The fact that the Seattle Mariners re-upped with left-handed reliever Charlie Furbush for one year and $750,000 is not necessarily a big deal on its own. Well, other than the fact that it is a preview of the future when Robinson Cano has sapped the team’s entire payroll, they cannot pay anybody except him more than a million bucks, and Jay-Z giggles while he counts his money and makes the sports world mad.
Anyhow, there was a wrinkle in this signing as far as Major League Baseball’s arbitration process is concerned.
Charlie Furbush’s deal with Seattle is for $750,000, even though he’s not arbitration-eligible. Union and MLB agreed to inflated salary.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 17, 2013
The reason this matters is because the 27-year-old Furbush’s status could have changed in the near future pending the results of infielder Ruben Tejada‘s pending grievance against the New York Mets. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reported on the issue last month:
Infielder Ruben Tejada is considering filing a grievance against the New York Mets, accusing the team of shortchanging him one day of service time that would have allowed him to become a free agent after the 2016 season instead of 2017, two sources with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo Sports.
While teams regularly manipulate service time to keep players from reaching arbitration early, Tejada’s case is unique not only in keeping him from free agency but the Mets not trying to hide it.
Steve Adams of MLBTradeRumors explains how that could have impacted Furbush:
As was reported last month, an extra day of service time would give Tejada exactly three years of service time. Furbush would then have the next-most service time among players with two-plus years, pushing him into the top 22 percent and making him eligible for Super Two status.
By agreeing to this deal, both Furbush and the Mariners stay out of that whole labor situation and focus on next season.