The Mariners are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.
- First time: Josh Kinney ($700K), John Jaso ($1.7MM)
- Second time: Shawn Kelley ($900K)
- Third time: Jason Vargas ($7.4MM), Brendan Ryan ($2.3MM)
At 1.45 per nine innings, Vargas' home run rate ranked seventh-worst in baseball among qualified starters this year. With the Mariners moving their fences in for 2013, Vargas' gopheritis could become an even larger problem at a time when his salary is expected to exceed $7MM. On the surface, his 2012 performance of a 3.85 ERA in 217 1/3 innings seems like it'd have mild trade value even at our projected salary. On the other hand, the Diamondbacks were unable to find a trade partner for a similar pitcher in Joe Saunders in advance of last year's non-tender deadline and chose to cut him loose. Saunders had a higher projected salary than Vargas does, but Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik will have to make a tough decision by the November 30th non-tender deadline.
Ryan, the Mariners' starting shortstop, finished a multiyear deal and projects at a fairly modest raise through arbitration. His offense was worse than ever this year, but his unparalleled glovework coupled with the team's lack of an MLB-ready replacement should compel the Mariners to keep him around.
Jaso, Kelley, and Kinney should be in good standing for 2013. Relievers Kelley and Kinney both spent time in the minors this year, but each whiffed more than a batter per inning in the bigs and should earn less than a million bucks.
Center fielder Michael Saunders falls one day short of the projected Super Two cutoff. If he were to snag Super Two status, we project him for $1.6MM.
Assuming Kinney, Jaso, Kelly, Vargas, and Ryan are retained, we're estimating a $13MM commitment for five arbitration eligible players.
Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors. To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts. For more on the Mariners' offseason outlook, read Ben Nicholson-Smith's recent article.