KANSAS CITY -- As the Mariners head to Oakland for two games with the A's, they'll pick up a new first baseman along the way. And manager Scott Servais says the addition of Yonder Alonso, acquired from the A's on Sunday, is another sign the Mariners have a playoff berth directly in their sights.
"Anytime you've got a chance to get better, you've got to go for it," Servais said after general manager Jerry Dipoto acquired Alonso for Minor League outfielder Boog Powell. "We've got a chance to get in this Wild Card."
Alonso is only under contract for two more months. So while Dipoto said there could be longer-term interest in the 30-year-old, this conceivably will be a short-term addition for a club that sits a game and a half back of the Royals for the second American League Wild Card berth going into an off day on Monday.
Servais said Alonso will be used in a platoon with Danny Valencia at first base. The left-handed hitting Alonso has a .286/.391/.557 slash line against right-handed pitching this year, compared to Valencia's .258/.301/.397.
"It's a left-handed bat and he's having a very good season," Servais said of the 2017 All-Star Alonso. "I think it makes our club better. Danny has done a really nice job for us, but we'll mix and match those guys up and I think it'll make us better and hopefully help our run production."
With Felix Hernandez now joining Hisashi Iwakuma on the disabled list with an issue in his right biceps, the Mariners are patching things together with a rotation that also has been minus Drew Smyly all year.
"It's hard to get pitching right now, as you can tell," Servais said. "So we'll look at trying to bolster our offense a little against right-handed pitching."
The Mariners will need to make a roster move Tuesday to open a spot for Alonso, with long reliever Casey Lawrence the logical choice to be sent back to Triple-A Tacoma as they'll no longer be able to carry an extra pitcher with the return to a first-base platoon.
Servais noted that Valencia, a former third baseman, has played well at first base this year and will continue getting opportunities against southpaws. As for the two veterans handling a time share?
"It's funny," Servais said. "Danny and Yonder are long-time best friends. They're both from the Miami area and know each other very well. They played together in college [at Miami] and with Oakland before. So we'll mix and match it and try to get the most out of those guys."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.