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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

October 24, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Mariners part ways with Miguel Olivo, Munenori Kawasaki

These moves will surprise no one, but were finally made official today when the Mariners declined the 2013 option on Miguel Olivo and also released Munenori Kawasaki from his contract with the team. Olivo was never going to be an option for a Mariners team that will now likely look to add another catcher this winter. Though Olivo started a team-high 68 games behind the plate for Seattle in 2012, he wanted to play more and will likely find an expanded role with a non-rebuilding squad going forward.
While Olivo’s OBP suffered through some awful slumps, enough teams value what he does as a catcher that he should have little trouble finding work.
Where the Mariners go from here at the position could depend largely on what first round draft pick Mike Zunino shows at the Arizona Fall League the next few weeks. He’s had some mixed results so far behind the plate.
If Zunino looks like he’ll be ready for the big leagues out of spring training or within a couple of months after, the Mariners could go with a combo of John Jaso and Jesus Montero at catcher to start the year.


But if it looks like Zunino would only be a second half call up, the Mariners will likely bring in another veteran catcher. As much as they love what Jaso did as a hitter against right-handed pitching, they were reluctant to have him catch more than two days in a row. Same with Montero, which leads to a problem as any catching platoon of two men will usually require one of them to go three or more consecutive games at some point.
If the Mariners believe Jaso can’t do that without his defensive game suffering, then another catcher will have to be added soon…either Zunino as a third backstop option, or somebody else.
As for Kawasaki, he had a lot of fun here in his first and likely only big league season. An upgrade in that area is clearly needed. We wish him well, as he certainly wasn’t a pain to have around and kept things light.

Comments | Topics: Jesus Montero, Mike Zunino

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