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Mariners sign Jayson Werth to minor-league deal

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Werth played in just 70 games with the Nationals last season.

MLB: NLDS-Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners have signed free agent outfielder Jayson Werth to a minor-league deal, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports.

Werth will spend an entended spring training in Peoria, Arizona to shake off the rust before reporting to Triple-A Tacoma, where he will look to begin a path back to the major leagues.

The 38-year-old has played 15 seasons in the major leagues, with his finest seasons coming with the Phillies during the World Series runs in 2008 and 2009. Werth turned in quality seasons with the Nationals from 2011-2013, but his production has been in steady decline ever since. In just 70 games last season, Werth finished with a .393 slugging percentage and an OPS+ of 84. In his last full season in 2016, he finished with a 97 OPS+ and 21 home runs.

Werth’s path to the Mariners’ major league roster could prove difficult. The team recently brought back Ichiro Suzuki to be a veteran presence in the outfield, while Guillermo Heredia, Mitch Haniger and newly acquired Dee Gordon will likely be the Opening Day outfield until Ben Gamel returns from an oblique strain.