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Smyly leads Mariners non-tender candidates

Lefty had Tommy John surgery in spring and didn't pitch in 2017
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- With a Friday deadline looming on whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, the Mariners face a couple interesting decisions as they continue shaping their roster for 2018.

General manager Jerry Dipoto could work out a new deal with injured left-hander Drew Smyly prior to Friday's 5 p.m. PT deadline. If not, the club must either decide whether it wants to go into the final season of arbitration with the 28-year-old, which would keep him under team control, but likely result in a contract close to the $6.85 million he earned last year.

SEATTLE -- With a Friday deadline looming on whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, the Mariners face a couple interesting decisions as they continue shaping their roster for 2018.

General manager Jerry Dipoto could work out a new deal with injured left-hander Drew Smyly prior to Friday's 5 p.m. PT deadline. If not, the club must either decide whether it wants to go into the final season of arbitration with the 28-year-old, which would keep him under team control, but likely result in a contract close to the $6.85 million he earned last year.

Given Smyly is recovering from Tommy John surgery to his left elbow and isn't expected to begin throwing until late next season, it would seem likely the Mariners would either non-tender him and allow him to become a free agent, or sign a multi-year deal that allows him to continue rehabbing with the club and be ready to compete in 2019.

Smyly, who didn't pitch at all last season after injuring his elbow during Spring Training, is one of eight Mariners who are eligible for arbitration. In addition to Smyly, they are starting pitchers James Paxton and Erasmo Ramirez, relievers David Phelps, Nick Vincent and Shae Simmons, catcher Mike Zunino and recently claimed utility man Andrew Romine.

Romine is another potential non-tender candidate as he earned $1.3 million last year from the Tigers and would be in line to push that closer to $2 million in his final season of arbitration.

The only other non-tender possibility would seem to be Simmons, who isn't in line for a significant salary bump in his first season of arbitration eligibility, but is coming off an injury-plagued season during which he made just nine appearances for Seattle as a September callup.

Teams don't have to make a financial contract offer by Friday's deadline, but they do need to let the players know if they will be entering the arbitration phase with them. If so, both sides then have about two months to negotiate a deal. If not, the process goes to an arbitration panel in February.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Andrew Romine, Drew Smyly