The Seattle Mariners pitching staff keeps getting thinner and thinner. It appeared that the Mariners were going to offer Randy Wolf a starting job in the rotation (at least until Taijuan Walker or Hisashi Iwakuma were ready).
But a dispute over a piece of paper has led to Wolf requesting a release from the club and the Mariners granting it.
The paper in question is called a “45-Day Consent Release”. What it does is allow a team to release a player within the first 45 days of the regular season without owing them their contract.
Wolf is coming off Tommy John surgery in 2012 but posted a 4.26 ERA in five Cactus League starts. Wolf would be owed $1 million if he was on the final 25-man roster and up to an additional $4.25 million in incentives.
But with Walker and Iwakuma coming back within the first 45 days of the season, I’m wagering that the club was planning on releasing him at that time, Wolf recognized it and asked to be released now.
“I principally objected to that, simply because we negotiated in good faith in February on a very team-friendly contract if I were to make the team,” Wolf said. “I felt like I came in in amazing shape, I pitched great, I earned a spot on the team. They told me I earned a spot on the team and, to me, that advanced-consent thing is kind of renegotiating the contract. So I told them I wouldn’t sign it. I disagreed with that.”
Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik was disappointed that Wolf took offense to the insurance policy.
“All we did was ask Randy to sign the 45-day clause, which is very common,” said Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. “It’s not unusual; it happens a lot. All it does is give us a degree of protection. We didn’t have any fear of anything happening with Randy, but he hasn’t been on the mound in a Major League Baseball game [since 2012]. We think he’s going to be fine, but there’s the unknown of a veteran guy that hasn’t pitched for a year and a half.”
“We made it reasonably clear yesterday that we’d give him the opportunity to break with us, but we also wanted him to sign the 45-day clause for that to happen, and he refused to do it,” Zduriencik said. “He had his reasons why. Again, we were within our legal rights under baseball’s Basic Agreement, and that’s where the misunderstanding came in.”
“Randy felt strongly that he’s come in and pitched his way onto the club and had every right to basically pitch the entire year, or whatever, and be paid the salary accordingly. We just saw it a little differently.”
There are now only five healthy pitchers on the roster that have made starts this spring. So, it appears that your starting rotation (at least for the first few weeks) will be: Felix Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, James Paxton, Roenis Elias and Blake Beavan. Though Hector Noesi could still be in the mix.