Ruggiano acquired in trade with Cubs

Chicago Cubs v New York MetsThe Mariners added some needed outfield depth Wednesday by acquiring Justin Ruggiano from the Cubs in a trade for Minor League reliever Matt Brazis.

The move could foreshadow a platoon scenario for the Mariners in their right-field situation. Ruggiano, 32, gives Seattle a right-handed option who can play all three outfield positions. The six-year Major League veteran hit .281 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 224 at-bats in 81 games last year for the Cubs.

He hit .323 with nine doubles, four homers and 20 RBIs in his last 44 games before missing the final month with an ankle injury.

Ruggiano has a career line of .257/.319/.431 in 398 games. He spent his first three Major League seasons with Tampa Bay, then had two years in Miami before getting traded to the Cubs last offseason.

The Texas native earned $2 million last year in his first season of arbitration eligibility and won’t be a free agent until 2017.

Ruggiano has a career OPS of .704 against right-handed pitchers and .836 vs. lefties. The Mariners have left-handed hitting James Jones and right-handed Stefen Romero as their two returning right field candidates after dealing Michael Saunders to the Blue Jays last month.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Ruggiano is also capable of backing up Austin Jackson in center field or Dustin Ackley in left. He has played 166 career games in center, 118 in left and 76 in right.

General manager Jack Zduriencik indicated last week he might make two moves to fill the right-field spot. If that is the case, the Mariners could still be in the market for a left-handed hitting outfielder to team with Ruggiano. The club is known to have interest in the Padres’ Seth Smith, who is a strong platoon option with a career OPS of .839 against right-handers compared to .605 vs. lefties.

Other lefty-hitting outfielders who could be available on the trade market include Gerardo Parra of the Brewers, Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, David Murphy of the Indians, Travis Snider of the Pirates and David DeJesus of the Rays.

Remaining left-handed hitting outfielders on the free-agent market include Nori Aoki, Colby Rasmus, Ichiro Suzuki and Endy Chavez.

Brazis, 25, split last season between High-A High Desert and Double-A Jackson, going 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA and six saves in 40 appearances. He also was one of Seattle’s representatives in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a 5.11 ERA in 12 1/3 innings over 10 games. The 6-foot-3 right-hander was a 28th-round Draft pick out of Boston College in 2012.

Right-handed reliever Logan Bawcom was designated for assignment by the Mariners to make room on the 40-man roster.

Here’s an updated version of my story on the trade, complete with reaction from Ruggiano and Zduriencik’s thoughts on the deal and what comes next.

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