There has been a lot of Mariners news today, and thankfully my girlfriend is willing to let me ignore her for a little bit while I spew my opinion about it. The latest, to skip over some earlier stuff that we’ll Tarantino back to is that Joe Saunders has been signed to a one year deal by the club.
Saunders is built for the old Safeco Field as a lefty that gives up some fly balls, doesn’t strike a ton of hitters out, and doesn’t walk many hitters. Saunders and the Mariners have flirted for a large portion of the offseason, and much like Kelly Shoppach’s signing, a Saunders signing seemed imminent. Saunders is an innings eater, and a veteran, and probably better than Jason Vargas, who the team traded for Kendrys Morales. Of course, Vargas made a lot of money, and while we don’t know what Saunders will make yet, we doubt that it will be more than Vargas, and if it is it won’t be the value-of-Kendrys-Morales-worth-of-more than Jason Vargas.
In a move that isn’t corresponding, the Mariners DFA’d Shawn Kelley. The team avoided arbitration with Kelley earlier this week, and they have had to DFA him because they’ve finally announced the Shoppach signing. So while the 40-man was adjusted to fit Shoppach, an additional adjustment will be necessary to fit Saunders.
Kelley has been a solid reliever for the team, though he’s out-resulted his peripherals—likely aided by Safeco Field hiding the downside of his huge flyball tendency. Kelley will have to clear waivers to opt for a minor league assignment, a handshake agreement the team may have made when they agreed to a contract with him. If another team claims him the Mariners won’t be responsible for his salary and Kelley will be on that club’s 40 man roster.