Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak Won't Cost More Than You Expected

broke buddies - Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

I think what's most allowed me to achieve such a high-profile level of baseball blogging is that I've always had a keen sense for what people want to be reading about. Like right now, it's toward the end of October, it's cold out, and there's nothing going on as we have to wait another day for the start of a World Series that doesn't involve the Seattle Mariners, just like all the other World Series. You might think that what people want to be reading about the Mariners is nothing. But, no, you're absolutely incorrect. Trust me on this one. What people want to be reading about the Mariners is which players narrowly missed the cut for becoming Super 2 players. Nothing stokes fan interest at the beginning of the offseason quite like knowing that young players won't make more money than people already expected them to make.

You probably didn't think that Michael Saunders would be a Super 2, or that Justin Smoak would be a Super 2. Now we have confirmation that Michael Saunders is not a Super 2, and neither is Justin Smoak. Michael Saunders missed becoming a Super 2 player by one day of big-league service time. Justin Smoak missed becoming a Super 2 player because he isn't allowed to be anything with "super" in the title. So this is all approximately as much of a relief as hearing that Hector Noesi qualified for a fourth option year. I'm not going to sleep worse tonight as a consequence of this news, that much is for sure, probably.

A Super 2 player, in case you didn't know, gets four years of arbitration eligibility. A regular player gets three. It isn't an extra year of team control -- it's just that arbitration starts up a year sooner. So Super 2 players tend to have higher salaries. If Saunders and Smoak were Super 2s, the Mariners would probably have to pay them more, but they aren't, so they won't, just as has been suspected. Did anybody even think about this at all before today?

If this is anything for the Mariners, it's very minor good news, because Saunders will be a little bit cheaper than he could've been. But now think about this if you're Michael Saunders. Saunders has two years and 138 days of service time. The cutoff wound up being two years and 139 days of service time. Were Saunders a Super 2 player, he might be looking at his first-ever seven-figure contract. But now he's probably not, because of that one day. Saunders first joined the Mariners on July 25, 2009, when Wladimir Balentien was designated for assignment. Balentien last played as a Mariner on July 23, 2009, and on Friday, July 24, he sat on the bench. If I'm understanding this correctly, then had the Mariners DFA'd Balentien on the 24th instead and called up Saunders, then assuming everything else was the same, Saunders could now plan on becoming a good deal richer. You know what they call that in business? "Foresight." The Mariners anticipated this. The Mariners even anticipated the changes in the CBA to Super 2 eligibility rules. The Mariners might seem absent-minded until you try to get between them and a few hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then suddenly they're sharp as one of Charlie Furbush's elbows.

And that's a lesson in how to bring everything back to complaining about Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln. Screwing players out of their own money! Nice, Canadian players!

So Saunders will remain very affordable, as expected. Smoak will also remain very affordable, as expected, and he wasn't nearly as close to the cutoff. I don't know why I'm even including him in this post, to tell the truth, but I saw his name on that MLB Trade Rumors page and thought "ahh, a Mariner, something to write about!" I hope my desperation isn't that obvious. This is sort of a shame because I would've loved to be a fly on the wall in a Mariners vs. Smoak arbitration hearing. A really intelligent fly, capable of understanding and processing human language. And then I'd hope I have really intelligent fly friends because happiness and knowledge are nothing if not shared. Would the world's greatest story be the world's greatest story if never it were told to another? Something to think about if you're a human, or a really intelligent fly.

Mariners: Mr. Smoak finished 2012 below replacement level and as such it's our belief he actually owes us money.
Mariners: Quite a bit of it, in fact.
Smoak's Agent: I have prepared a PowerPoint presentation entitled "Only September Actually Happened".
Smoak: can you hunt in here

I just realized that now might be the time to try to sign Michael Saunders to a long-term contract before the fences are moved in and his numbers go up and he starts to develop actual self-confidence. Kyle Seager, too, and maybe John Jaso while we're at it. Get 'em while they're vulnerable! This blog post about baseball turned into a blog post about dating.

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