Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto announced today that the club has agreed to terms on 2018 contracts with five arbitration eligible players on the club’s Major League, 40-man roster: right-handed pitchers David Phelps, Erasmo Ramirez & Nick Vincent; left-handed pitcher James Paxton and catcher Mike Zunino. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
By agreeing to terms with the five players, the Mariners have no remaining arbitration-eligible players.
Paxton, 29, was 12-5 with 2.98 ERA (45 ER, 136.0 IP) in 24 starts and was named Mariners Pitcher of the Year by Seattle chapter of Baseball Writers Association of America. He set career bests in wins (12), starts (24), innings (136.0), strikeouts (156) and ERA (2.98). He had two stints on 10-day DL: May 5 (retro to 5/3)-May 31 with left forearm strain (1 rehab start with AA Arkansas May 26 vs. Frisco) and Aug. 11-Sept. 14 with strained left pectoral muscle (suffered in 7th Aug. 10 vs. LAA). He was named American League Pitcher of the Month for July on Aug. 2 after going 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA (6 ER, 39.1 IP) with 46 strikeouts and 6 walks in 6 starts in July, becoming the first Mariners pitcher to win 6 games in a single month.
Phelps, 31, was 2-1 with 3 holds and a 3.12 ERA (3 ER, 8.2 IP) in 10 relief appearances with 11 strikeouts and 5 walks after being acquired by the Mariners from Miami on July 20 last season. Overall, he was 4-5 with 21 holds and a 3.40 ERA (21 ER, 55.2 IP) with 62 strikeouts and 26 walks in 54 combined appearances with the Mariners and Marlins last season. He made two trips to the disabled list with Seattle: was on 10-day DL Aug. 8 (retro to Aug. 7) to Aug. 23 with an impingement in his right elbow and returned to DL Sept. 1-end of season with a right elbow posterior impingement. He had surgery on his right elbow on Sept. 13 to remove a bone spur. At the time of his first DL placement (Aug. 8), he ranked second among Major League relievers in holds (21) and T15th in innings pitched (54.0).
Ramirez, 27, was acquired by Seattle from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for right-handed pitcher Steve Cishek on July 28, 2017. In 11 starts with Seattle, he went 1-3 with a 3.92 ERA (27 ER, 62.0 IP), including recording 7 quality starts. Ramirez began the season with the Rays, going 4-3 with 1 save, 6 holds and a 4.80 ERA (37 ER, 69.1 IP) in 26 games, 8 starts. In six Major League seasons with Seattle (2012-14, 2017) and Tampa Bay (2015-17), he is 30-35 with 3 saves and a 4.20 ERA (276 ER, 592.0 IP) with 463 strikeouts in 182 games, including 82 starts. Ramirez was traded by Seattle to Tampa Bay on March 31, 2015 in exchange for left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery. The native of Rivas, Nicaragua was originally signed by Seattle in 2007 and made his Major League debut in 2012, posting a 3.36 ERA (22 ER, 59.0 IP) in 16 games, including 8 starts that season.
Vincent, 31, was 3-3 with 29 holds and a 3.20 ERA (23 ER, 64.2 IP) with 50 strikeouts in 69 relief appearances last season. Set career highs in games, innings and holds and led the club’s relievers in games and ERA and was second in innings. His 29 holds were second-most in the Majors last season (Taylor Rogers, 30) and were the second-most in Mariners history (A. Rhodes, 32, 2001). Vincent did not allow a run in 57 of his 69 appearances, and was named the Mariners Unsung Hero by the Seattle chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America at the conclusion of the year.
Zunino, 26, appeared in 124 games with Seattle in 2017, setting career highs in runs scored (52), hits (97), doubles (25), home runs (25) and RBI (64). His 25 home runs ranked third in the Majors among catchers, trailing only Gary Sanchez-NYY (33) and Salvador Perez-KC (27). He also ranked among all ML catches (min. 425 PA) in slugging percentage (2nd/.509) and OPS (4th/.840). Zunino also appeared in 12 games with AAA Tacoma (5/5-21), batting .293 (12x41) with 7 runs scored, 2 doubles, 5 home runs and 11 RBI. He was originally selected by the Mariners in the first round (3rd overall) in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Florida. He made his Major League debut for Seattle in 2013 and has appeared in 474 Major League games over 5 seasons.