Update: according to the team, no contract agreement is in place. That said, I would expect one shortly.
This is one of those things that sounds more meaningful than it really is, since Brendan Ryan was already under team control for the next three seasons. But the have gone ahead and avoided arbitration for the first two of them, giving Ryan the following amount of money:
2011: $1 million
2012: $1.75 million
That doesn't sound very appealing for a utility infielder. It does sound very appealing for an everyday shortstop, which is certainly what the Mariners hope Ryan can become. If he can hit even just a little bit, he should be able to remain in the lineup on a regular basis once Jack Wilson goes away, giving the team a low-cost starter to go along with a whole host of low-cost starters.
Ryan. Dustin Ackley. Michael Saunders. Justin Smoak. Michael Pineda. Jason Vargas. Doug Fister. These guys, along with a lot of the bullpen, stand to fill important roles in 2012 for precious little money, which - if everything goes well - could allow for the front office to be pretty aggressive this coming offseason. It's something to look forward to after an offseason of such limited flexibility.
All I want from Ryan, by the way, is an OPS in the mid-.600s. If he can do that, then we'll all get along.