Rivero non-tendered as Mariners open 40-man spot
Carlos Rivero has yet to play a game for the Mariners after being claimed off waivers from the Red Sox last month, but the 26-year-old infielder was not tendered a contract prior to Tuesday night’s deadline as Seattle opened up a spot on its 40-man roster.
Rivero thus becomes a free agent and can sign with any other club or possibly return to the Mariners on a Minor League deal.
Seattle tendered contracts to all 31 of its other unsigned players prior to Tuesday’s 9 p.m. PT deadline, including six who are arbitration eligible – outfielders Austin Jackson, Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley; first baseman Logan Morrison and relievers Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen.
Those six players are expected to combine for about $19.5 million in the arbitration process, according to projections by MLBTradeRumors.com. Jackson made $6 million last year, Saunders $2.3 million, Morrison $1.75 million, Ackley $1.5 million, Furbush $750,000 and Wilhelmsen $528,000.
All can expect to earn more next season in the arbitration process, with Jackson in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility, Saunders and Morrison in their second years and Furbush, Wilhelmsen and Ackley beginning the process for the first time. MLBTradeRumors.com, which has been pretty accurate with its past projections, estimates Jackson will wind up at about $8 million, Saunders $2.9 million, Ackley $2.8 million, Morrison $2.6 million, Wilhelmsen $2.1 million and Furbush $1 million.
Kyle Seager also would have been eligible for his first year of arbitration, but the All-Star third baseman finalized a seven-year, $100 million deal on Tuesday that buys out all three of his arbitration years as well as his first four years of free agency. He was projected to earn $5 million this year. Instead, his new deal calls for $4 million in base salary for 2015 along with a $3.5 million signing bonus.
The other 25 players tendered contracts Tuesday are players in the pre-arbitration (0-3 years of service time) phase of their Major League careers.
Rivero wasn’t eligible for arbitration, having only played three Major League games in his career thus far for the Red Sox, but the Mariners chose to non-tender him in order to open up a spot on the 40-man roster. With the impending signing of free agent Nelson Cruz, Seattle’s 40-man would have been full.
By opening a spot, the Mariners can either add another player in the coming days, or have a spot open to make a selection in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 11. Rivero is out of Minor League options, so unless he made the Opening Day 25-man roster, he would have been exposed to waivers at the end of Spring Training if he’d remained on the 40-man roster.
Rivero has limited Major League experience, but he went 4-for-7 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs in his four games for the Red Sox in the final month last season. He also hit .264 with seven homers and 53 RBIs in 105 Minor League games, mostly with the Red Sox’s Triple-A Pawtucket club.
Rivero is having a strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League, batting .291 with 10 home runs, 32 RBIs and a .935 OPS in 36 games for Cardenales de Lara. He’s played mostly shortstop and third base in nine Minor League seasons, along with some limited outfield duty.