General manager Jerry Dipoto continues to transform the Mariners, swapping 1B/DH Mark Trumbo and newly acquired reliever RHP C.J. Riefenhauser to Baltimore Wednesday night for C/1B Steve Clevenger.
Clevenger, 29, a part-timer who played only 65 games over the past two seasons for the Orioles, will back up newly acquired Chris Iannetta.
Trumbo, acquired by Seattle June 3, was a likely trade option as soon as Dipoto said he wanted a more athletic team that strikes out less than many on a Mariners club that never contended last season.
The deal was also about money. Trumbo is in his final year of arbitration eligibility and is likely to make about $9 million. Clevenger is not yet eligible for arbitration and will make the minimum.
In 30 games last season, Clevenger hit .287 (29 for 101) with a .740 OPS, two homers and 15 RBI. In 148 games over five seasons, he hit .228 with a .607 OPS.
Trumbo played first base, left field and DH in Seattle, where he hit .263 with a .735 OPS with 13 doubles, 13 homers and 41 RBI in 96 games.
The only first baseman remaining on the 40-man roster is Jesus Montero, which suggests that the Mariners might use the salary savings and go after a full-timer in the free agent market.
Clevenger’s arrival means former No. 1 C Mike Zunino, who fizzled miserably at the plate and was demoted to AAA Tacoma, will remain there in April to see if changes in his swing mechanics have made a difference.
Riefenhauser was acquired Nov. 5 by the Mariners as part of a six-player trade along with RHP Nathan Karns and OF Boog Powell from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for 1B Logan Morrison, INF/OF Brad Miller and RHP Danny Farquhar.