You guys are lucky. I was planning to come back here and try to find something to write about Prince Fielder, because Prince Fielder. Why Prince Fielder Might Or Might Not Sign With The , Again. Failing that, maybe I'd say something about how the Mariners can't trade for Casey McGehee now that the have, even though I guess they still can. Or maybe I'd say something about Luke Scott, who's been non-tendered and who is barely above my minimum threshold of interest.
But now I don't have to do any of those things, and thus you don't have to read any of those things, because there's actual Mariners news! Mariners news I wasn't really expecting, although I should confess that I didn't give tonight's deadline much thought leading up. Did I mention that there was a deadline tonight?
By 9pm, teams had to tender contracts to all players on their 40-man rosters who weren't already under contract for the 2012 season. The Mariners did tender contracts to Shawn Kelley, Jason Vargas and Brandon League. That shit was obvious. Those three players are eligible for arbitration, and they're in for raises, whether through arbitration or a settlement. Probably a settlement.
The Mariners did not, however, tender contracts to Dan Cortes or Chris Gimenez. Neither Cortes nor Gimenez were eligible for arbitration, so this isn't about saving money; this is just about clearing 40-man roster space. Both Cortes and Gimenez are now free agents, free to negotiate with anyone and likely to negotiate with few.
Cortes, you remember, came over in July 2009 along with Derrick Saito in the Yuniesky Betancourt trade. Saito is gone and now Cortes is gone, meaning this is what the Mariners got out of the deal:
- A loss on a walk-off strikeout
- Not Yuniesky Betancourt
Not a bad return, all things considered, but less of a return than we hoped for, which is funny in retrospect since the M's were dealing Yuniesky Betancourt. Saito was interesting at one point, but nevermind him. Cortes was a hard thrower who looked like he could be a big league reliever. He seemed to make progress in 2010. He subsequently undid a lot of that progress in 2011. He threw way too many balls in Tacoma, he threw way too many balls in Seattle, and his season ended due to an injury sustained in an off-the-field episode. It turns out he had shoulder surgery in October, too, albeit not the terrifying kind of shoulder surgery.
Cortes still throws hard, and he's still 24, so he'll turn up somewhere with an outside shot of making a big league bullpen next March. Cortes is not out of chances. It just looks like he's out of time in Seattle. Hard-throwing relievers like Cortes don't grow on trees, but potentially effective relievers kind of do. They're like moss. They're not technically part of the trees, but damned if they're not still hanging out in them all over the place.
As for Gimenez, it makes sense. The Mariners already had Miguel Olivo and John Jaso to play behind the plate in the bigs. They already had Adam Moore to play behind the plate in Tacoma, and they just brought in Guillermo Quiroz to keep Moore looking over his shoulder like a nervous tourist. I wasn't sure where Gimenez fit, and now Gimenez doesn't have to fit.
If the memory of Cortes is of his walk-off strikeout, then the memory of Gimenez is of the time he severely strained his oblique and then had to play through it because Miguel Olivo had already left due to cramps. Remember the time we were all pissed off at Gimenez for trying two inexplicable bunts and then watching a critical strike three down the pipe? Remember when we found out Gimenez had that weird-ass at bat because he literally couldn't swing? Yeah. He also pulled off a play at the plate. Amazing.
So Gimenez contributed one of the most impressive efforts of the Mariners' season. He also batted .203 and didn't do much of anything in his limited time. It's neat when a player is willing to fight through blinding pain, because I watch sports to watch humans do things I can't do and I'm a complete pussy, but that isn't reason enough to keep a guy on the 40-man roster. If it were, then we'd all be on the Mariners' 40-man roster for continuing to watch through Chone Figgins. Heyyyyyyyyyy
The Mariners could still try to bring Cortes and Gimenez back. The organization really seemed to like Gimenez a lot. But, again, I just don't know where he'd go. You find room for a guy who can play catcher and other positions while hitting a little bit, but Gimenez isn't that guy.