With the heavy lifting all but done in their roster makeover, the Mariners are now concentrating on bolstering their organizational depth.
The latest moves came Friday when they acquired right-handed pitcher Ryne Harper, 26, from Atlanta and signed journeyman Ed Lucas, a 33-year-old utilityman who spent last season at Triple-A Round Rock.
Harper arrives as the “player to be named later” in the Dec. 4 trade that sent right-handed reliever Jose Ramirez to the Braves. The deal created flexibility for the Mariners because Ramirez is out of options.
The Mariners assigned Harper to Triple-A Tacoma. He is a five-year pro who, while eligible, went unselected Thursday in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings.
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Harper pitched primarily last season at Double-A Mississippi, where he was 0-1 with a 2.04 ERA in 33 2/3 innings over 23 outings. He is 20-12 with a 2.16 ERA in 172 minor-league games over his career.
Lucas is a right-handed hitter who can play all four infield positions in addition to left field and right field. He batted .316 with six homers and 48 RBIs last season in 107 games at Round Rock in the Texas system.
The only major-league experience in Lucas’ 12 pro seasons came in 2013-14 at Miami, where he batted .255 in 163 games.
The Mariners previously signed right-handed pitcher Donn Roach, infielder Benji Gonzalez and outfielder Mike Baxter to minor-league deals.
CRUZ TO CUBA
Right fielder Nelson Cruz will join a group of major-league players on a Dec. 15-18 goodwill tour to Cuba, which will include children’s clinics and a charity event.
Several Cuban-born players are also expected to take part after Major League Baseball secured assurances they will be permitted to leave the island once the tour concludes.
Those players, all former defectors, will also be allowed to visit with family members still living in Cuba at a designated hotel.
The MLB group will be led by chief baseball officer Joe Torre. In addition to Cruz, confirmed participants include Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
The tour is aimed at helping to create a viable process for Cuban players to transition to professional baseball in the United States.