SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners have added free agent Norichika Aoki to their list of acquisition targets for next season, The News Tribune said Monday.
According to the Tacoma-based newspaper, the 33-year-old San Francisco Giants left fielder, who finished the season on the disabled list due to recurrent concussion symptoms, has been drawing interest from the Mariners, who are desperate to fill their outfield.
“At this point, there appears to be real interest (in Aoki) from the Mariners. Whether that leads to a deal is anybody’s guess,” one baseball source was quoted as saying on the paper’s online edition.
Before he headed to the DL after being hit in the helmet in a game in August, Aoki had missed 28 games while recovering from a fractured fibula suffered in June. He made only two game appearances in September.
Aoki batted .287 with 5 home runs, 26 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 93 games this past season.
He played two seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers and one for the Kansas City Royals before he was acquired on a single-year contract by the Giants in January. The Giants declined their option to re-sign him.
The news comes less than three weeks afterHisashi Iwakuma, who became a free agent this off season, declined a $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Mariners. Seattle has had at least one Japanese player on its roster every year since 1996, when the Mariners signed right-handed pitcher Mac Suzuki.
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