The Mariners, who have signed 17 players to minor league contracts, Monday signed a pair of veteran relievers to major league deals. RHP Shawn Camp and LHP Hong-Chih Kuo agreed to one-year deals. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Mariners designated for assignment C Chris Gimenez and OF Mike Wilson.
The Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright the contracts of Gimenez and Wilson. The 40-man roster is full, and an additional 26 players have been invited to spring training. Pitchers and catchers report to Peoria Saturday and the first full-squad workout is Feb. 18.
The 36-year-old Camp appeared in a team-high 67 games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, going 6-3 with one save and a 4.21 ERA (31 ER, 66.1 IP). Camp ranked 13th among American League relievers last season in ground-ball percentage (66.1% – 123 GB, 63 FB) and ground-ball-to-flyball ratio (1.95).
He also induced 12 ground-ball double plays, tops among AL relievers, and ranked third with 1.63 GDP/9 innings. Since his MLB debut in 2004, Camp has recorded a 67.3% ground-ball rate (884 GB, 430 FB), 11th-best among AL relievers during that stretch.
Camp has appeared in 432 games (all in relief) in eight seasons with Kansas City (2004-05), Tampa Bay (2006-07) and Toronto (2008-11). His 196 relief appearances over the last three seasons (since 2009) rank third-most in the AL, trailing only Craig Breslow (219) and Brandon League (202).
Kuo, 30, appeared in 40 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, going 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA (40 games, 27 IP, 27 ER) and 36 strikeouts. Kuo went on the 15-day disabled list twice in 2011; April 16-May 1 with lower back strain, and May 12-June 19 with an anxiety disorder.
During two rehab stints with High-A Rancho Cucamonga and AAA Albuquerque, he went 0-1, 4.50 ERA (3 ER, 6.0 IP) with 10 strikeouts.
Kuo made the National League All-Star team in 2010, the first-ever Taiwanese All-Star, and finished the season 3-2 with 12 saves (in 13 chances) with a 1.20 ERA (8 ER, 60 IP) with 73 strikeouts. His 1.20 ERA is the 11th lowest by a reliever in major league history (min. 60.0 IP) and his .139 (29×208) opponent batting average is the fifth lowest in MLB history.
Kuo sports a career record of 13-17, 3.73 ERA (121 ER, 292.1 IP) with 345 strikeouts in 218 games including 14 starts. He has limited opponents to a career .213 (228×1072) batting average including .205 (67×327) against left-handers.
Since 2006, Kuo struck out 10.81 batters per nine innings, tied for seventh best by a reliever over that span (min. 200 IP as reliever). Over his career (including starts), he struck out 10.62 batters per nine innings.
Kuo was the first Taiwanese high school player to sign a pro contract when he signed with the Dodgers. He is also the first Taiwanese-born player to hit a major league home run (June 12, 2007 vs. the Mets).
He participated in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 for Team Chinese Taipei.
Gimenez, 29, appeared in 24 games with the Mariners last season, making 20 starts at three positions (C, 1B, LF). The Mariners non-tendered Gimenez Dec. 12 and re-signed him Dec. 14.
Wilson, 28, split the 2011 season between Seattle and AAA Tacoma. He made his MLB debut May 10, 2011 at Baltimore and hit .148 (4×27) in a brief stint. Wilson has spent his entire career in the organization since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2001 MLB amateur draft.
Mariners Offseason News/Transactions
- Nov. 1: Chris Gwynn named the organizations Director of Player Development with the responsibility of overseeing all aspects of the Mariners minor league system.
- Nov. 2: Outrighted INF Luis Rodriguez, who opted to become a free agent (Rodriguez appeared in 44 games for the Mariners in 2011).
- Nov. 3: Outrighted LHP Anthony Vasquez to AAA Tacoma. Vasquez, 25, made seven starts for the Mariners in 2011, going 1-6 with an 8.90 ERA (29 ER, 29.1 IP).
- Nov. 18: Added OF Chih-Hsien Chiang, INF Francisco Martinez and INF Carlos Triunfel to the 40-man roster.
- Nov. 28: Named infielder/outfielder Vinnie Catricala (High Desert/Jackson) Minor League Player of the Year, RHP Taijuan Walker (Clinton) Pitcher of the Year and Arizona League trainer Randy Roetter Player Development Staff Member of the Year.
- Dec. 2: Announced the 2012 minor league coaching staff: Returning managers Daren Brown (Tacoma), Jim Pankovits (Jackson) and Eddie Menchaca (Clinton); Pedro Grifol, the Mariners director of minor league operations in 2011, will manage High Desert; Jose Moreno will manage Pulaski after spending last season with High Desert; Rob Mummau will take over as manager for Everett; a Mike Kinkade will manage the Mariners in the Arizona League after coaching in Everett last season.
- Dec. 12: RHP Dan Cortes and C Chris Gimenez were not offered 2012 contracts.
- Dec. 13: Signed 11 players to minor league contracts for the 2012 season, including OF Darren Ford, RHP Matt Fox, LHP Steve Garrison, RHP Jarrett Grube, LHP Sean Henn, RHP Josh Kinney, RHP Jeff Marquez, RHP Scott Patterson, C Guillermo Quiroz, INF Luis Rodriguez and LHP Phillippe Valiquette.
- Jan. 30: Signed LHP George Sherrill, who previously pitched for the club from 2004-07, to a one-year contract.
- Jan. 3: Hired Jeff Pentland as hitting coach of the Tacoma Rainiers.
- Jan. 5: Signed Japanese right-handed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma as a free agent.
- Jan. 10: Signed right-handed pitcher Aaron Heilman to a minor league contract with an invite to major league spring training.
- Jan. 11: Signed Japanese infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
- Jan. 14: Traded RHP Michael Pineda and pitching prospect Jose Campas to the New York Yankees in exchange for C Jeseus Montero and Hector Noesi.
- Jan. 17: Signed RHPs Brandon League and Shawn Kelley and LHP Jason Vargas to one year contracts; announced that former Mariners Randy Johnson (1989-98) and Dan Wilson (1994-05) would be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame July 28 at Safeco Field.
- Jan. 17: Signed LHP Oliver Perez to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
- Jan. 23: Completed their acquisition of catcher Jesus Montero and RHP Hector Noesi from the New York Yankees, more than a week after the trade was first reported. In the swap, the Mariners sent RHP Michael Pineda and minor league RHP Jose Campos to the Bronx.
- Jan. 27: Signed RHP Brian Sweeney to a minor league contract.
- Feb. 1: Signed INF Carlos Guillen to a minor league contract.
- Feb 6: Signed RHP Shawn Camp and LHP Hong-Chih Kuo to one-year major league deals; designated C Chris Gimenez and OF Mike Wilson for assignment.