UPDATE 11:40 a.m.: According to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, Jose Lopez has already signed a $3.6-million deal with the Rockies. That’s $850,000 more than he earned last season. Teams usually split the difference in figures rather than heading to arbitration, meaning Lopez could have been seeking close to $4.5 million had M’s kept him and gone that route. That would be a risky proposition. Even $3.6 M is too much for the backup corner infielder he would have been in Seattle.
Just got off a conference call with general manager Jack Zduriencik a little while ago, where he addressed the moves made today.
Just to recap: Jose Lopez has been traded to Colorado for Class AAA RH SP Chaz Roe.
Ryan Rowland-Smith was non-tendered. He turned down a major league contract offer from the Mariners and is now a free agent. Zduriencik would not rule out leaving the door open for a Rowland-Smith return, but that appears remote for now.
Erik Bedard is sticking around, signing a one-year, non-guaranteed deal. Bedard has to make the team out of spring training for the contract to kick-in and the incentives to start piling up.
Josh Wilson signed a major league contract. That’s a big step for a guy being strung along on minor league deals from year to year.
David Aardsma, Brandon League and Jason Vargas were all tendered contract offers. They now go through the arbitration process. Yes, they can still be traded, or kept, or whatever. If they don’t reach a negotiated deal with Seattle, they go to an arbitration hearing early next year.
So, that wraps up a busy day. Here’s what Zduriencik said about Lopez:
“We decided that this was the right thing to do at this time,” he said. “We wish Lopey the very best. We all think the world of him. He’s a good person and as he moves on with his career, we’re certainly pulling for him to have success.”
Zduriencik was asked why things didn’t work out for Lopez in Seattle.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t have the answer. I’m very fond of him as a person and really pulled for him because he’s a very, very nice guy. There were spurts here where Jose was a very nice player. He had a very difficult year and I think you get to a point with, as you go through your ballclub, what you can — based on where you’re headed, what you’re trying to do — what you can afford to keep, what you can’t afford to keep. In Jose’s case, there would have been some things that I would have liked to have seen a little bit differently out of him.
“But I also have a lot of respect for him for what he did for us. He played every day, he played hard. He did a nice job switching positions last year. Two years ago, he had a really nice year. You just get to a point where you have to make a decision, make a call.”
Zduriencik said Roe has “got a nice arm. He’s a sinkerballer. Pitching in Colorado Springs this year, it was real difficult for him. But maybe a change of scenery, an opportunit to start his career in a new place, we hope it works out for the best for all concerned.”
On Bedard: “It gives us an opportunity, as well as him an opportunity where it can be win-win for both sides. Obviously, Erik has been injured the last few years. He’s feeling healthy right now. We’ve got a very good report from two different doctors and Erik says he feels very good.
“With the time and investment this organization has put into Erik, we’re pleased to see that Erik felt that he wanted to come back here. And that he felt he owed this city, he owed the organization something.”
Bedard is going to be ready to start spring training. He’ll compete for a rotation job.
“He says he feels great right now,” Zduriencik said. “He’s looking forward to being right on time with his starts.”
On Wilson: “He did a nice job for us this season, filled in very nicely. We were able to come to an agreement with Josh on a one-year deal.”
Zduriencik said Rowland-Smith would have had to come back to the Mariners “on our terms.”
Not sure exactly what that means, but Zduriencik said he offered the Aussie a major league contract.
“We talked to Rowland-Smith and we had our parameters set out,” he said. “And talked about giving Rowland-Smith a chance to come back and be a part of the organization. But it would have to be on our terms. And as they thought though it, at the end, Ryan decided that what our terms were were not necessarily what his terms were and there was a parting of ways.”
The discussions involved Rowland-Smith “trying to stay on the 25-man roster out of spring training.”
Zduriencik said the team feels Rowland-Smith has a lot to overcome after last year’s dismal 1-10 season. He’s shown flashes of doing that, he added, but at the end of the day, the two sides could not come together.
For now, he’s not closing the door on Rowland-Smith for good, since he is a free agent and can be be negotiated with. But it’s clear Rowland-Smith will be looking elsewhere first.