By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Newcomer Logan Morrison made it clear recently that he wasn’t much worried by the possibility of resolving his salary dispute with the Seattle Mariners through an arbitration hearing.
“I’m either going to be happy,” he said while attending the club’s FanFest in late January at Safeco Field. “Or I’m going to be real happy.”
And now, presumably, he’s somewhere in-between.
Morrison, 26, reached an agreement Tuesday with the Mariners on a one-year deal for $1.75 million that includes performance bonuses that could boost its value by another $350,000.
The agreement eliminates the need for an arbitration hearing. Morrison had sought $2.5 million in the process, while the Mariners countered with an offer of $1.1 million.
Morrison, who plays multiple positions, was eligible for arbitration for the first time after making $491,500 last season for Miami while batting .242 with six home runs and 36 RBI. He was limited by a knee injury to 85 games.
“He’s lost weight,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “He’s in great shape. He feels better than he’s felt in the last couple of years, but he’s coming off an injury. We have to be careful on how we handle that.”
The Mariners acquired Morrison from the Marlins in a Dec. 13 trade for for reliever Carter Capps. Morrison is expected to split time between first base, the outfield and designated hitter.
Barring a settlement, the arbitration panel would have selected one of the two submitted figures after listening to arguments from both sides. The either/or process is designed to encourage a negotiated agreement.
The deal with Morrison leaves the Mariners with one pending arbitration case: First baseman Justin Smoak, also eligible for the first time, is seeking $3.25 million, while the club has offered $2.025 million.
Barring an agreement with Smoak, a hearing will be held later this month.
The Mariners have not had a player’s salary decided by the panel since pitcher Freddy Garcia in 2003.