Mariners center fielder Leonys Martin’s bounce-back year puts him in line for a raise of more than $2 million through arbitration, according to annual projections compiled by www.MLBTradeRumors.com.
The Mariners could have as many as 12 players eligible for arbitration, depending on the not-yet-announced cutoff for players to qualify under the Super-2 provision.
But Martin, easily, is in line for the biggest raise after batting .247 with 15 homers and 47 RBIs while grading out defensively at plus-9 in total zone fielding runs above average.
The MLBTR projections show Martin getting $6.3 million through negotiation or arbitration after making $4.15 million in 2016. The projections are based on a formula devised by Matt Swartz over the last five years.
The projections in previous years were accurate last year to within $300,000 in 65 percent of all arbitration-eligible players.
Players must have three full years of Major League service to be guaranteed eligibility for arbitration. The top 22 percent of those players with between two and three years of service qualify under the super-2 provision.
The Mariners are unlikely to agree to arbitration with many of their eligible players, which means they must negotiate an agreement prior to Dec. 2 or allow the player to become a free agent.
Five Mariners are arbitration-eligible for the first time, although one is catcher Steve Clevenger, who is likely to be released after ending the season on suspension as a result of posting racially-insensitive comments on twitter.
The Mariners have interest in retaining the other four: catcher Mike Zunino and relievers Nick Vincent, Vidal Nuno and Evan Scribner.
All are in line for hefty raises: Zunino from about $530,000 to $1.7 million; Vincent from $525,500 to $1.5 million; Nuno from $532,900 to $1.1 million; and Scribner from $807,500 to $1.1 million.
While pitchers Taijuan Walker and James Paxton do not have the necessary three full years of major-league service to qualify for arbitration, each are likely to qualify under the super-2 provision.
Both made about $530,000 this season, but arbitration is expected to push that next year to $2.8 million for Walker, and $2.7 million for Paxton.
Players who don’t qualify typically earn the MLB minimum or slightly more. That minimum this year was $507,500.
The anticipated super-2 cutoff is between 2 years, 127 days of service, and 2 years, 131 days. Paxton has 2.151, and Walker has a 2.142. But catcher Jesus Sucre, at 2.125, could fall just short.
Even is Sucre qualifies, the Mariners are unlikely to let negotiations go to arbitration if they fail to reach a negotiated settlement prior to the deadline.
Also eligible for arbitration: relievers Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen, and swingman Ryan Cook. All three are likely to be released, designated for assignment or simply not offered a contract (non-tendered) prior to the deadline.
Furbush and Cook spent the entire season on the disabled list. Wilhelmsen projects to make $3.8 million, which is probably more than the Mariners, with numerous other options, will be willing to pay.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners