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December 17, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Mariners sign Charlie Furbush to one-year contract, avoid potential service time issues

Seattle Times file photo/Dean Rutz

Seattle Times file photo/Dean Rutz

The Mariners signed left-hander Charlie Furbush to a one–year contract on Tuesday afternoon. Normally this wouldn’t have been announced, however Furbush and the Mariners were in an odd position because of his service time and whether he was actually going to be deemed arbitration eligible or not. The organization decided to avoid any potential complications later in the offseason and get the deal done now.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that it’s a $750,000 contract.

Furbush’s service time conundrum is based a service time issue between the New York Mets and Ruben Tejada. Officially, the shortstop fell one day short of a full three years of MLB service time, which would allow him to become a free agent after the 2016 season. Tejada believes the Mets did it on purpose.

He filed a grievance against the Mets, saying the organization purposely waited until Sept. 10 to promote him from Triple A Las Vegas  to manipulate his service time and keep him from being eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season. This is a common occurrence in baseball, but teams usually try to hide it more than the Mets. It was fairly obvious since  Las Vegas’ season ended on Sept. 7. The Mets called up four players on Sept. 9 and then waited until Sept. 10 to call up Tejada.

The issue is now being overseen by an arbitrator, who will offer a ruling as to whether the Mets can be allowed to keep Tejada at two years and 171 days of service time, or grant him that day giving him three full years of service time.

Why is this important to Furbush and the Mariners?

If Tejada were to win arbitration and is given the extra day, Furbush would have moved into the top 22 percent of active players with two years or more of service time but less than three full years  making him Super 2 eligible this year. That would have made him arbitration eligible this offseason and he could have made significantly more this season because of his performance last season. The Mariners likely split the difference in pay to be fair to Furbush.

Furbush, 27, made a team-high 71 games, going 2-6 with a 3.74 earned run average. He tied for 10th most appearances in the American Leauge. Opponents hit just .199 against him and struck out 80 batters 65 innings pitches.

Furbush has been durable over the last three seasons,  appearing  in 147 games, including 12 starts. Lefties have hit just .206 off him in that span.

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