Options

Last night in the press box at Safeco Field, Mariners baseball information maven Jeff Evans passed out his annual winter information sheet that includes the contract status of every player on the Mariners 40-man roster.

He includes a list of players who have option years remaining, and those who are out of options.

As a refresher, a player who is on the Mariners 40-man roster can be optioned to a minor league affiliate during three different seasons. Most players get protected on the 40-man roster and optioned to the minors before they ever actually reach the major leagues – sometimes as many as three years prior.

If a player has used all three of his option years, he cannot be sent directly to the minors: he first must be placed on waivers, and any other MLB team can claim him as long as they keep him in the major leagues.

Players who are out of options for 2013 include the following: Mike Carp, Josh Kinney, Hector Noesi, Trayvon Robinson, and Casper Wells. These players, assuming they are in spring training with the Mariners next year, will have to make the opening day roster or be exposed to waivers.

There are others, too, but they are established major leaguers who we would never get sent to Tacoma, such as Jason Vargas.

Most of the members of the Mariners 40-man roster still have at least one option year remaining. Some of the surprises (to me) on the list include Justin Smoak, Eric Thames, and Carlos Peguero. Also, Alex Liddi has an option year.

After giving the list some consideration, two thoughts came to mind:

The Mariners are in a good position with Smoak. Smoak’s recent hot streak has provided some hope for 2013, but if he gets off to a terrible start, they can still send him to Triple-A for one last chance to try to work things out. This delays any huge decisions regarding Smoak for another year.

For Robinson and Wells, this will be the biggest off-season of their careers. They will both need to come into spring training and establish themselves as major leaguers, or else they face the possibility of being removed from the 40-man roster and possibly looking at minor league free agency.

We’ll talk a lot more about this type of stuff as we get deep into the off-season.

Links:

  • The Mariners announced that they are going to move the left field fence in a few feet at Safeco Field, with the work being done this off-season. Mariners players seem excited about the move. John McGrath? Not so much. Jerry Brewer has some clear-headed thoughts on the situation.
  • News Tribune beat writer Larry LaRue covered his final Mariners game last night – he’s moving to a new job at the paper as a city columnist. Here is his final game story – a Mariners win!
  • Starter Hisashi Iwakuma tossed another gem yesterday, and then came up with a money quote after the game. Personally, I think the team needs to resign Iwakuma – he came over from Japan on a one-year deal and will be a free agent. He struck out Albert Pujols three times last night, that’s enough to convince me.
  • The baby tiger at the Point Defiance Zoo has a massive head.
  • Former Rainiers left-hander Travis Blackley had a terrific game and Oakland beat Texas last night, moving into a tie for first place in the AL West. Huge game today as the winner will get to skip the one-game wild card playoff and the loser has to play it.
  • The National League wild card game is set: Atlanta will start Kris Medlen against St. Louis and Kyle Lohse. Lohse pitched against Tacoma in 2001 when he was with the Edmonton Trappers.

The Pierce County Heart Walk to support the American Heart Association is on Saturday. If you’d like to support my efforts, here’s where to do it.

 

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