The Mariners have declined to exercise their $3.5MM club option on right-hander Kendall Graveman, as Graveman was listed by the MLB Players Association as one of 147 players who officially entered free agency today. Graveman will instead receive a $500K buyout from the Mariners.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2018, Graveman didn’t pitch in the majors last season but returned to toss 18 2/3 innings for Seattle in 2020. Graveman inked a one-year deal with the Mariners last offseason that paid him $1.5MM in salary for the 2020 season, as well as the $500K minimum in buyout money and the potential for $3MM more if the option was picked up.
The righty started his first two outings before heading to the injured list with what was originally described as neck spasms, but further examination revealed a benign bone tumor in Graveman’s cervical spine. Despite that scary-sounding diagnosis, Graveman not only returned to the mound, but pitched well as a reliever in nine further games — a 3.60 ERA over those 10 relief frames, with three of his four runs allowed coming in one rough outing against the Giants.
Graveman has worked exclusively as a starter since the 2014 season, but his success as a reliever perhaps hinted at a new role for the 29-year-old (who turns 30 in December) going forward. While a new team could still look into Graveman as a starter, he might also market himself as a multi-inning reliever or swingman on the open market.
Whether Graveman joins a new team is also in question, as 710 ESPN’s Shannon Drayer tweets that the Mariners have interest in bringing Graveman back on a new deal. While Graveman’s injuries could quite possibly have led to Seattle declining his option under normal offseason conditions, the Mariners’ decision to punt on the extra $3MM to retain Graveman’s services is perhaps a hint about how the M’s (and other teams) will be cautious with any sort of borderline financial decision this winter in the face of 2020’s revenue losses.
Guess the Mariners really don’t feel like Graveman has anything left to offer. Because essentially it comes down to a $3M decision… and at that price even if they felt all he could do was eat up innings you’d think it’d be worth it. So apparently they don’t even think he can do that…
He’s considered a bullpen piece and $3.5M is way more than he’s likely going to get on the open market with what is likely a bloated group of players.
That was guaranteed money. I highly doubt Graveman is able to get more than 1-1.5 million guaranteed to him in this market. They might give him the opportunity to make 3 million with incentives if they’re interested in a re-union.
He’s got great stuff, I can totally see him coming back to the A’s for a chance at being a closer.
3.6 doesn’t sound like closer material. Little other info provided.
I’m a little surprised. He was starting to show positive signs as a reliever late in the season.
Purely a money decision driven by COVID financial issues. We’ll see lots of potentially useful players cut to save a million here or a million there. It sucks for the player, but there’s also a positive. If he’s only going to get a $1-1 1/2M base, it greatly widens his market. He can pretty much pick from a number of teams.
I’m a little surprised as well… Graveman actually looked like an effective reliever, perhaps he gave up a little too much contact but he threw strikes and ultimately isn’t that what you want in a reliever?
As the article points out it’s the new economic reality…..
Dodgers win the World Series and the only article is about Justin Turner’s positive COVID-19 test. REALLY?
I lost a lot of respect for Justin Turner last night. I completely understand his desire to be out on the field to celebrate with his teammates (and I support that) but he should have kept his mask on the entire time and stayed away from teammates as a courtesy. Not to mention the fact that he was carrying around the WS trophy, and he takes off his mask and kisses his wife on the lips! Then he sits right next to Dave Roberts for the team photo with no mask on. The Dodgers might be trapped in Texas for an extra week now because of this and while I understand he had already been around his teammates before he tested positive, he was extremely irresponsible last night and I just hope he didn’t pass the virus onto the numerous teammates he hugged and celebrated with on the field. It was really selfish and irresponsible of him IMO. Friedman is now faced with handling the damage control too.
So you acknowledged and understood that he was around his teammates and family before he tested positive. He was already infected and already contagious prior to the test coming back positive (assuming it’s accurate). So why did you lose respect for him celebrating with his teammates and kissing his wife? Being out on the field with a mask would be nothing more than a PR move…
When Turners test came back positive, again, assuming it’s accurate, MLB lost. Someone had to infect Turner, which means MLB’s protocols were broken by someone, Turner or a member of the staff. Truth be told, the Rays would have been perfectly in the right to leave the field right there and/or play the game under protest.
Back to Turner, Friedman doesn’t have to worry about damage control, baseball does… if anyone really cares. They need to address how Turner got infected and why it took to the 7th inning or whatever to find out he was. Furthermore, what would have been the appropriate action after Turners positive test? Postpone the game? Quarantine everyone for two weeks and restart the series?
He was also around media, players wives and kids, and many others that he hadn’t previously been around after he came back. So it wasn’t just the teammates and his own family that he had already been around, there was an entire new group of people that he could have possibly infected.
He’s been around them every day. What’s the difference? You didn’t lose respect you never had.
Your mad at Justin Turner because he may or may not(testing is a joke) have a flu virus? Ok.
“ItS jUsT tHe FlU bRo”
Please shut up. It isn’t “just the flu.” Its dangerous for older people, and Turner potentially exposed his team to it
You’re assuming he actually was positive…
We’ll learn in the coming days that this was the work of the Astros in an attempt to screw LA one more time.
Q: Who is a zombie’s favorite baseball player?
A: Kendall GRAVEman!
Baseball Pun: 2nd and 3rd place favorites – BOOg Powell? Joey Bats?
Makes total sense, Covid-19 market place, ample options of similar caliber, and for less than 3mil-could very well still end up on the M’s
But not for 3 million.
Not that confusing at all.
He’ll have a role somewhere, but unlikely he opts to return to the Mariners.
With an FIP of 4.26, Graveman should have no problem securing a major league deal next year but he’s a great example of the type of player who is going to take it on the chin this offseason due to teams’ revenue losses. Given his experience, he would normally command a deal in the $2M-$3M range but he may struggle to find an offer for over $1M this offseason. Free agents and non-tendered players are going to be irate this offseason and it really looks like baseball is heading for a work stoppage after 2021. With interest in baseball already waning, the last thing they need is a work stoppage but it sure seems inevitable unless the players decide to cave, which is highly unlikely give the strength of their union. Baseball is heading for some ugly times.
The free agent market is going to be really interesting. Springer, Realmuto LeMahieu and Bauer are going to get paid and most likely will not see their value drop because of the loss of revenue.
The interesting part is going to be the next tier guys…. I think Ozuna, LaStella Didi, Brantley will be in a good position but Semien, Simmons, Ray, Odorizzi, and other guys who would be looking to score a decent “pillow” contract are going to be in trouble. The Graveman class of guys as you said may be looking at a 60% drop in market price. I think you are going to see a lot of agents pushing one year deals or opt outs in any contract.
I can’t imagine Marcus Stroman securing anything remotely close to market value this off season
Kendall Graveman xFIP of 4.39 and Chris Volstad xFIP 4.30 should both secure some kind of inexpensive deal next year.
Peart of the game
Should try to be a starting pitcher in the NPB for more money
This was probably more about reservations surrounding his health. 3.5 million would be a no-brainer if they felt he could handle a relief role without frequenting the IL.
So, maybe he gets an incentive-laden deal and sticks around? I’d like to see that, If they splurged a little bit to land a closer like Rosenthal, a set-up arm like Trevor May, and maybe a rebound candidate like Sean Doolittle, the blend of youth and experience (throughout the roster) might be enough to push them into the postseason conversation.
A bit shocked. He had decent FIP and is worth the $3.5MM. But maybe there are health concerns.