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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

January 18, 2008 at 2:23 PM

Live Blog Event: Feb. 7

We’ve set the firm date for our Seattle Times Mariners Live Blog Event, 20 days from now. The night of Thursday, Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m., at the Seattle Times auditorium. An RSVP email site will be set up by early next week. I’ll let you know more about it as things develop. But right now, the plan is to have me moderate a questions and answers session, have many of you get to meet each other, give away a pair of Mariners tickets and videotape the whole thing to post on the blog. Should be a fun evening. So, who’s coming? Wonder what we’ll all be talking about?
Speaking of the Mariners, they signed Horacio Ramirez to a one-year, $2.75-million deal today. Not as aggravating as it sounds when you first hear it. Once Ramirez was tendered a contract back in December, the two sides had to come up with a deal eventually. Usually, both parties attempt to avoid arbitration by splitting the team’s demands and that of the player right down the middle. Arbitration is not fun for anyone involved, can often lead to acrimony, and is best avoided when talking about sums this relatively small. After all, if the M’s can’t stand Ramirez this spring, they can still put him on unconditional release waivers by March 12 and be on-the-hook for only a sixth of his salary. Small potatoes.
For Ron in the comments section, Ramirez could not have gotten his salary cut. Well, OK, upon further review (as many of you pointed out below), yes, he could have had it cut by up to 20 percent over last year in theory according to CBA provisions. In practise, it hardly ever happens. Remember, Ramirez posted an 8-7 record in spite of his terrible ERA. Go into arbitration with a lowball figure and an arbitrator — unlikely to be versed in sabermetric baseball stats — would likely hand Ramirez his higher demands based on precedent and his winning record. Then, we’d hear screaming from fans. The current arbitration system is based mostly on service time, not as much on-field performance except for when a player really goes for a high-end reward. Based on his years of service, Ramirez was very likely to get at least a small raise. The performance issue truly kicks in when a player becomes a free agent after six years and teams are free to pay what they please.

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