Mariners have 4 free agents

With the World Series over, Major League Baseball’s offseason officially began on Monday.

At 6 a.m. Monday morning, over 200 players around baseball became free agents.

The Seattle Mariners had four such players — catcher Miguel Olivo and pitchers Kevin Millwood, George Sherrill and Oliver Perez.

The Mariners made the decision to not to pick up Olivo’s $3 million option last week, making him a free agent.

Millwood, Sherrill and Perez — all veteran arms — were on one-year contracts.

Millwood made 28 starts for the Mariners, finishing with a 6-12 record and a 4.25 ERA. Perez, who signed as a minor-league free agent in the offseason, was a pleasant surprise this season. A longtime starter, he remade himself into a reliever and excelled after being called up from Class AAA Tacoma. He made 33 appearances and posted a 2.12 ERA, which was ninth best in the American League for relievers with a minimum of 30 appearances.

Sherrill returned to the Mariners in the offseason after successful stints with the Orioles and Dodgers, but elbow issues submarined his season before it really began. He made just two appearances and was placed on the disabled list in April. He had season-ending Tommy John surgery on May 4.

The Mariners could have a fifth free agent. Right-handed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma was also under a one-year contract for the 2012. According to the Mariners, Iwakuma will become a free agent if his representation and the organization can’t reach a contract extension for 2013.

Kissner hired

The Mariners also announced on Monday that Tim Kissner had been hired as the organization’s new director of international operations.

“Tim is a high-energy guy with 14 years of scouting experience,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a press release. “He is a nice addition to our organization, with a strong ability to evaluate and supervise, paired with a very strong work ethic.”

Kissner replaces Bob Engle, the team’s longtime and legendary director of international operations, who scouted and signed Felix Hernandez. Engle decided to leave the organization shortly after the regular season ended.

As the director, Kissner will head and oversee all of the international scouting operations. He will also work with the organization’s player development program once international players are signed.

“I am very excited to join the Mariners organization,” Kissner said. “I am looking forward to getting to work immediately; in fact, I leave for the Dominican Republic tonight.”

Kissner worked as the Chicago Cubs West Coast cross-checker the past two seasons. He worked for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2000-2010 with a stint as the Pacific Rim coordinator from the end of 2008 through the 2010 season. A native of Juneau, Alaska, Kissner played collegiately at Oregon Staten and resides in Kirkland

Gold glove finalists

Shortstop Brendan Ryan and second baseman Dustin Ackley were named finalists for the 2012 American League Rawlings Gold Glove awards at their respective positions on Monday. The awards, which are given to the top defensive player at each position for both leagues, will be announced today at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

Ryan led all MLB shortstops with 27 defensive runs saved. He posted a .985 fielding percentage with nine errors in 601 chances. He is a finalist along with Elvis Andrus of Texas and J.J. Hardy of Baltimore.

Ackley tied for third amongst AL second baseman with 11 defensive runs saved. He made just seven errors in 639 chances for a .989 fielding percentage. He’s a finalist along with Dustin Pedroia of Boston and Robinson Cano of the Yankees.

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