no official word yet.