Furbush signs one-year compromise deal
This one is a little complicated, but the Mariners signed lefty reliever Charlie Furbush to one-year contract Tuesday as the two parties reached an agreement to avoid any potential dispute over whether he was going to be arbitration eligible.
The deal is for $750,000, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. Furbush made $504,000 last year and would have only been in line for a small hike from the Mariners under normal circumstances as a pre-arbitration eligible player.
Furbush finished just shy of Super 2 contract status in Major League Baseball’s service-time calculations this offseason, thus just missing the opportunity to enter the arbitration process a year earlier than normal.
Under MLB’s labor agreement, after three years of service time, all players are eligible for arbitration and the ability to ask for more than the minimum salary. Additionally, the top 22 percent of players with two-plus years of service time are eligible for arbitration each year as so-called “Super 2s.”
Furbush was the first player to miss the cutoff for the 22 percent and thus wasn’t slated to be arbitration eligible. But Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada is considering filing a grievance over a service time issue that, if he wins, would move him out of Super 2 status and thus open the last spot for Furbush.
The Mariners pre-empted any issue by coming to agreement with Furbush on a compromise one-year deal that essentially splits the difference of what he likely would have made in arbitration versus his pre-arbitration salary.
Seattle has just two arbitration eligible players this offseason in outfielder Michael Saunders and first baseman Justin Smoak.
Tejada was the final September call-up by the Mets last season, being promoted on Sept. 10, a move that left him one day short of a full three seasons of service time in his MLB career. He is considering a grievance over the timing of that promotion.
Tejada already would be arbitration eligible this year as a Super 2, but one more day of service time would allow him to become a free agent after the 2016 season instead of waiting until 2017.
Furbush, 27, appeared in team-high 71 games last year, tied for 10th in the American League, while going 2-6 with a 3.74 ERA. He held opponents to a .199 batting average, including .173 against left-handers, and averaged 11.08 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
The MLB Players Union and MLB agreed to the compromise contract. Furbush served as the Mariners’ player representative with the players union last year.