Drayer: Mariners settle with Haniger, 2 other arbitration eligible players
The Mariners headed into the offseason with 10 arbitration eligible players on their roster. After a number of roster moves, only three remained and before the Friday deadline for teams to settle with their arbitration eligible players or exchange salary figures ahead of a February hearing, all three accepted contracts.
The Mariners have avoided arbitration with Mitch Haniger, Mallex Smith and Sam Tuivailala, all in their first year of arbitration eligibility.
Haniger is coming off his least productive season as a Mariner due in large part to injuries which limited him to just 63 games. In that short period of time however, he was able to accumulate 1.4 WAR, the third highest posted by any position player remaining on the Mariners roster. Mlbtraderumors.com had projected him to earn a salary of $3 million in arbitration and he settled at salary $10,000 over that figure.
Smith, who led MLB in stolen bases but hit just.227/.300/.335/.635 and struggled defensively has agreed to a deal worth $2.35 million. Tuivailala who returned in mid-July from a torn achilles and posted a 2.35 ERA with a 0.8 WAR will earn $800,000 in 2020.
Had any of these players not come to agreement with the team the two sides would have been required to exchange salary numbers. If they could not come to agreement before their arbitration hearing -which would be scheduled between Feb. 3 and Feb. 21- the case would be heard before a panel and a decision on one salary number of the other would be made.
The Mariners rarely go to arbitration with players and have had only 2 cases heard in the last 20 years with the most recent being reliever Tom Wilhelmsen in 2014.
With the new salaries the Mariners 26-man roster estimated payroll is just under $100 million.