The Mariners have released Hong-Chih Kuo. I was a big fan of the signing that brought him in, but after being demolished for all of spring training, and as the team approaches the beginning of their season in Japan, Kuo may have no longer made sense.
As it was, taking a risk on a guy like Kuo was really a luxury move. The team had already signed George Sherrill, and already has Charlie Furbush, Lucas Luetge, and Cesar Jimenez on the roster.
As far as Kuo’s contract goes, he had about $500K guaranteed. So the Mariners have basically taken a league minimum risk to gamble on Kuo rebounding, and if he ends up signing with another team for league minimum, the prorated remainder of his league minimum will be reduced from the Mariners payroll.
There’s always the chance that Kuo could return to Seattle on a minor league, non-roster deal. I wouldn’t call it customary, but if someone handed me a half-million dollars to spend a month with them in Arizona in the winter-like months we’ve experienced lately, I’d be inclined to do them a favor back.