The Mariners enhanced their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani on Wednesday night, trading well-regarded catching prospect David Banuelos to the Twins for $1 million in international bonus pool space.
The additional space gives the Mariners $2.55 million they can offer Ohtani, according to the Seattle Times.
It was the second such deal the Twins made with an AL West club in pursuit of Ohtani. They acquired Angels outfield prospect Jacob Pearson on Wednesday in exchange for $1 million as well.
David Banuelos, C (Short-season Everett)
Banuelos was a First Team All-American at Long Beach State and arguably the top defensive catcher in the 2017 draft. The Mariners picked him in the fifth round and signed him for $300,000. Banuelos is a stout receiver and blocker and widely projects as a future above-average-to-plus defender behind the plate. His best tool is a plus arm that threw out 60 percent of basestealers in college and 38 percent in his pro debut. On top of it all, Banuelos is bilingual and earns raves for his leadership skills and how he handles his pitchers. Banuelos' hitting ability is fringy but he has some usable pop and knows the strike zone. Overall evaluators see Banuelos as a Jose Molina or Rene Rivera type who can carve out a long big league career as a stout defender.