With the World Series over, Major League Baseball’s offseason officially began on Monday.
At 6 a.m., more than 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 in 2012. A longtime starter, he made himself into a reliever and excelled after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma. He made 33 appearances and posted a 2.12 ERA, ninth best in the American League for relievers with a minimum of 30 appearances.
Sherrill returned to the Mariners in the 2011 offseason after successful stints with the Orioles, Dodgers and Braves, but elbow problems ended his season before it really stated. He made 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 in 2012. According to the team, Iwakuma will become a free agent if his representation and the Mariners can’t reach a contract agreement for 2013.
Also Monday, the Mariners announced that Tim Kissner had been hired as their new director of international operations.
“Tim is a high-energy guy with 14 years of scouting experience,” Mariners 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 seasons.
A native of Alaska, Kissner played in college at Oregon State and resides in Kirkland.
GOLD GLOVE FINALISTS
Shortstop Brendan Ryan and second baseman Dustin Ackley were named as finalists for the 2012 American League Rawlings Gold Glove award at their respective positions.
Winners of the awards, which are given to the top defensive player at each position in each league, will be announced at 6:30 p.m. today on ESPN 2.
Ryan led all major-league shortstops with 27 defensive runs saved, as gauged by a Sabremetric formula. He posted a .985 fielding percentage with nine errors in 601 chances. He is a finalist with Elvis Andrus of Texas and J.J. Hardy of Baltimore.
Ackley tied for third among American League second baseman with 11 defensive runs saved. He made seven errors in 639 chances for a .989 fielding percentage. He’s a finalist with Dustin Pedroia of Boston and Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees.email@example.com 253-597-8483 blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish