Today is the final day for all MLB teams, including your Seattle Mariners, to tender contract offers for all arbitration-eligible players. Failure to do so would result in these players becoming free agents.
With over 250 contracts needing to be tendered to potential free agents, we should see a lot of action today. Some players will be non-tendered, some will sign a contract, and some may be traded. But don’t expect to hear a lot from the Mariners today.
Seattle has 6 players eligible for arbitration. They are Tim Beckham, Mallex Smith, Mitch Haniger, Omar Narvaez, Domingo Santana, and Sam Tuivailala. And herein lies the reason for the potential lack of involvement for Seattle.
Similar to the 40-man roster add, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto did a lot of this work earlier in the off-season. Seattle originally had 10 players eligible for arbitration, but Ryon Healy and Keon Broxton were released, and Anthony Bass and Matt Wisler were waived and claimed.
Mallex Smith, Mitch Haniger, Omar Narvaez, and Sam Tuivailala are all locks to be tendered contracts today. Seattle is reported to be aggressively shopping Narvaez so a deal could pop today, though Narvaez’s potential 2020 salary won’t play a factor for the team’s efforts to move him.
On the flip side, the Mariners will surely not offer a contract to Tim Beckham, who began the year as the team’s shortstop before moving to a utility role once J.P. Crawford established himself in the big leagues.
Beckham was a usable bat, but was hit with an 80-game suspension in August and will miss time at the beginning of 2020 serving the remainder of his sentence. With Crawford locked in at short and Dylan Moore and Tim Lopes looking like more than competent utility options, there is no space for Beckham on the roster.
The only real suspense revolves around Domingo Santana. The outfielder is coming off a mixed bag season in Seattle. When healthy, he was a well-above-average bat while also being one of the worst defensive outfielders ever. But he missed most of the last 70 games with elbow issues and is now part of a crowded outfield mix.
Santana is probably best suited for the DH, where Seattle plans to deploy Dan Vogelbach. Santana isn’t likely to start 2020 with the Mariners, so a non-tender isn’t out of the question. But with a projected salary of just $4 million and a decent chance to be traded, not tendering him would seem foolish.
The Mariners have until 5 PM to decide what to do with their 6 players, although they have likely already made their decisions. Dipoto may make a trade today, but don’t expect to hear much out of the Mariners.