SEATTLE -- Robert Andino's fling with free agency was brief on Friday night, as the Mariners' newly acquired infielder signed a one-year contract with Seattle about 15 minutes after he was non-tendered at the 9 p.m. PT deadline.
Though Andino momentarily became a free agent with his non-tendering, clearly he and the Mariners were working on a deal that was ultimately announced at 9:15 p.m.
The club also signed right-handed reliever Josh Kinney to a one-year deal and tendered contracts to its four other arbitration-eligible players: starting pitcher Jason Vargas, shortstop Brendan Ryan, catcher John Jaso and reliever Shawn Kelley.
Andino was just acquired from the Orioles on Nov. 20 in a trade for outfielder Trayvon Robinson. He earned $1.3 million last year in his first season of arbitration-eligibility.
Kinney was set to enter his first season in the arbitration process after playing for the Major League minimum of $490,000 last year as a midseason callup, but he agreed to a deal shortly before the tender deadline. Terms were not disclosed.
With the four tendered players, the Mariners begin the bargaining process that will either lead to contracts being signed or going to arbitration if no agreement can be reached.
Vargas and Ryan are both entering their third and final year of arbitration-eligibility and will be free agents next season. Vargas, coming off a career-high 14-win season, earned $4.85 million last year, and the 29-year-old lefty figures to be in line for a significant raise.
Ryan, 30, will be an interesting case as he earned $1.75 million last year and hit just .194, but earned a Fielding Bible Award as the best defensive shortstop in baseball.
Kelley is in his second season of arbitration-eligibility after agreeing to a $600,000 deal last year as a Super Two qualifier. Jaso hits the arbitration process for the first time after making $495,000 in 2012.
Players who have been tendered contracts but have not yet come to an agreement with their club by Jan. 18 will exchange salary figures with the team at that time. If no deal is subsequently reached, an arbitration hearing will be scheduled in February. If a hearing is needed, an independent arbiter makes a binding decision on a one-year salary that is either the number submitted by the player or the team.
The Mariners haven't had a player go all the way to a final binding arbitration hearing since Freddy Garcia in 2003.