Veteran catcher Baker agrees to Minor League deal

Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh PiratesLooking to add depth behind starting catcher Mike Zunino, the Mariners have an agreement with veteran John Baker to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League camp.

The Mariners have not confirmed the deal, but shortly after reported the news on Wednesday, Baker tweeted a photo of himself in front of the Space Needle and said, “Thanks for all the positive vibes being sent my way. Next Chapter begins. @Mariners.”

Baker is headed to Seattle for a physical exam on Thursday, so nothing will be finalized until that process is completed.

The Mariners are looking to add an experienced catcher to their backstop mix that currently includes Zunino, Jesus Sucre and John Hicks on the 40-man roster.

Zunino, 23, caught 131 games last year in his first full season as a starter. Sucre, 26, has played in 29 games over the past two seasons with Seattle in a backup role. Hicks, 25, is a well-regarded prospect, but has just 28 games of experience at the Triple-A level after a midseason promotion to Tacoma last season.

Baker, 34, has seven seasons of Major League experience with the Marlins, Padres and Cubs, with a career slash line of .247/.330/.341 in 359 games.

The left-handed hitting catcher played 68 games with the Cubs last season, batting .192 with 15 RBIs. His headline moment in 2014 came when he earned the pitching victory and scored the winning run in the 16th inning of a game against the Rockies. Baker threw a scoreless top of the 16th in the July 29 game, then walked and eventually came around to win the game and become just the fourth position player to pick up a pitching victory since 1968.

Baker is a California native who was drafted by the A’s in the fourth round in 2002 out of Cal-Berkeley. He was the Marlins’ 2010 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

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