BY SPNW Staff 03:16PM 10/31/2011

Mariners Option Aardsma, Now A Free Agent

The Seattle Mariners made four roster moves to start baseball’s offseason, most notably optioning former closer David Aardsma, who opted to become a free agent.

David Aardsma - Seattle Mariners - 2010 - 1

David Aardsma saved 69 games in his two seasons (2009-10) with the Mariners. Aardsma is now a free agent/ Ben Van Houten, Mariners

One day following the official start of baseball’s offseason (start date is five days after the end of the World Series), the Mariners quickly made four roster moves, the most significant of which is that former closer David Aardsma is no longer in Seattle’s plans. The Mariners outrighted Aardsma, and he opted to become a free agent.

The Mariners also removed both OF Franklin Gutierrez and C Adam Moore from the 60-day disabled list and claimed RHP Jeff Gray off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.

That Aardsma has become a free agent is no surprise. The 29-year old, acquired in a 2009 trade with the Boston Red Sox, did not pitch in the majors this past season after recovering from a pair of injuries.

He had surgery last Jan. 3 to repair a tear in the labrum of his left hip, and also had ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) replacement surgery (Tommy John) on his right elbow on July 22 (performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum).

In two seasons with the Mariners, Aardsma combined to record 69 saves, fourth-most in club history. But Aardsma became expendable due his salary ($4.5 million) and the emergence of Brandon League ($2.5 million), who recorded 37 saves, third in the American League and tied for the fourth most in club history. From May 17 through the end of the season, League went 27-for-29 in save opportunities with a 1.04 ERA.

The Mariners placed Gutierrez, 28, on the 60-day disabled list with a strained left oblique on Sept. 6. In 92 games this past season, Gutierrez batted just .224 (72×322) with 13 doubles, one home run and 19 RBIs. Gutierrez missed the first 41 games of the season while on the disabled list with stomach gastritis.

Winner of a Gold Glove in 2010, Gutierrez will enter the 2012 season with a streak of 786 consecutive errorless chances in center field.

The Mariners placed Moore, 27, on the 60-day disabled list, retroactive to April 7, with a torn medial meniscus in his right knee on April 8. Moore underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on April 12.

Moore appeared in just two games for the Mariners in 2011, going 1-for-6 (.167) with a double. He is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League with the Peoria Javelinas.

Gray, 29, appeared in 24 games for the Mariners in 2011, going 0-1 with one save and a 4.89 ERA (19 ER, 35.0 IP). He was claimed off waivers from the Chicago White Sox on May 13. In parts of four major league seasons with the A’s (2008-09), Cubs (2010), White Sox (2011) and Mariners (2011), Gray has combined to go 1-2 with a 4.57 ERA in 66 relief appearances.

The period in which clubs can negotiate exclusively with their own free agents runs through Nov. 2. Other key dates before teams report to spring training:

Nov. 23: Last day for teams to offer salary arbitration to their former players who became free agents.

Dec. 5-8: Baseball’s Winter Meetings, Dallas, TX.

Dec. 7: Last day for free agents offered salary arbitration to accept the offers.

Feb. 19, 2012: Voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players at spring training.


  • marcelsees

    On the all-time roster of Major League baseball players, Aardsma is alphabetically the very first listed.  Can the M’s afford to give up on that kind of baseball notoriety?

  • marcelsees

    On the all-time roster of Major League baseball players, Aardsma is alphabetically the very first listed.  Can the M’s afford to give up on that kind of baseball notoriety?

  • Tom

    “I’d keep Jackson as the starter and use the cash and draft resources
    elsewhere. Otherwise, you’re trusting Carroll and Schneider to know an
    QB upgrade when they see one,  a case they’ve yet to make.”

    So they shouldn’t go after a QB of the future because… they have yet to find the QB of the future?  Come on Art, that’s just silly.  Based on the light resources they sunk into Jackson and Whitehurst, it’s pretty clear that Carroll and Schneider themselves never thought those guys were long term answers.  They weren’t going to reach for a QB in the draft the last couple of years, and they’re just biding their time until they find the guy they really like.

    • Art Thiel

      Tom, you make my point. As I wrote zippy, they can’t get Luck and Griffin, and the rest in 2012 aren’t necessarily long-term answers. You’re right — they shouldn’t reach for a long-term QB. But the placeholder, Jackson, can be good for one more year.

    • Guest

      I wouldn’t call dropping 20 spots in the 2nd round and adding a 3rd rounder along with the 8 mil contract “light.”

  • zippy

    Time for Carroll and Schneider to earn their money– pick that QB – they did a good job on the rest of the team- but come on Art, this is a QB league– Carrol’s future depends on his skill, or more likely luck (small case), finding a true upper rung NFL QB — something the seahawks have never had.

    • Art Thiel

      They aren’t going to get — or trade up for — Luck or Griffin, so that leaves a draftee field that may have as much talent in the third round as lower first, especially if Landry Jones stays in school. Flynn would be a better choice, but they have to trade to get him with at least four other teams in competition. The Seahawks can make the playoffs with Jackson, even though he’s not a long-term answer. 

  • zippy

    more misses than hits in finding the next QB- but Hawks have to at least try in this draft — maybe not in first round – many greats picked up in later rounds– there is somebody who will be picked up after round one who will be a great slinger – the trick is to decide who that is– watching a couple of Arizona’s games, thought  Foles is worth close look –