Seattle Mariners

World Series over, free agency begins

Let the baseball offseason begin.

Some 121 players became free agents Wednesday night when San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval clutched a foul pop by Kansas City Royals catcher Salvy Perez for the final out in a 3-2 victory in the seventh game of the World Series.

That list, released Thursday by the players association, includes Sandoval, who played a major role in helping the Giants win their third title in five years.

Seven Seattle Mariners became free agents: pitchers Joe Beimel and Chris Young, catcher Humberto Quintero, first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales, and outfielders Endy Chavez, Chris Denorfia and Franklin Gutierrez.

An eighth Mariner, outfielder/first baseman Corey Hart, became a free agent earlier this month when he rejected an outright assignment after clearing waivers.

Gutierrez spent the past season on the restricted list because of health issues.

Players are no longer required to file for free agency. Those who are eligible become free agents when the Series concludes.

There are another 32 players who could become free agents pending the resolution of contract options, which must be decided by Saturday — i.e., within three days of the Series concluding.

The Mariners have no players with unresolved contract options.

Clubs hold exclusive negotiating rights with their former players for five days — through Nov. 3. Clubs also must decide whether to extend qualifying offers of $15.3 million by 2 p.m. Monday Pacific time.

Those qualifying offers permit a club to receive an additional draft choice next June as compensation if that player rejects the offer and signs elsewhere. Players have one week to accept or reject the offer.

At 9:01 p.m. Monday, free agents are permitted to negotiate and sign with other clubs. (The deadline corresponds to one minute after midnight Tuesday Eastern time.)

WILLS AMONG HALL FINALISTS

Former Mariners manager Maury Wills is one of 10 finalists on the Golden Era (1947-72) ballot for election to the Hall of Fame.

Wills, 82, was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1962 when he stole a then-record 104 bases for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He managed the Mariners from Aug. 4, 1980 to May 5, 1981.

The Golden Era ballot is part of a revolving three-year cycle by which the Hall of Fame reviews players or personnel overlooked or not eligible for election in annual balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Third baseman Ron Santo was elected when the Golden Era Committee last convened in 2011.

Others on this year’s ballot: Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce and Luis Tiant.

The 16-member committee will convene and vote Dec. 8 at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Finalists must receive 12 votes — 75 percent — for election to the Hall.

Wills played 14 seasons from 1959 to 1972, mostly with the Dodgers. He was a seven-time All-Star who won two Gold Gloves for defensive excellence at shortstop. He led the NL is steals for six straight seasons (1960-65).

The Mariners hired Wills to replace Darrell Johnson, who had managed the club from its inaugural 1977 season through Aug. 3, 1980.

Wills found little success in the role and lasted just 82 games. His record was 26-56, a .317 winning percentage that is the lowest among the 19 managers in franchise history.

SPRING TRAINING

Ready to look ahead to next season? The Mariners announced their 2015 reporting dates Thursday for spring training at their year-round complex in Peoria, Arizona.

Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 20 and begin workouts on Feb. 21. The rest of the squad reports Feb. 24. The first full-squad workout is Feb. 25.

The Mariners will tentatively open their Cactus League season on March 4 against complex co-tenant San Diego at Peoria Stadium.

MORAN RETURNS

Left-hander Brian Moran is back with the Mariners as a returned Rule 5 pick from the Los Angeles Angels. He spent five years in the Mariners’ system prior to his selection last December by the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays immediately traded Moran, 26, to the Angels, but he missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery April 15 on his elbow.

Moran was a seventh-round pick in 2009 and went 18-17 with a 3.06 ERA in 199 relief appearances over five minor league seasons, including 5-8 and 3.61 in 71 games for Triple-A Tacoma in 2012-13.

2015 ODDS

The Mariners are an 18-1 shot to win the 2015 World Series in odds already posted by www.bovada.lv, an online gaming site. That ranks fourth among American League clubs.

Two National League teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals, rate as early favorites by Bovada at 15-2. San Francisco, which just won its third title in five years, and the St. Louis Cardinals are 12-1.

The Angels and Detroit Tigers draw top odds among AL clubs at 10-1. Pennant-winning Kansas City is next at 16-1, followed by the Mariners.

Four teams rated 100-1: the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins.

The Mariners entered the 2014 season at 28-1 before going 87-75 and missing the postseason by one game.

SHORT HOPS

The Mariners were blanked in the defensive awards presented by The Fielding Bible , but they still have three finalists for Gold Glove Awards, which will be announced Tuesday. Their finalists are pitcher Felix Hernandez, second baseman Robinson Cano and third baseman Kyle Seager. … A reminder: third baseman D.J. Peterson, generally viewed as the organization’s top nonpitching prospect will take part Saturday in the Arizona Fall League’s all-star game. Formally known as the Fall Stars Game, it can be seen at 5 p.m. on MLB Network. …Lefty James Gillheeney gave up just two runs and two hits Wednesday but suffered his first loss in four starts for Hermosillo in the Mexican Pacific League. He is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA (four runs in 21 innings) after going 3-11 with a 5.62 ERA at Triple-A Tacoma.

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