SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners Notebook: Important offseason dates, M’s roster status and more

Nov 7, 2022, 1:34 PM | Updated: 1:41 pm
Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Mariners' Mitch Haniger hits a two-run home run against Texas on Sept. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Some news, notes and dates to watch for as the not-so-offseason is officially underway for the Mariners and the rest of baseball.

Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez named best rookie in American League by peers

Since the World Series came to an end with the Astros’ win over the Phillies in six games, 141 MLB players have become free agents – 131 announced Saturday morning, and 10 more Monday morning.

The newest additions are players who declined or had options declined by their clubs:

• Xander Bogaerts, SS
• Carlos Correa, SS
• Nelson Cruz, DH/OF
• Zach Davies, RHP
• Zach Eflin, RHP
• Jacob deGrom, RHP
• Jurickson Profar, UT
• Carlos Rodón, LHP
• Robert Suárez, RHP
• Taijuan Walker, RHP

Among the initial list of 131 free agents are five from the Mariners:

• Matthew Boyd, LHP
• Curt Casail, C
• Adam Frazier, 2B/OF
• Mitch Haniger, OF
• Carlos Santana, 1B/DH

As a result, the Mariners’ 40-man roster now sits at 34. Here’s a look, with asterisks denoting a player with no minor league options remaining.

Pitchers (18)

• Brennan Bernardino
• Ryan Borucki*
• Matt Brash
• Luis Castillo
• Diego Castillo
• Matt Festa*
• Chris Flexen*
• Logan Gilbert
• Marco Gonzales
• George Kirby
• Andrés Muñoz
• Penn Murfee
• Robbie Ray
• Paul Sewald*
• Justus Sheffield
• Erik Swanson
• Juan Then
• Luke Weaver*

Catchers (3)

• Brian O’Keefe
• Cal Raleigh
• Luis Torrens*

Infielders (5)

• J.P. Crawford
• Ty France
• Eugenio Suarez
• Abraham Toro
• Evan White

Outfielders (4)

• Jarred Kelenic
• Kyle Lewis
• Alberto Rodríguez
• Julio Rodríguez
• Taylor Trammell
• Jesse Winker

Utility players (2)

• Sam Haggerty
• Dylan Moore

Catcher Tom Murphy and reliever Casey Sadler, who are both currently on the injured list, will need to be added to the 40-man roster by Thursday.

Of note, the Mariners do not have a lot of roster flexibility as it currently stands with the pitching staff, with nine players unable to be sent to the minors due to lack of minor league options or service time in the big leagues.

Starting Thursday, free agents can sign with any team. Thursday at 2 p.m. also marks the deadline for clubs to extend qualifying offers to their own free agents. The qualifying offer – the mean salary of the 125 highest-paid players – has been set at $19.65 million. Players have until Nov. 20 to accept or decline the qualifying offer.

While there has been some speculation the Mariners could tender Mitch Haniger a qualifying offer, at this year’s figure it seems unlikely. Seattle general manager Justin Hollander indicated at the Mariners’ end-of-season press conference that the expectation was Haniger, as a first-time free agent, should/would want to see what his market was. The door appears to remain open, however, on both sides.

While we are still a few days away from teams being able to sign free agents other than their own, trades are a full-go, and that could get a push with the GM meetings taking place Tuesday through Thursday in Las Vegas. Time and time again we have heard from Hollander and Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto that this is where deals originated. In Las Vegas, there will be opportunity for face-to-face meetings with each of the other 29 clubs where actual groundwork for deals can be laid.

Up next on the baseball calendar, awards. Silver Sluggers will be announced Thursday on the MLB Network, and then the focus turns to the major awards that are voted on by BBWAA members. Finalists for the four major MLB awards will be announced on an MLB Network broadcast next Monday night. Winners of the awards will be announced next week on the network in one-hour specials.

• Monday, Nov. 14: Rookie of the Year
• Tuesday, Nov. 15: Manager of the Year
• Wednesday, Nov. 16: Cy Young Award
• Thursday, Nov. 17: MVP

Back to the rosters. Nov. 15 is the deadline for teams to add eligible minor leaguers to the 40-man roster for Rule 5 protection. Nov. 18 is the non-tender deadline, the day clubs must offer arbitration-eligible players contracts for the 2023 season. Players who are non-tendered become free agents.

Of note, the Super Two cutoff was set at 2.128 years, meaning players who exceeded that amount but fell short of three full years were given an extra year of arbitration eligibility. Abraham Toro (2.149) and Kyle Lewis (2.146) fall into this category.

The Mariners’ arbitration-eligible players with MLB Trade Rumors’ estimates:

• Tom Murphy, Arbitration 3, $1.9 million
• Diego Castillo, Arbitration 2, $2.9 million
• Paul Sewald, Arbitration 2, $3.million
• Ryan Borucki, Arbitration 2, $1.1 million
• Casely Sadler, Arbitration 2, $1.025 million
• Dylan Moore, Arbitration 2, $2.0 million
• Erik Swanson, Arbitration 1, $1.4 million
• Luis Torrens, Arbitration 1, $1.2 million
• Ty France, Arbitration 1, $4.7 million
• Abraham Toro, Arbitration 1, $1.4 million
• Kyle Lewis, Arbitration 1, $1.2 million

Interesting decisions ahead for Torrens, Toro and perhaps even Lewis. With the tight option situation in the bullpen, we could see a move with a reliever. All of this could add up to an early trade or a more active non-tender deadline.

Shortly after the non-tender deadline will be what for many years has been the offseason event, the Baseball Winter Meetings, this year held in San Diego from Dec. 5-7. This event used to be accompanied by a flurry of activity but in recent years we have seen more happen before and after the annual meetings. Still, it is an event and one that is much bigger than the GM meetings as more media, more members of organizations and more agents are present.

Among scheduled events at the winter meetings are Hall of Fame announcements. Are you ready for more steroid era debate? Thankfully, this time it will be short lived. Monday morning the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the Contemporary Baseball Era ballot, which will be voted on Dec. 4 at the Winter Meetings by the 16-member Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee.

On the ballot:

• Albert Belle
• Barry Bonds
• Roger Clemens
• Don Mattingly
• Fred McGriff
• Dale Murphy
• Rafael Palmeiro
• Curt Schilling

Any candidate who receives votes on 75% of the ballots will be elected into the Hall of Fame and inducted along with the 2023 class on July 23 at Cooperstown.

New to the Winter Meetings this year is the MLB Draft Lottery, which will be held Dec. 6. For a refresher, under the new collective bargaining agreement, draft order for non-playoff teams is no longer determined by finish; rather, a lottery will determine the top six picks. Weighted odds which will favor the bottom three teams at 16.5 percent assigned, but 18 clubs will have a shot at the top six picks. Picks 7-18 will be assigned in the traditional reverse finish order for the remaining teams.

As always, the final event of the Winter Meetings will be the Rule 5 draft, which takes place Dec. 7.

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