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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

January 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Mariners sign Morales and Ryan, avoiding arbitration

The Mariners are now down to just one arbitration-eligible player after reaching a one-year contract agreement with shortstop Brendan Ryan and recently acquired first baseman Kendrys Morales.

Morales received $5.25 million, plus performance bonuses, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He reported that Ryan received $3.25 million. Ryan earned $1.75 million last year, while the Angels paid Morales $2.975 million.

Their lone player still facing the arbitration process is reliever Shawn Kelley, who earned $600,000 last year. Teams and players exchanged salary figures today, leading to a rash of signings around the majors. Once the figures are exchanged, the two sides often negotiate a settlement somewhere near the mid-point.

Update: According to CBS (which appears to have an arbitration pipeline), Kelley filed at $1.2 million, while the Mariners submitted $750,000. That’s a $450,000 difference, which would put $975,000 as the midpoint.

The Mariners can keep negotiating with Kelley right up to the arbitration hearing, which takes place in February. The Mariners haven’t had a player go through with an arbitration hearing — where a three-person panel picks either the player or the team offer — since Freddy Garcia in 2003.

Two arbitration-eligible players have been traded this winter — John Jaso to Oakland and Jason Vargas to Anaheim. And shortstop Robert Andino was non-tendered in early December, then immediately signed to a one-year contract.

In 2003, the panel ruled in favor of Garcia, who requested $6.875 million while the Mariners offered $5.9 million. Outfielder Brian Hunter went to arbitration in 2000 and also beat the club. The arbitrator ruled for Hunter’s salary figure of $2.45 million over the Mariners’ $1.75 million offer — but they released Hunter in spring training and were only required to pay him $593,290

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