With the Major League Baseball offseason officially beginning on Thursday, the Mariners made a series of 40-man roster moves, including the outright assignment of pitchers Charlie Furbush and Ryan Cook and catcher Steve Clevenger to Class AAA Tacoma. All three can opt for free agency.

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With the offseason officially beginning on Thursday — the day after the final World Series game — the Mariners and general manager Jerry Dipoto made a series of moves to clean up their 40-man roster in preparation.

  • Steve Clevenger, C, outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma.
  • Ryan Cook, RHP, outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma.
  • Charlie Furbush, LHP, outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma.
  • Steven Baron, C, designated for assignment
  • Adrian Sampson, RHP, claimed off waivers by Texas
  • Ryan Weber, RHP, claimed off waivers from Atlanta.

The moves are not completely surprising considering the circumstances surrounding each player. Clevenger, Cook, Furbush and Sampson all ended the season on the 60-day disabled list and had to be either reinstated to the 40-man roster or designated for assignment.

Clevenger suffered a broken right hand on June 30th and didn’t play again with the Mariners for the rest of the season. He hit .221 with a .611 on-base slugging percentage, three doubles, a homer and seven RBI in 28 games.  He was suspended on Sept. 23 without pay for the remainder of the season, following a series of tweets about the Black Lives Matter movement. It was unlikely that he would remain in the organization even before the social media controversy. Clevenger is arbitration eligible and was projected to make $800,000 for the 2017 season.

Neither Cook nor Furbush took the mound in a big league game for the Mariners this season because of injuries. Furbush hasn’t actually pitched in a big league game since July 8, 2015 because of recurring shoulder issues. He spent all of this season on disabled list with a tear in his rotator cuff. Multiple rehabilitation attempts to get him back on the mound were unsuccessful. He underwent surgery to repair the tear on Aug. 16. The recovery is likely to keep him out of the entire 2017 season. Furbush was also arbitration eligibly and projected to make $1.6 million.

Cook signed as a free agent last offseason, but suffered a torn lat muscle in spring training. He rehabbed in the injury and made one rehab appearance before being shut down. The team announced that he underwent Tommy John surgery on Oct. 20 to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Because of accrued service time, Clevenger, Cook and Furbush can all opt for free agency.. They were all candidates to not have contracts tendered to them before being outrighted. Both Cook and Furbush may stay in the organization and spend 2017 rehabbing. Clevenger will likely head elsewhere as a free agent.

Sampson, a graduate of Skyline, made one official start for the Mariners this season. During warmups for his second start on June 23 in Detroit, he experienced elbow pain and was pulled from the game before throwing a pitch. He was later diagnosed with a flexor bundle tear and underwent surgery on June 30. The Mariners acquired Sampson from the Pirates in 2015 in a trade that sent J.A. Happ to Pittsburgh. The Rangers announced that he will start the 2017 season on a throwing rehab program.

With the need for 40-man roster space, Baron was an expected candidate for removal. The young catcher, and former first-round compensatory pick — 33rd overall — in 2009, had fallen down the organizational depth chart. Baron hit .280 with seven doubles, a triple, three homers and 22 RBI in 67 games with Class AA Jackson.

Weber made two starts and 14 relief appearances with the Braves this season, posting a 1-1 record with a 5.45 ERA. He struck out 23 batters and walked five in 36 1/3 innings pitched. He appeared in 26 games (five starts) with Class AAA Gwinnett, posting a 2-3 record with a 2.76 ERA. In 62 innings, he struck out 41 with 14 walks.

 

Free agency opens on Thursday

The day after the World Series, players eligible under Article XX of the collective bargaining agreement become free agents. The Mariners have seven eligible players.

  • Seth Smith, OF
  • Nori Aoki, OF
  • Franklin Gutierrez, OF
  • Chris Iannetta, C
  • Dae-Ho Lee, 1B/DH
  • Adam Lind, 1B
  • Drew Storen, RHP

Seattle has five days to negotiate with those players before they other teams can offer them contracts. Smith has a $7 million club option for 2017 that Dipoto hinted that he will exercise to bring the veteran outfielder back next season. The other players are candidates to move on. Both Aoki and Lee will evaluate options based on playing time. Aoki played well in the final months of the season, but was frustrated being limited to a platoon role.  Lee told the Korea Times that he also wanted to look at his options in hopes of not being limited to a platoon role as well.

Gutierrez is an interesting candidate for a return since he’d be relatively cost efficient. But his inability to play the outfield at even an average level is an issue for the Mariners, who would prefer to keep Nelson Cruz at designated hitter for the bulk of the games.

 

Dates based on the end of the World Series

1st Day After (Nov. 3)

  • Eligible XX(B) players become free agents at 9:00 am ET

4th Day After (Nov. 6)

  • Last date to request waivers on draft-excluded players until next spring

5th Day After (Nov. 7)

  • Last date to reinstate players from the 60-day Disabled List
  • Last date to outright potential Minor League free agent without Major League contract, if permissible
  • Last date for former Club to tender qualifying offer to XX(B) players Minor League players become free agents at 5:00 pm ET, if applicable

6th Day After (Nov. 8)

  • XX(B) and Minor League free agents may sign with all Clubs

12th Day After (Nov. 14)

  • Last date for XX(B) player to accept qualifying offer from former Club

 

Other key dates in November

Nov. 8-10 — MLB General Managers Meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Nov. 10 — Outright Waivers secured on or after September 1 expire at 5:00 pm ET

Nov. 11 — New waiver period begins

Nov. 16 — Last date to ask Outright Waivers on an injured player, if permissible

Nov. 18 — Last date to outright an injured player to the Minor Leagues, if permissible.

Reserve lists for all Major and Minor League levels filed, by 8:00 pm ET

Nov. 30 — Last date to request Outright Waivers to assign player prior to Rule 5 Draft, unless player has a 2017 Major League contract