By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
The arbitration countdown started Friday for the Seattle Mariners when they exchanged salary figures with Justin Smoak and Logan Morrison after failing to reach agreements with either player prior to the deadline.
Both are first-time eligibles for arbitration.
Smoak, 27, wants a boost to $3.25 million from $514,000 in 2013, and the Mariners are offering $2.025 million. Morrison, 26, is seeking a raise to $2.5 million after making $491,500 last season with Miami. The Mariners are offering $1.1 million.
The sides can continue to negotiate until an arbitration panel chooses one of the two submitted figures. Arbitration hearings will be held Feb. 1-21, and decisions are usually announced shortly after a hearing ends. The M’s haven’t had a case go through the entire process since 2003 with pitcher Freddy Garcia.
Smoak has been a regular in the Mariners’ lineup since arriving July 9, 2010, from Texas in the deal that sent pitcher Cliff Lee to the Rangers. Smoak batted .238 last season with 20 home runs and 50 RBI.
The Mariners acquired Morrison from the Marlins in a Dec. 11 trade for reliever Carter Capps. Morrison battled injuries for much of the past two seasons and hit .242 with six homers and 36 RBI in 85 games last year.
Seattle has reached minor-league agreements with right-handed reliever Logan Kensing and catcher Manny Pina that include invitations to the big-league camp. That boosts the number of non-roster invitees to 21.
Pitchers and catchers report to camp in Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 12.
Kensing, 31, is 8-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 135 games over seven seasons with Florida, Washington and Colorado, but that includes just one big-league outing — last year with the Rockies — since missing the 2010 season because of a shoulder surgery. He made 44 appearances last season, compiling a 3.05 ERA in 44? innings at Class AAA Colorado Springs.
Pina, 26, saw limited big-league action in 2011-12 with Kansas City. He batted .228 last year with seven homers and 28 RBI in 86 games at Class AA Northwest Arkansas and Class AAA Omaha in the Royals’ system.