Smoak, Morrison head to arbitration

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.comJanuary 18, 2014 

Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak wants a $2.7 million boost in salary from what he earned with the Mariners in 2013.

TONY DEJAK/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The arbitration countdown started Friday for the Mariners when they exchanged figures with Justin Smoak and Logan Morrison after failing to reach agreements with either player prior to the deadline.

Both players are first-time eligibles for arbitration.

Smoak, 27, wants a boost to $3.25 million from $514,000 in 2013; the Mariners are offering $2.025 million.

Morrison, 26, is seeking a raise to $2.5 million after making $491,500 last season while playing for Miami. The Mariners are offering $1.1 million.

The sides can continue to negotiate until an arbitration panel chooses one of the two submitted figures. Arbitration hearings will be held Feb. 1-21, and decisions are usually announced shortly after a hearing ends.

The Mariners haven’t had a case go through the entire process since 2003 with pitcher Freddy Garcia.

Smoak has been a regular in the Mariners’ lineup since arriving July 9, 2010, from Texas in the six-player deal that sent Cliff Lee to the Rangers. Smoak batted .238 last season with 20 homers and 50 RBI in 131 games.

The Mariners acquired Morrison from the Marlins in a Dec. 11 trade for reliever Carter Capps. Morrison battled injuries for much of the last two seasons and batted .242 with six homers and 36 RBI last year in 85 games.

MINOR DETAILS

The Mariners also confirmed minor league agreements with right-handed reliever Logan Kensing and catcher Manny Pina that include invitations to big league camp.

That boosts the number of nonroster invites to 21 players. Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 12 to the club’s complex in Peoria, Ariz., for physical examinations.

Kensing, 31, is 8-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 135 games over seven seasons with Florida, Washington and Colorado, but that includes just one outing — last year with the Rockies — since missing the 2010 season due to shoulder surgery.

He made 44 appearances last season in compiling a 3.05 ERA in 44 innings at Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Rockies’ system.

Pina, 26, saw limited major league action in 2011-12 with Kansas City. He batted .228 last year with seven homers and 38 RBI in 86 games at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha in the Royals’ system.

KERSHAW DEAL FINALIZED

Even Clayton Kershaw has trouble contemplating the enormity of a $215 million, seven-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that makes him baseball’s richest pitcher.

The team finalized the deal Friday, when Kershaw stayed home in Dallas. The 25-year-old ace said by phone that talking money is “a little bit uncomfortable for me.”

Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, have been discussing how to spend the money, and most of their ideas revolve around charitable interests. The couple support an orphanage in Africa and two groups that fund after-school programs for children in Los Angeles and Dallas. They have no children of their own.

Kershaw gets an $18 million signing bonus, payable in $6 million installments this April 15, July 15 and Sept. 15. He receives salaries of $4 million this year, $30 million next year, $32 million in 2016, $33 million in each of the next two seasons, $32 million in 2019 and $33 million in 2020.

The Dodgers say they may not be done adding to their star-studded rotation.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he has had talks with the agent for Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka nearly every day this week. Teams have until next Friday to reach a deal with Tanaka once they’ve agreed to pay his Japanese team its $20 million posting fee.

SHORT HOPS

AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer agreed to a one-year contract for 2014 worth $15,525,000. It enables Scherzer and the Tigers to avoid arbitration with the right-hander’s free agency still looming less than a year away. … Right-handed starter Jordan Zimmermann’s $24 million, two-year contract and shortstop Ian Desmond’s $17.5 million, two-year deal were among a half-dozen agreements reached by the Nationals to bypass arbitration.

News services contributed to this report. bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com

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