11:42am: Graveman’s deal comes with a $1.25MM base salary and another $2.5MM worth of incentives, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). That will give him the opportunity to earn a bit more than the $3.5MM he’d have taken home had the Mariners picked up his option.
11:35am: That was quick. Just one day after declining their $3.5MM club option on Kendall Graveman, the Mariners announced that they’ve re-signed the right-hander to a new one-year, Major League contract for the 2021 season. It’s surely at a lesser rate than that $3.5MM price point, but the Sports One Management client looks as though he’ll be locked in as a member of the team’s bullpen again next season.
Graveman, 29, returned to the Majors in 2020 after missing most of 2018 and all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery. The initial hope was that he’d be a member of the team’s six-man rotation, but Graveman spent much of the year on the injured list due to a neck injury and returned to the club in September as a reliever.
The results upon his return were encouraging, however, as Graveman averaged a career-best 96.4 mph on his sinker and held opponents to four runs on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 10 innings. Three of those runs came in one particularly rough outing, but Graveman allowed just one run in the rest of his bullpen outings combined. He also sported a hefty 55.4 percent ground-ball rate in that time, giving further cause for optimism about his potential as a reliever over the course of a full season.
For Seattle, re-signing Graveman is its first noteworthy order of business in what should be an active winter for its relief corps. After the Mariners’ bullpen finished 2020 last in the AL in ERA and fWAR, general manager Jerry Dipoto declared the M’s would try to add three to four relievers in the offseason.