|Friday, January 3
Updated: March 13, 5:56 PM ET
Mariners like Colbrunn's success against lefties
He played last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where Bob Melvin was the bench coach before being named manager of the Mariners in November. And Rene Lachemann, Colbrunn's manager with the Florida Marlins from 1994-96, is now Melvin's bench coach.
"It's kind of weird to have a manager who is now a bench coach and a bench coach who is now a manager," Colbrunn said Friday.
Colbrunn signed a two-year contract worth about $3.6 million -- more with incentives. He earned $1.8 million last season in Arizona, earning an additional $120,000 in incentives.
Melvin pursued the 33-year-old infielder for his leadership and strong hitting against left-handers. Colbrunn hit .333 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI last season and hit .368 with seven homers against lefties.
"In addition to his abilities on the field, he's got a tremendous amount of character," Melvin said. "His veteran leadership and daily approach will fit in very well in our clubhouse."
Mariners vice president Lee Pelekoudas called Colbrunn "our No. 1 priority after we got past signing our own free agents."
"Being a role player, a platoon player, a utility player, whatever you want to call it, you've always got to keep yourself ready to play," Colbrunn said. "You never know when the team is going to need you."
Colbrunn, a career .291 hitter, spent the last four seasons with the Diamondbacks. He played on the 2001 World Series championship team that included Melvin as a bench coach.
"We really like Greg's bat off the bench," general manager Pat Gillick said. "He is a clutch-hitter, he has always hit left-handers very well, he can play the corner infield positions and he's been to the postseason five times."
Colbrunn rejected an arbitration offer by the Diamondbacks, who indicated Matt Williams will be their right-handed option at first base next season. Colbrunn spoke with "a few other teams" but focused on Seattle.
"The Mariners were one of the teams I was most interested in, and they stayed interested," he said.
Colbrunn, who hit for the cycle Sept. 18 in San Diego, missed the opening weeks of the season after off-season arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips in his right elbow.
He also was on the disabled list in July with a strained right calf.
Colbrunn has played with Montreal (1992 to 1993), Florida (1994 to 1996), Minnesota (1997), Atlanta (1997 to 1998), Colorado (1998) and Arizona (1999 to 2002).