2011 Contract Issues: Seattle Mariners

The Mariners face three contractual options after the season:

  • Ian Snell has a $6.75MM club option.  If Snell's 2010 work resembles his 2008-09 performance, they'll let him go.
  • Jose Lopez has a $4.5MM club option with a $250K buyout.  If the option is declined, Lopez will still be arbitration-eligible.  Lopez may be traded at some point, but the option appears likely to be exercised.
  • Erik Bedard has an $8MM mutual option that can increase based on performance.  As usual, we find it unlikely for both sides to exercise.

The Mariners free agents after the season include Cliff Lee, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Sweeney, and Eric Byrnes.  The group is earning over $12MM this year, led by Lee.  About $18MM will be freed up if everyone aside from Lopez departs.

An additional $11.5MM must be allocated toward players under contract, with Felix Hernandez's $3.5MM the biggest bump.  The Mariners will owe raises to Ryan Rowland-Smith, Garrett Olson, Jack Hannahan, Sean White, and Jason Vargas as first-time arbitration players.  David Aardsma and Mark Lowe go for a second time, Brandon League a third, and Casey Kotchman a fourth.  Some of these players figure to be non-tendered.

Despite a busy offseason, the Mariners trimmed payroll by about $8MM this year according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.  Payroll will have to come back up for the Mariners to have spending money in the offseason.

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