On Wednesday morning the Seattle Mariners added a solid corner outfield option to their mix, when they signed Nori Aoki for 1 year with a team option for 2017; it’s worth $4 million. Aoki, 34 in January, will be joined in the outfield by veteran hitting corner outfielder Seth Smith, and by defensively gifted center fielders Leonys Martin, and Franklin Gutierrez.
Aoki signed with the Milwaukee Brewers out of Japan in 2012 at the age of 30; he had a great rookie campaign. He hit 10 homeruns, batted a solid .288 and came fifth in the rookie of the year voting. Since then, his batting average has changed a maximum of only .002, as he has consistently hit around the .288 mark he reached during his rookie campaign.
Aoki proves to be a cheap and low risk option to solve the missing bat in the Mariners outfield. The Mariners were rumored to have been inquiring on Marlins controversial center fielder Marcell Ozuna, despite the “Boras bitch” from Miami’s lack of consistency and general horrible attitude, the outfielder would have come at a steep price. The Marlins asking price for Ozuna was Taijuan Walker, one of the most highly touted young pitchers in baseball. Ozuna now becomes a much less likely candidate to be traded to Seattle.
Aoki, despite his consistent bat, does not come without his faults. Many believe the outfielder to be a weak baserunner and fielder despite his above average speed. This and his lack of power are the main contributors to why Aoki once again finds himself with a one-year contract.