The “Hot Stove League” is upon us, as baseball’s offseason is officially underway.
At the major league level, 139 players were declared free agents and are available to test the open market starting on Saturday. Included are three Seattle Mariners: Joe Beimel, Franklin Gutierrez, and Hisashi Iwakuma.
Prior to Saturday, the Mariners can present a “Qualifying Offer” to a free agent, which is a one-year contract for a whopping total of $15.8 million. The player then gets to decide if he wants to accept it, or continue on to free agency.
Of the three Mariners free agents, only Iwakuma prices out as a possibility to receive a Qualifying Offer. That is required to happen by Friday, if it does.
As detailed in the links below, Iwakuma is an important piece for the Mariners for next season. If they don’t re-sign him, they will be forced to pursue another free agent to replace him.
On the Triple-A front, veteran (at least six full seasons in the minors) Tacoma Rainiers players who are not on the Mariners 40-man roster can become free agents on Friday. We’ll try to keep track of the minor league free agents throughout the winter, as this is how the Rainiers get some of their key players each season.
Coming up on the calendar, the major league General Manager meetings are next week – so we’ll start to hear some rumors of trades and free agent signings.
In about two weeks the teams have to set their 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. It’s always interesting to see which minor league prospects the Mariners value enough to put on the roster.
Then the Baseball Winter Meetings are held December 7-10. Much to the joy of everyone in the game (<– sarcasm font), the meetings are in Nashville once again this year.
We’ll be following along all winter here on the blog, keeping you updated on current and former Rainiers and Mariners players who are on the move.
- Ryan Divish has an offseason primer.
- Keeping Hisashi Iwakuma is an immediate priority for the Mariners, Bob Dutton writes.
- Dutton has more on the Iwakuma qualifying offer process and a look at free agents who might tempt the Mariners.
- Here’s an update on M’s players in the various winter leagues.
- Two Rainiers players from the 2015 season (both had brief stints) made the Arizona Fall League all-star game: D.J. Peterson and David Rollins.
- The Nashville Sounds checked their time of game trends and noticed very similar results to the ones the Rainiers had (which I wrote about a few days ago – scroll down if you need to catch up).
- Sad news from Albuquerque, where longtime Isotopes public address announcer Stu Walker has passed away. The man had some serious pipes.
- Meet the man who pitched for 50 different minor league teams. Fifty.
- As you may be aware, the Rainiers business office is assisting with the reboot of the Tacoma Stars indoor soccer team. The Stars season opener is on Friday night at 7:30 at the Showare Center in Kent. If you want to check it out, tickets are available at the door or online right here.
That’s it for a few days. I’m out-of-town on a fun trip through the weekend, and I’m not even bringing the laptop. Pete Rose could get reinstated by Commissioner Manfred and hired by the Mariners to manage the Rainiers next season, and I wouldn’t have a post about it until I get home. Our next fresh post will come on Tuesday.