Today was the deadline for teams to either tender contracts to players not under contract for the next season or allow them to become free agents. “Tendering” a contract isn’t tied to a specific salary at this juncture for arbitration-eligible players, but is a promise the player and club will exchange salary figures over the next months and try to come to an agreement. If the two sides can’t agree on a figure before the filing deadline (usually sometime in January), the two sides then go to arbitration, which can be a messy, vicious process that can directly pit players against ownership. In the past the Mariners have endeavored to avoid arbitration, although last year went through arbitration with both Diego Castillo and new acquisition Teoscar Hernández; the players lost both cases.
This year’s arbitration-eligible players included: Ty France (projected for $7.2M), Logan Gilbert ($4.9M), Josh Rojas ($3.5M), Justin Topa ($1.5M), Trent Thornton ($1.4M), Luis Torrens ($1.3M) and Sam Haggerty (800K).
The Mariners announced tonight that they tendered contracts to all of the above players except Torrens, who elected earlier in the off-season to become a free agent. Additionally, they also tendered a contract to Luis Urías, just acquired in the Isaiah Campbell trade. Of the arbitration-eligible players tendered contracts, only France and Gilbert were with the team prior to the 2023 season. With 30 players tendered contracts and 10 already under contract, the Mariners 40-man roster is currently full.
Other notable players who were non-tendered today include former Mariners Kyle Lewis and Daniel Vogelbach; the Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff and Rowdy Tellez; and former second overall pick Nick Senzel, non-tendered by the Reds. Obviously, Woodruff, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, would be an intriguing candidate for a two-year deal, not just for the Mariners but for many teams. Senzel is of particular interest: as a prospect he drew praise for his speed and power combination as well as his strong, accurate arm at third, but found himself behind current Mariner Eugenio Suárez for the third base job and was shifted to center; he then went on to battle a litany of injuries that make Monty Python’s Black Knight look like the picture of health. When he’s been healthy, however, he’s showed tantalizing flashes of his top-prospect self; a change of scenery and a new group of faces—in the coaching rooms and the training rooms—might be just what the doctor ordered.