The Mariners won’t be going to arbitration court to settle any salary disputes this offseason. The organization agreed to one-year contracts with the three players eligible for salary arbitration — outfielders Mitch Haniger and Mallex Smith and right-handed pitcher Sam Tuivailala — before Friday’s 10 a.m. deadline.
All three players were in their first year of arbitration eligibility, meaning they are able to make more than the MLB minimum salary of just over $500,000 based on their past performance.
Haniger, 29, received the biggest bump in pay, signing a one-year deal worth $3,010,000, despite missing 95 games in 2019 after suffering a ruptured testicle. Coming off an All-Star season in 2018, Haniger posted a .220/.314/.463 slash line with 13 doubles, a triple, 15 homers and 32 RBI in 63 games.
He suffered an injury after fouling a ball into his groin area. It required emergency surgery. Multiple comeback attempts never came to fruition and he ended the season on the injured list.
Smith, 26, will earn $2.35 million in 2020 and is expected to be the Mariners’ opening-day center fielder. He struggled at the plate and in the field early in the season and was demoted to Class AAA Tacoma. He returned and showed some improvement in both areas, finishing with a .227/.300/.335 slash line, 19 doubles, six triples, six homers, 37 RBI and a league-high 46 stolen bases.
Tuivailala, 27, agreed to a one-year deal worth $800,000. After dealing with a recovery from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon and also some shoulder fatigue, he went 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 11 walks in 23 appearances last season. He’s expected to be a key contributor in an inexperienced bullpen.
The Mariners also made a minor roster move Friday, claiming utility infielder/outfielder Sam Haggerty off waivers from the Mets and adding him to the 40-man roster.
The 25-year-old Haggerty was designated for assignment by the Mets on Jan. 8. A switch-hitter who can play all over the field, he played 11 games for the Mets this season. He spent much of the season at Class AA Binghamton, where he slashed .259/.370/.356 with 15 extra-base hits, 19 stolen bases and was named an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star.