Smyly missed all of 2017 and was expected to miss most of 2018 with elbow issues that required surgery. Simmons made just nine appearances and missed most of the 2017 season with arm issues.
Two talented, but oft-injured pitchers expected to help the Mariners make the postseason in 2017 won’t be back in 2018.
On Thursday afternoon about 30 minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline, the Mariners announced that they had tendered (offered) contracts to 27 un-signed players on their 40-man roster. Those 27 players were under club control as pre-arbitration or arbitration eligible players.
But two of the arbitration eligible players from Seattle’s 40-man roster — left-handed starting pitcher Drew Smyly and right-handed reliever Shae Simmons — were “non-tendered” (not offered contracts). The Mariners now have 35 players on their 40-man roster.
The decision to non-tender Smyly seemed like a given. Since he’s recovering from elbow surgery and not expected to be ready by August at the earliest, it made little sense for Seattle to give Smyly a contract since he will be a free agent after the 2018 season. Smyly made $6.85 million last season. Per the collective bargaining agreement, he could only make 20 percent less than that figure in 2018. The Mariners weren’t going to pay that much for the chance of having Smyly for a month or two.
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Sources said Seattle was open to signing Smyly to a two-year extension for a lesser sum of money per year. But an agreement wasn’t reached.
The lefty never threw a meaningful pitch for the organization after being acquired in the offseason in a trade with the Rays. Slated to be the team’s No. 3 starter for 2017 and this season, Smyly seemed poised for a big season. However, a start in the World Baseball Classic led to serious elbow issues that would eventually acquire season-ending surgery, crushing the Mariners’ rotation.
After pitching twice in spring training, Smyly joined the U.S. team in the WBC. He made one brilliant start for the U.S. on on March 15 against Venezuela, pitching 4 2/3 innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits with eight strikeouts. In that game, he was hitting 94 mph with his fastball, which was unusually high for him. He downplayed the spike in velocity, attributing it to adrenaline and extended rest.
When he returned from the WBC, he made two middling starts. He gave up six runs…