Sign Hisashi Iwakuma to a Minor League Deal, Renegotiate Drew Smyly’s contract, Sign Rene Rivera for 1 year, $3 Million
Lets start with the player who has actually pitched for the Mariners. It is unlikely that Hisashi Iwakuma will have much of a market coming off a shoulder injury. The recovery timeline of his most recent surgery has him beginning his throwing program in late February or early March. He will need time to build up his arm strength and stamina, and Seattle could need some veteran rotation help.
A minor league deal allows Iwakuma to stick around with the Mariners organization, giving him the ability to rehab and work his way back to the majors. Giving Iwakuma a monthly opt-out could be nice insurance for the elder pitcher to make sure he is not stuck in the minors all season long.
If the Mariners wished to add him back to the 40 man, a $1 million base with incentives for starts made makes a lot of sense for both sides.
Drew Smyly is another massive question mark. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in July, it is a true question if Smyly will throw a pitch for the Mariners in 2018. Scheduled to earn over $6 million in 2018, the Mariners cannot afford to waste that money. However, a 2 year deal worth $1-$2 million in year one and a modest $6 million salary in 2019 with aggressive incentives could make sense for each side.
Finally, the Mariners could use a veteran backup catcher. The team could just roll with Mr. Mike Marjama (a substitute teacher in the off-season) as Zunino’s primary backup. But signing Rene Rivera gives Scott Servais a reliable defensive option to play twice a week in Zunino’s stead. A 1 year deal worth $2-$3 million.