MONTGOMERY, Ala. – It's been a busy few days for former Huntingdon catcher Joseph Odom.
After four years in the Atlanta Braves minor league system, Odom was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 14.
"The past four years have been great. It's been a blessing to be with the Braves organization," Odom said. "Going to the Mariners opens up the opportunity to play more and try to get to the big league. We'll see where this journey takes me."
The Rule 5 Draft is held annually during Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings. Players eligible for the draft can't be on their major league organization's 40-man roster, must have been in the minor leagues for at least four years (if signed after age 19) or have been in the minor leagues for at least five years (if signed before the age of 19).
The Mariners took first baseman Mike Ford (New York Yankees) in Round 1 of the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft and selected Odom from the Braves in Round 1 of the minor league phase of the draft.
Along with Tyler Baker (Arizona Diamondbacks), Odom was one of two catchers taken by the Mariners. According to MLB.com, the Mariners are looking to shore up the catching position and both Odom and Baker are, "regarded as solid defensive backstops with good leadership skills."
Mariners' director of scouting Tom Allison told Ryan Davish of the Seattle Times, "We needed to fill in some holes and bring in some competition for spring training."
Of Odom, Allison told the Times, "We really like some of the framing things he does and his leadership skills. It's something that sticks out. He's been a good player when he's been on the field."
A 13th-round draft pick by the Braves in 2013, Odom missed time with an injury last season. He appeared in 28 games (with Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett) and batted .266 with one home run, eight RBIs and five runs.
"I think this is a really good opportunity for him," Huntingdon baseball coach D.J. Conville said. "It's a little bit of a fresh start. I know the Mariners are excited about having him and he is excited about the opportunity and the doors it could open for him."
Odom, who has reported to major league spring training the past two seasons, said he hasn't been told where he will report yet and doesn't expect to find out until after the first of the year. In the meantime, the Vestavia Hills, Ala., native said he is continuing his offseason training and will be ready.
"We haven't talked about spring training yet. Last year, it was early January when I found out. So, I imagine I will hear something in the next month or so," Odom said. "Right now, I'm pulling two-a-days, working in the weight room, conditioning and working on baseball drills. This is the time of year to work on your craft and condition yourself to get physically ready for the long season ahead."