The deal, also according to Heyman, comes at a fairly low cost and doesn’t commit the Mariners to Aoki for long as it is a one-year deal with an option for 2017.
This move doesn’t come as too much of a surprise as the Mariners needed to fill their gaping hole in right field and the Mariners had been linked to Aoki within the past week or so.
Aoki, 33, will be entering his fifth MLB season in 2016 after spending his first two years in Milwaukee followed by a stint in Kansas City for a year before playing 2015 for the San Francisco Giants. The Giants turned down a $5.5 million option on Aoki. In his one year in San Francisco, Aoki slashed .287/.353/.380 in 93 games, missing much of the season due to a concussion. He has been medically cleared, however, and is 100 percent ready to go.
This move comes just hours after the Mariners traded away Mark Trumbo to the Baltimore Orioles clearing up some salary which is most likely being used to sign the Japanese outfielder. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has been looking to upgrade the outfield, especially the defense in particular, and this move covers that precedent very nicely. The Mariners had a hole in the outfield and needed it filled. Dipoto has now filled that hole before the Winter Meetings as the Mariners are expected to continue their pursuit of starter Hisashi Iwakuma.
So far, Dipoto has reworked this team into his own vision, and it is slowly but surely taking shape.