SEATTLE -- While most of the big-name free agents are just beginning the process of figuring out where they'll land next season, the Mariners have already signed six players to Minor League contracts with invitations to Major League camp next year, including veteran infielder Luis Rodriguez.
Rodriguez played 44 games for Seattle last year after agreeing to a similar non-roster invitation to Spring Training in 2011. He hit just .197 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 117 at-bats, but had two walk-off hits and also won another game with a sacrifice fly in extra innings.
Rodriguez was outrighted by the Mariners three weeks ago to open up a spot on the 40-man roster, allowing the club to avoid going to salary arbitration with the 31-year-old. But he agreed to return on a new deal and offers backup depth at shortstop, second and third base.
The other five players confirmed to Minor League deals at this point are all pitchers: right-handers Matt Fox, Jarrett Grube and Jeff Marquez and lefties Steve Garrison and Sean Henn.
Fox, 28, went 10-4 with a 3.96 ERA in 28 games (21 starts) with the Red Sox's Triple-A club in Pawtucket last year. A 2004 first-round Draft choice of the Twins, Fox pitched four games in the Majors in 2010, including one spot start with Minnesota in which he gave up four hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against Texas.
He was then claimed off waivers by Boston and pitched three games in relief before spending all of last year in Triple-A.
Grube, 30, was with the Mariners organization last year and posted a combined 9-6 record and 3.88 ERA while splitting time between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma. He's currently 1-0 with a 3.05 ERA in five starts for Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Marquez, 27, has been with the White Sox and Yankees the past few years. He has four games of Major League experience, including a 2.25 ERA in four innings over three relief appearances for the Yankees last season.
Marquez was a first-round sandwich pick by the Yankees in 2004 and has been a starter throughout his Minor League career.
Garrison, 25, was originally a 10th-round Draft pick of the Brewers in 2005. He's also been primarily a starter and went 4-8 with a 5.95 ERA in 17 games with the Yankees' Double-A Trenton squad last year in an injury-plagued season. He made his Major League debut on July 25 last season against the Mariners and got the final two outs in the Yankees' 10-3 win before being sent back to the Minors.
Henn, 30, has 60 games of Major League experience over five seasons with the Yankees, Padres, Twins and Orioles. He's gone 2-9 with a 7.56 ERA in 81 innings and hasn't pitched in the Majors since '09 with Baltimore.
Henn was 3-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 43 relief appearances (61 1/3 innings) for Toronto's Triple-A Las Vegas squad last year.
The Mariners -- and all MLB teams -- typically sign about 20 players to Minor League deals with invitations to Major League camp. Last year, four of those players -- Adam Kennedy, Jamey Wright, Ryan Langerhans and Rodriguez -- wound up making the Mariners' Opening Day roster and catchers Chris Gimenez and Josh Bard joined the squad later after starting the season in Tacoma.