2013 Contract Issues: Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (5)

  • Ichiro Suzuki - Sentimentality only goes so far, as the Mariners know from Ken Griffey Jr.'s return to Seattle. Yet it's hard to imagine Ichiro in another team's uniform and he appears to prefer Seattle to other potential suitors. He won't be earning $17MM per season, no matter where he plays.
  • Brandon League - Nothing screams 'trade candidate' like established relievers nearing free agency on non-contenders. It won't be surprising if the Mariners trade League this summer. Hopefully for Seattle, potential suitors aren't put off by the right-hander's declining peripherals.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma - Manager Eric Wedge hasn't used Iwakuma much (four appearances in the team's first 43 games). That in itself could be an indication that he's not part of the Mariners' long-term plans.
  • George Sherrill - The left-hander will miss the remainder of the season to recover from Tommy John surgery.
  • Kevin Millwood - GM Jack Zduriencik did well to add Millwood to the rotation on a low-risk deal. The right-hander figures to sign another short-term, low-risk contract this coming offseason whether he's back in Seattle or pitching elsewhere.
  • Munenori Kawasaki - The infielder has the right to elect free agency for the purposes of going back to Japan but not to explore other opportunities in MLB.

Contract Options (1)

  • Miguel Olivo: $3MM club option. If at the end of the season the Mariners don't believe Jesus Montero is a future catcher, there could be a role for Olivo on next year's team. He has his shortcomings on offense and on defense, but he hits lefties, which makes him a suitable complement to the left-handed hitting John Jaso.

Arbitration Eligible (4)

This relatively small arbitration class doesn't figure to generate many headlines, but Vargas could be an exception. He's building a case for another substantial raise via arbitration and it's hard not to wonder if the Mariners might cash in on him soon, while his salary's just $4.85MM, and obtain a couple of controllable players in a trade. Contenders will be looking for pitching help before long and Vargas' durability should generate interest.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Mariners have committed $40MM to next year's team, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Ownership has been lowering payroll in recent years, and the 2012 team will cost approximately $85MM. GM Jack Zduriencik should have financial flexibility this coming offseason when he looks to round out his pitching staff and add some offense.

34 Responses to 2013 Contract Issues: Seattle Mariners Leave a Reply

  1. johnsilver 3 years ago

    Seattle has to bring back Olivo, or find a cheaper defensive catcher and Ichiro had better be prepared for a skinny wallet next season.

    For a team that will probably lose 100 games? this team has a lot of roster decisions.. Ichiro, Olivo, League and lets not forget about Aardsma, who should be ready come 2013.

    Smoak and Montero are the future, but probably should begin just getting Montero ready for his future role as DH and send him to play winter ball as a 1b and let him fill in as Smoak’s replacement when he rests there.. Have watched him a few games and he is BAD as a catcher. If Seattle ever does get good (and they will) his throwing will be more in the light and the stolen bases against him brought up more. As it is? When you are down 5 runs by the 3rd inning, teams stop running.

    • Haha, 100 games? The Mariners won’t lose 100 games in 2012.
      Actually, the Angels might 100 games this year not the Mariners! =P

    • chico65 3 years ago

      I think Ichiro might have another 3-4 years left in him if his legs continue to hold up, and if he does he has a chance at 3000- obviously no small feat given his (relatively) abbreviated career.  Besides, who else do the M’s have?  Catricala?  Chiang?  Castillo?  It’ll be awhile before they’re ready to seize a full-time job, if ever.

      • The internal choices to replace Ichiro will be Wells, Pequero or Saunders (if Gutierrez comes back). RF could also be a nice fit for a FA bat (Hamilton? Dreaming). Ichiro should not be resigned at any cost unless he 1) plays GG caliber SS or 2) signs a minor league deal to pitch out of the bullpen. Once Ichiro, Figgins and Olivo are gone this is one of the youngest teams in MLB. Ackley, Carp, Saunders and Seager have all been around long enough that they shouldn’t need a “veteran presence” on the roster to help out the young kids.

        • Eric 3 years ago

          Just because Ichiro probably won’t get his 200 hits per season again, is no reason to consider him an invalid option for Seattle’s everyday RF, but on a short-term deal this time. 

      • Eric Knowles 3 years ago

        god help us if Ichiro is back another year. Any knowledgeable baseball fan knows that a singles hitter getting paid $17M in the outfield signifcantly kills our batting order.

        • chico65 3 years ago

          Who said anything about continuing to pay him 17MM?  And given the shape of the Mariner offense, any hits are good, even singles.  Batting him 3rd is just plain batty though.  

    • 100 losses there is no way Seattle loses 100 games this year. they could potentially be a .500 team and aardsma he is a yankee. You really need to know your facts before you post.

    • Danthebaseballman 3 years ago

      David Aardsma is on the Yankees

    • Bob9988 3 years ago

      You obviously haven’t watched this team all year.  If League doesn’t blow all the saves he has and we weren’t running out a talented but young relief corp, the M’s actually would be just a game behind Texas.  This team is young and making young mistakes.  And Montero is as good defensively as Olivo is right now.  You prolly watched that horrible game he had catching Felix.  FYI, no one knows how to catch Felix, that’s why hitters cant hit him either.  Smoak isn’t done, he was just missing pitches by fractions of an inch and fouling them straight back, he has started to correct that.  This team will get better all year, and come next year will start to compete.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        ” Smoak isn’t done, he was just missing pitches by fractions of an inch”

        Never said he was done and like the guy. My comment on Montero was he should play winterball as a 1b in order to fill in as a replacement when Smoak rests.. As in a day off and DH otherwise.

        Yes, Montero caught Felix at least 1 game saw Montero behind the plate, though he still has slow movements behind the dish regardless and with any pitcher it is still the same. not sure he will ever be able to overcome it to any degree. Lavarnway with Boston has this issue also. Maybe they both will become adequate C at the MLB level and not have to rely on just their bat to keep them there. Lavarnway of course whenever they can find a spot with Salty and ortiz in his way…

        • Kyle Tomko 3 years ago

          Where are you getting slow movements from? he is pretty mobile back that he just makes rookie mistakes he’ll grow into it he doesnt need to learn first until later in his career..

          As for Smoak I think he is done unless he strictly hits left handed he isn’t good at either side of the plate because he doesn’t focus on one side he needs to focus on one side of the plate

          I think Seattle will be above 500 this year especially if our pitching finds their groove and Ryan is moved to utility and Chone released and Franklin is brought up.

    • Eric 3 years ago

      I’m pretty sure Aardsma signed a deal with the Yankees.

    • Kasey Shibayama 3 years ago

      “and lets not forget about Aardsma”

      sorry, but Aardsma is on the Yanks!

    • Edgar4evar 3 years ago

      You imply that Olivo is a defensive catcher. Olivo can do about two things right: throw out runners and hit lefty pitching. And the things he can’t do right he does extremely wrong. He’s a backup, and one you never want to see face a righty. I would rather see the best catcher in the M’s minor league system than him next year.

  2. First Suzuki, then Kawasaki. It’s a huge coverup for how the Mariners are going to eventually trademark the names and sue every Japanese car company!

  3. Kyle Tomko 3 years ago

    Hey JohnSilver Aardsma isnt on the team anymore he signed with someone else. Obviously you havent watched many catchers because except for his one slip up he has played pretty decently and Im not just saying that so are the scouts..Also unless smoak gets over .250 batting average he will probably be gone next year! Glad I could inform you :)

    • johnsilver 3 years ago

      Cheers on Aardsma.. saw he signed a MiLB deal earlier and didn’t know he was gone now..

      Admit haven’t watched “many” Mariner games as rotate with late night (for me) MLB games and Seattle isn’t one of the teams who focus on, tho the ones have seen? Montero does not seem to move very well behind the dish and his throwing does not look very good at all.. Yes.. I have only seen.. Maybe half a dozen games? it’s a short look so far.

      Hey Lefty.. I like the Orioles, you know that and have since Weaver was around, but you gotta be ready man.. These standings around the league are going to turn around some.. there are some teams atop that just are going to fall somewhat and I gotta’ believe the O’s are 1. Yes.. Man I’d love to see the O’s pull it off and say that as a big time Sox fan, but it’s been so long since the O’s have won, Duke in charge, blah, blah…

      Baltimore just has too many guys playing as good as they can and it’s going to level off. Teams with massive injuries and going to get better. NY is going to buy some people.. It’s going to happen lefty..

      • Haha, I wasn’t that harsh on ya Silver. I feel your pain here today, because I know what it’s like to be devoured.

        As for my O’s, they need to either spend or trade
        I would go for Lind and Headley, and let Oswalt play for the Rangers.
        However, Duquette and Angelos have given no indication that they want to gamble this year. If anything the “Duke” has said he’s going to build through the draft and he seems to be sticking to that plan with zero deviations. It’s been a point of frustration since he’s started with the O’s.

        • johnsilver 3 years ago

           Oh I wasn’t trying to be mean there and knew u weren’t.

          Man tho.. I just don’t know how long some of the O’s can keep it up.. Some of those guys are “maxed out” if you know what I mean? How long can Adam Jones keep this up? Hammel? The BP has been impeccable thus far even while some of the rotation has stuttered. It’s like everything has fallen together perfect and they are winning on the road of all places.

          Now not all of the team is clicking just right.. I expect Arrietta to look more like the guy watched on opening day than the man who has been on the mound since, but some of the rest have been the opposite.

          Now.. IF they can keep this up come… July?? You have a valid point and there is just about nobody one would prefer to have in charge that The Duke come time to scour the net for pieces.. he’s got an eye for finding the right one and getting them for pennies on the dollar.

  4. I’m sure Aardsma will be ready by 2013, but he’s with the Yankees now.

  5. Kyle Tomko 3 years ago

    link to mlbtraderumors.com you go silver

  6. Smaok may not be able to hit.

  7. mwxiao 3 years ago

    Actually Ichiro leaving Seattle would be a win-win for both of them.  M’s need to rebuild and look into the future.  Ichiro can find a team where he can contribute in the playoffs.  Ichiro can get on base but needs help from the guys hitting behind him.

  8. Kyle Tomko 3 years ago

    Ichiro wont play for another MLB team if Seattle doesnt resign him he will go back to japan and make 20mil a year there lol

  9. MarinersFan1977 3 years ago

    Olivo hits left-handers?!!??? NOT! .203 last year with a .243 OBP, which were worse than his overall numbers. Small sample this year, but .190 against LHP with 0 of his 3 HRs. Olivo is one of the worst players in the Majors. Seattle badly needs to move on from this clown. Glad you didn’t mention how the pitchers love him! If they like him so much they can send him a Christmas card in december…

    • Kyle Tomko 3 years ago

      I think he is referring to his career numbers which is .276

  10. Greggo18 3 years ago

    Why do I constantly hear, “Trade Vargas, trade Vargas?” That would be just plain stupid. NEVER trade effective pitching. The M’s would spend years trying to replace him. They spent years trying to replace Cammy in CF and he still had better numbers than any of the replacements right up to his retirement. The BIG THREE are not here or MLB proven yet. And for those that want to throw the baby out with the bath water (Smoak, Saunders, et al) due to early low numbers, just remember how Adam Jones started out for us. Wasn’t very pretty. His numbers now are .307 with 14 HRs. Be patient and give them a chance. Everything could be better but this team is starting to build some character and chemistry. The GM needs to take the lid off this team (you know who I mean) relieve the pressure, eat the contract, and get on with building a better ball club, winning games and series, filling the seats, and improving the value of the franchise. The M’s won’t make the playoffs this year and even if they do they won’t go anywhere. So let ’em play and see what we have.

  11. Eric 3 years ago

    The M’s have alot of financial flexibility in the coming off season. However, if recent history has taught us anything, ownership will probably drop payroll just under 80M for 2013. Fortunately, that still leaves around 30M after arbitration (if Vargas isn’t traded). 

  12. Eric 3 years ago

    The M’s should decline Olivo’s option. Let Montero catch everyday and use Jaso as the back-up catcher. Smoak’s bat is coming around, and he will continue to be the regular 1B. They have Ackley at 2B, and Seager at 3B, but need offensive production from SS. Ryan might be back as insurance, but I totally expect the M’s to promote Franklin to AAA for the remainder of the season (he has a .896 OPS over 122 at-bats). Therefore, I would expect to see Franklin get a real shot to make the team out of spring training as the regular SS. Carp really doesn’t belong in LF, DHing his seems more appropriate. This is where the team could add some legitimate power, and they will have the money to pursue Andre Ethier, or even Josh Hamilton to patrol LF! With Gutierrez under contract, I hope he heals up and is back in at CF for the M’s sooner rather than later. I still see the M’s resigning Ichiro for RF for a lower salary. And again, Carp at DH. 

    • Franklin is going to be a beast!

    • Edgar4evar 3 years ago

      I really think you need to keep Montero as a C/DH and rotate him and Jaso pretty much the way they’ve been doing since Olivo went down. It’s a bit risky if you need to move your DH to C, so they’ll want to have someone who’s passable as an emergency catcher. But you don’t want Montero taking the beating behind the plate for 75% of the games so you need a heavy rotation. So when Montero catches you could play Carp at DH and keep a good lefty bat in there.

      I wouldn’t count on Franklin next year as he’s still really young at 20 years old. Maybe partway through next season? I agree he looks awesome though. Thing is at SS he needs to hit pretty well to make up for the dropoff in defense we’re likely to see from Ryan. Ryan is starting to hit the ball really well lately and is taking a lot of walks this year. If he figures things out with the bat we might have a real star on our hands.

      With the outfield starting to get crowded I seriously doubt the M’s re-sign Ichiro. Saunders has played his way into the picture as a left field option if Guti comes back healthy. His defense in left would be really nice at Safeco. You also have Wells and Carp and the team still seems to like Peguero who you’d want to stash in right field if he plays anywhere but DH. If they spend money I hope they would focus on guys like Either or Hamilton. I doubt they spend that much money, however. I think they’re selling this team and will just let they payroll drop after Ichiro leaves.

  13. Aidan Smith 3 years ago

    Miguel Olivo is terrible, below average defender with an awful bat. Stay away

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