Arbitration avoidance roundup: Loose ends

29 Comments

By noon we’d already done a dozen posts about players and teams avoiding arbitration ahead of today’s deadline, so something had to give.

We’ll keep posting the more noteworthy cases, but here’s a roundup of the not-so-noteworthy ones that will be updated throughout the day.

• Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates: $1.75 million

• Antonio Bastardo and the Phillies: $1.45 million

• Gregor Blanco and the Giants: $1.35 million

• Sam Fuld and the Rays: $725,000

• Troy Patton and the Orioles: $815,000

• Joe Smith and the Indians: $3.15 million

• Tommy Hanson and the Angels: $3.725 million

• John Axford and the Brewers: $5 million

• John Baker and the Padres: $930,000

• Jonny Venters and the Braves: $1.625 million

• Boone Logan and the Yankees: $3.15 million

• Brian Duensing and the Twins: $1.3 million

• Luke Hochevar and the Royals: $4.56 million

• Matt Joyce and the Rays: $2.45 million

• Ryan Roberts and the Rays: $2.95 million

• Bud Norris and the Astros: $3 million

• Gordon Beckham and the White Sox: $2.925 million

• Ryan Webb and the Marlins: $975,000

• Doug Fister and the Tigers: $4 million

• Austin Jackson and the Tigers: $3.5 million

• Alex Avila and the Tigers: $2.95 million

• Alejandro De Aza and the White Sox: $2.075 million

• Rick Porcello and the Tigers: $5.1 millon

• Kendrys Morales and the Mariners: $5.25 million

• Chris Davis and the Orioles: $3.3 million

• Brian Matusz and the Orioles: $1.6 million

• Jason Heyward and the Braves: $3.65 million

• Matt Albers and the Indians: $1.75 million

• Kris Medlen and the Braves: $2.6 million

• Marco Estrada and the Brewers: $1.955 million

• Burke Badenhop and the Brewers: $1.55 million

• Ian Kennedy and the Diamondbacks: $4.265 million

• Brendan Ryan and the Mariners: $3.25 million

• Tyler Colvin and the Rockies: $2.275 million

• Ronald Belisario and the Dodgers: $1.45 million

• A.J. Ellis and the Dodgers: $2 million

• Phil Coke and the Tigers: $1.85 million

• Brennan Boesch and the Tigers: $2.3 million

• Justin Masterson and the Indians: $5.687 million

• Ian Desmond and the Nationals: $3.8 million

• James Russell and the Cubs: $1.075 million

• Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs: $2.64 million

• Alfredo Aceves and the Red Sox: $2.65 million

• Jason Vargas and the Angels: $8.5 million

• Edinson Volquez and the Padres: $5.725 million

• Andrew Bailey and the Red Sox: $4.1 million

• Daniel Bard and the Red Sox: $1.8625 million

• Franklin Morales and the Red Sox: $1.4875 million

• Andrew Miller and the Red Sox: $1.475 million

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

Getty Images
5 Comments

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.