By Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2020

SEATTLE (AP) - The Mariners added a veteran arm to their bullpen Thursday, agreeing to a $1.6 million, one-year contract with Yoshihisa Hirano.

Seattle also agreed to a minor league contract with left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, a deal subject to a successful physical.

Hirano has spent the past two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, appearing in 137 games with a 3.47 ERA. Hirano was very good in 2018 when he struck out 69 batters in 66 1/3 innings and allowed just 18 earned runs. He struggled last season while appearing in 62 games. He had a 4.75 ERA and issued 22 walks in 53 innings.

Before joining the Diamondbacks, the 35-year-old Hirano spent 11 seasons pitching in Japan for Orix of Japan’s Pacific League.

“We believe his combination of experience and bat-missing ability brings needed stability to our bullpen,” Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement.

Hirano can earn $500,000 in bonuses based on pitching appearances: $50,000 each for 30 and 35, $75,000 apiece for 45 and 50, $100,000 for 55 and $150,000 for 60.

He also can get $450,000 in bonuses for games finished: $50,000 for 20, $75,000 apiece for 25 and 30, $100,000 for 35 and $150,000 for 40.

Hirano would receive a $250,000 assignment bonus each time he is traded but not if he is claimed on waivers, the money payable by the new team. Hirano cannot be sent to the minor leagues without his consent.

He will become a free agent when the contract expires.

Left-hander Ricardo Sánchez was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Sánchez spent last season at Double-A Arkansas.

If added to the 40-man roster, Chen would receive a one-year contract for the major league minimum of $563,500. That would be offset against the $22 million salary he is owed by the Miami Marlins, who released him in November.

Miami gave Chen an $80 million, five-year contract before the 2016 season, but he went 13-19 with a 5.10 ERA in four injury-plagued seasons. Last year Chen was demoted to the bullpen and had a 6.59 ERA in 45 games.


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