Guaipe, Hicks, Marte added to 40-man roster

The Mariners added three of their top Minor League prospects – reliever Mayckol Guaipe, catcher John Hicks and infielder Ketel Marte — to their 40-man roster on Thursday to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

Players who signed their first professional contract at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons.

Like all clubs, the Mariners moved to protect eligible prospects they felt might be coveted by other teams prior to Thursday’s 9 p.m. PT deadline. The Rule 5 Draft will be held Dec. 11 on the final day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego.

With the Mariners also claiming left-hander Edgar Olmos off waivers from the Marlins on Thursday, their 40-man roster now stands at 39. Here is the current 40-man roster.

Guaipe, 24, was 1-3 with 12 saves and a 2.89 ERA in 40 appearances for Double-A Jackson last season. He had 56 strikeouts in 56 innings and posted the lowest WHIP (0.964) among Mariners full-season Minor Leaguers. Guaipe is having a strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason as well.

Hicks, 25, split last season between Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma, batting .290 with five home runs and 47 RBIs in 81 games. The young catcher has thrown out 47.6 percent of attempted base-stealers during his four Minor League seasons. The former Virginia standout hit .304 in 13 games with Surprise in the Arizona Fall League that wrapped up last week.

Marte, 21, hit .304 with 79 runs, 32 doubles, six triples, four home runs, 29 stolen bases and 55 RBIs in 128 games with Jackson and Tacoma. He was a Southern League All-Star while batting .302 in 109 games with Jackson before being promoted to Tacoma on Aug. 10.

As one of the youngest players in the Pacific Coast League, Marte batted .313 in 19 games with Tacoma.

Among the Rule 5 eligible players not protected by the Mariners were outfielder Jabari Blash, first baseman/outfielder Jordy Lara and pitchers Stephen Landazuri and Jordan Pries.

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