The Seattle Mariners remain pointed toward their first salary arbitration hearing in 12 years barring a late agreement with reliever Tom Wilhelmsen.
The two sides are scheduled to present their case Friday in Florida to a three-person panel, which is then expected to render a decision Saturday. All arbitration hearings must be completed by Friday.
Wilhelmsen, 31, is seeking $2.2 million after going 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA last season in 57 games. The Mariners countered at $1.4 million. Wilhelmsen made $528,800 in 2014.
The panel must choose one of the two submitted figures. A negotiated settlement is permissible until the panel issues a ruling.
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The Mariners haven’t had a player’s salary determined through arbitration since losing a case to pitcher Freddy Garcia in 2003.
Garcia won his request for $6.88 million over the Mariners’ filing of $5.9 million. He made $3.8 million in 2002, when he was 16-10 with a 4.39 ERA.
The hearing process allows one hour for each side to present its argument. Each side is then permitted a 30-minute rebuttal and 30 additional minutes to sum up its case.
REUNION IN THE WORKS?
Could veteran left-hander Joe Saunders be headed back to Seattle after a rocky 2014 that saw him spend much of the season in the minor leagues?
The Mariners are showing interest in Saunders, 33, as a bullpen possibility if he is willing to accept a minor league contract. He was 11-16 for them in 2013 with a 5.26 ERA over 32 starts.
Saunders closed last season with six relief outings at Baltimore after making 229 consecutive starts over a 10-year career with five clubs. He is 89-86 over those 10 seasons with a 4.37 ERA.
Texas signed Saunders as a free agent in March but released him in early July when he was 0-5 with a 6.13 ERA in eight starts. He then spent time in the Kansas City organization before signing with the Orioles.
Pitchers and catchers are required to report Friday to undergo physical examinations at the Mariners’ year-round complex in Peoria.
While many players are already in camp and working out individually, Saturday marks the first official workout for pitchers and catchers. On-field drills typically run from 9:30 a.m. to about noon.
The rest of the camp roster is scheduled to report Tuesday for physicals. The first full-squad workout is Wednesday. All workouts are open to the public.
Left-handed reliever Edgar Olmos remains in limbo after being designated for assignment Feb. 13, when the Mariners needed to clear space on their 40-man roster after signing veteran second baseman Rickie Weeks.
Clubs have 10 days to reach a resolution on a player after designating him for assignment by either trading him, releasing him or sending him through waivers.
If Olmos, 24, clears waivers, he is expected to be assigned to Triple-A Tacoma and invited to big-league camp, where he’ll rejoin the competition for a spot in the bullpen.
Olmos was 3-3 with a 4.06 ERA last season in 51 games in the Miami organization at Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans. The Mariners acquired him in a Nov. 20 waiver claim.