As expected the Mariners didn't tender (offer) a contract to catcher Jamie Burke for the 2009 season. This was not a surprising move with Kenji Johjima and Jeff Clement expected to share the catching duties and Rob Johnson and Adam Moore waiting in the wings.
Burke is a solid defensive catcher, a prototypical back-up who calls a good game, handles a pitching staff, can handle the bat and doesn't make waves. He is one of the most genuine professional athletes that I've ever met and a guy that has such a great perspective on baseball and life after toiling in the minor leagues.
Anyway, Burke should be able to find a job as a back-up with another major league team, and I hope he does.
MARINERS NON-TENDER CATCHER JAMIE BURKE
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik today announced that the Mariners did not tender a 2009 contract to catcher Jamie Burke.
Major League clubs must make contract offers ("tender") to every player on their 40-man roster who is not already signed for the 2009 season by Dec. 12 at 9 pm (PDT). Players who are arbitration eligible for the 2009 season (in Seattle's case: LHP Erik Bedard, RHP Aaron Heilman and RHP Felix Hernandez) who are tendered contracts may either agree to a contract or advance to arbitration proceedings with the club.
Burke is now a free agent and may negotiate with any of the 30 Major League teams, including Seattle.
Burke, 37, appeared in 48 games with the Mariners last season, hitting .261 (24x92) with 3 doubles and a home run. He hit .341 (14x41) vs. left-handed pitching and threw out over 29% (5 of 17) of opponents attempting to steal a base. He made his Major League pitching debut July 6 vs. Detroit in the 15th inning and took the loss (1.0 IP, 1 ER).
Burke was originally signed by Seattle as a minor league free agent on Nov. 16, 2006. He appeared in 98 games with Seattle over the past two seasons.