No deals yet for Smoak, Morrison, but some news
Friday’s 10 a.m. PT deadline for arbitration-eligible players to sign before exchanging arbitration numbers has come and gone with no news on Justin Smoak and Logan Morrison, so it appears both will be entering the arbitration phase of MLB’s contract system.
Bottom line, both players are under contract with the Mariners for the coming season, but just how much they’ll earn is still in question. Arbitration-eligible players who don’t come to terms before Friday’s deadline must submit their salary request at that point, while the team counters with its own offer.
If no middle ground is reached in the coming days, the cases then go to an independent arbitration panel in February and that group selects either the number submitted by the player or the team. The Mariners haven’t had a player actually go to an arbitration hearing since Freddy Garcia in 2003, so we’ll see if either Smoak or Morrison reaches that point.
In the meantime, the Mariners announced two non-roster invitations to camp on Friday, with right-handed reliever Logan Kensing and catcher Manny Pina signing Minor League deals with invites to Major League camp.
Kensing has a fair amount of big-league experience, pitching 108 games as a reliever for the Marlins from 2004-09, while Pina has all of five games of Major League time while with the Royals in 2011-12.
Kensing, 31, pitched two-thirds of an inning with the Rockies last year in his lone Major League appearance since being sidelined all of 2010 following a pair of shoulder surgeries. He’s pitched at the Triple-A level with the Yankees, Pirates and Rockies over the past three seasons and was pretty good for Colorado Springs in the PCL last season with a 3.05 ERA in 44 relief appearances with 37 hits, 41 strikeouts and 22 walks in 44 1/3 innings.
Piña, 26, spent last season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha in the Royals system, hitting a combined .228 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs. He threw out 32 of 79 attempted base stealers (40.5 percent). He gives the Mariners added depth at catcher, where they’ve also recently signed veteran free agent John Buck to a Major League deal and Humberto Quintero to a Minor League contract with a Spring Training invitation.
Mike Zunino, Jesus Sucre and Buck are the only catchers on the 40-man roster, with Jesus Montero converting to first base. But Pina, Quintero and Minor Leaguers John Hicks and Michael Dowd will join that group when pitchers and catchers report to Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 12.