The Mariners announced Tuesday that they have declined the team option on OF Denard Span for the 2019 season. Were the team to exercise Span’s option, he would have been paid $12M for the 2019 season after making $9M last season.
Add Denard Span's name to the list of Mariners free agents as the team has declined the $12 million option. Span will be paid a $4 million buyout.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) October 30, 2018
With Cameron Maybin entering free agency back on Monday, the Mariners are left with Mitch Haniger, Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia, and Dee Gordon as outfielders on the roster. There’s a handful of positions that aren’t necessarily clearly defined as we head into the 2018-19 offseason, particularly considering the effect that Robinson Cano’s return has on Dee Gordon and how he’ll fit into the club’s plans in 2019.
As Grant pointed out Tuesday morning, the club figures to be about $11M away from where payroll was at when the 2018 season ended, and with Gordon’s uncertain status on the roster and a crop out free agent outfielders consisting of A.J. Pollock, Michael Brantley, and Andrew McCutchen among many other options, I’d expect to see the team bring an at least one guy on a major league deal for the 2019 season. It’s worth noting that the pool of free agent corner outfielders is significantly deeper than that of center fielders, so if the club feels comfortable entering the season with Haniger and/or Gordon patrolling center field, there’ll be a much longer list of potential fits up for grabs.
After being acquired along with Alex Colome from the Tampa Bay Rays back in May, Span accumulated 0.9 fWAR while serving as the Mariners’ primary left fielder. His 112 wRC+ was good for fourth on the team, just ahead of Jean Segura.