PEORIA, Ariz. – The Mariners seemed to have a pretty good idea about their opening-day starting rotation, until they didn’t.
Randy Wolf seemed to be a member of that rotation, until he wasn’t.
It was a strange 24 hours at the Mariners’ complex in Peoria.
On Tuesday, roughly three hours before the Mariners were to take the field against the Royals, the team announced that Wolf had asked to be released from his contract and that his request had been granted.
Just 24 hours before, Wolf had been informed that he would be a part of the five-man starting rotation when the season opened.
So what happened?
Well, in the midst of telling Wolf that he had made the team and would be in the starting rotation, they slipped in a small caveat. They asked Wolf, a 13-year veteran, to sign 45-day advanced-consent relief form.
Wolf refused to sign the clause.
“I was principally objected to that simply because we negotiated in good faith in February on a team-friendly contract, if I were to make the team,” Wolf said. “I felt like I came in in amazing shape, I pitched great and I earned a spot on the team. They told me I earned the spot on the team. But to me, that advanced consent thing is kind of renegotiating a contract so I told them I wouldn’t sign it and I disagreed with it.”
So what exactly is this form?
Basically, if a player signs it, the team would have 45 days where it could release the player or send him to the minor leagues without having to pay the full season’s salary. They would only pay for the service time accrued. Now if Wolf were to get hurt or stay on the 25-man roster 45 days, the team would have to pay the full salary of $1 million.
“All we did was ask Randy to sign the 45-day clause, which is very common and not unusual,” Zduriencik said. “It gives us a degree of protection. We didn’t have any fear of anything happening to Randy, but he hasn’t been on a mound in a regular-season baseball game in a year and a half.”
The protection for the Mariners would’ve come if Wolf had been awful in his first two or three outings and they decided to make a change.