SEATTLE – With the World Series ending Tuesday, Major League Baseball released the list of players that officially became free agents under Rule XX(B) of the collective-bargaining agreement between MLB and its players’ union Wednesday.
On that list there were the names of three players on the Mariners’ 2020 roster: right-handed pitchers Yoshihisa Hirano and Kendall Graveman and infielder Dee Strange-Gordon.
Both Hirano and Strange-Gordon were expected to be on that list. Hirano, 36, signed a one-year contract with the Mariners last season. After being delayed by a positive test for COVID-19 and dealing with some serious symptoms, Hirano appeared in 11 games and posted a 5.84 ERA.
Strange-Gordon had a $14 million club option for 2021, which the Mariners bought out for $1 million. The veteran infielder played sparingly in 2020 with Shed Long Jr. and Dylan Moore taking the bulk of the reps at second base. He played in 33 games and had a total of 82 plate appearances, posting a .200/.268/.213 slash line with three RBIs, three stolen bases, five walks and 13 strikeouts.
The decision to decline Graveman’s $3.5 million club option was a bit of a surprise. However, multiple MLB sources indicated that the Mariners are in negotiations with Graveman’s representative for a new contract for 2021. It’s likely this contract will include contingencies based on Graveman revealing he had a benign bone tumor in his neck that can’t be immediately fixed by surgery.
It would seem logical that a new contract would also include several performance bonuses for Graveman based on his expected role as a reliever in 2021.
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