Closer David Aardsma had expected it since July 22 – the day he had major elbow surgery - and today the Seattle Mariners made it official, outrighting him and giving him the option of becoming a free agent, which he did.
In news about as surprising, the Rawlings company and ESPN have announced the finalists for the 2011 Gold Glove awards, which will be given tomorrow. After winning 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, Ichiro Suzuki this year is not even among the three finalists in right field. Ouch.
On Monday, the team activated the right-handed eliever from the disabled list, out righted his contract to the minor leagues and Aardsma elected to become a free agent.
“I knew it was coming. It was pretty obvious the financial commitment was too much for my situation,” said Aardsma, who was paid $4.5 million last year and would have been arbitration-eligible before the 2012 season. “I can still negotiate with Seattle. I’d love to come back.
“It just opened 29 other doors.”
Aardsma, 29, didn’t pitch in the majors last season, stopped early by hip surgery and then – after a rehab assignment with the Taccoma Rainiers – by an elbow injury that required ‘Tommy John’ surgery.
Seattle’s closer for the previous two seasons, Aardsma is not expected to pitch again before the All-Star break in 2012.
In a day of moves made on paper, the Mariners also lost reliever Jeff Gray to the Minnesota Twins on a waiver claim, while activating outfielder Franklin Gutierrez and catcher Adam Moore from the 60-day disabled list.
Along with Aardsma, four Mariners – catcher Josh Bard, infielder Adam Kennedy, first baseman Wily Mo Pena and pitcher Jamey Wright - became free agents.
The flurry left the Mariners 40-man roster at 37.
“I knew from the day I had surgery that 65his day was coming,” Aardsma said. “Where do I go from here? I’ll find what comes next, professionally. I’ll talk to my agent, we’ll see what’s on the market.
“As far as Seattle, it’s in their hands. I’m open. I’d definitely interested in coming back.”
Other teams can begin negotiating with free agents other than their own on Thursday.
As for the American League Gold Glove in right field, ESPN lists three finalists: Baltimore’s Nick Markakis, Torii Hunter of trhe Angels and Kansas City’s Jeff Francoeur.
No Mariner was among the three finalists at any position.