Wolf granted release by Mariners
Veteran lefty opts not to amend contract to make final roster
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Randy Wolf requested and was granted his release by the Mariners on Tuesday after disagreeing with a "45-day consent release" the club asked him to sign after informing the veteran left-hander he was going to make the 25-man roster as the fifth starter.
Wolf, 37, hasn't pitched in the Majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012, but he earned a job after putting up a 4.26 ERA in five Cactus League starts.
Wolf was to have earned $1 million if he was on the final roster, with another potential $4.25 million in incentives based on appearances and innings pitched. But the Mariners asked him to sign a consent release, as is allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, that would have made it possible for the club to release him or send him to the Minors within the first 45 days of the season.
On the 46th day, his full contract would have become guaranteed.
"I principally objected to that, simply because we negotiated in good faith in February on a very team-friendly contract if I were to make the team," Wolf said. "I felt like I came in in amazing shape, I pitched great, I earned a spot on the team. They told me I earned a spot on the team and, to me, that advanced-consent thing is kind of renegotiating the contract. So I told them I wouldn't sign it. I disagreed with that."
The Mariners also released veteran Scott Baker on Monday, leaving them with five healthy pitchers who've started games this spring -- Felix Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, James Paxton, Roenis Elias and Blake Beavan.
Hernandez is the only established veteran in that group. Beavan has started 43 games over the past three seasons, Ramirez has 21 starts in the past two years, Paxton pitched four games in September and Elias has never been above Double-A ball.
All-Star right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is expected back from a sprained finger tendon in late April, and premier right-handed prospect Taijuan Walker and young right-hander Brandon Maurer are also working their way back from injuries and should be available within the first month or so.
"All we did was ask Randy to sign the 45-day clause, which is very common," said Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. "It's not unusual; it happens a lot. All it does is give us a degree of protection. We didn't have any fear of anything happening with Randy, but he hasn't been on the mound in a Major League Baseball game [since 2012]. We think he's going to be fine, but there's the unknown of a veteran guy that hasn't pitched for a year and a half.
"We made it reasonably clear yesterday that we'd give him the opportunity to break with us, but we also wanted him to sign the 45-day clause for that to happen, and he refused to do it," Zduriencik said. "He had his reasons why. Again, we were within our legal rights under baseball's Basic Agreement, and that's where the misunderstanding came in.
"Randy felt strongly that he's come in and pitched his way onto the club and had every right to basically pitch the entire year, or whatever, and be paid the salary accordingly. We just saw it a little differently."
Wolf, who has a career record of 132-117 with a 4.20 ERA over 14 Major League seasons, said he'll keep working out and look for another opportunity.
"I'm proud of the accomplishment I made to get to the point where I got," Wolf said. "I know how hard I've worked for the past 15-17 months. I know nobody has ever worked as hard as I have and the fact I essentially made the team, in theory I guess is the way to put it, I'm proud of that accomplishment.
"But it's really disappointing how it ended. I felt the day should have started with a handshake and a congratulations, instead of a 24-hour feeling of licking a D-cell battery. It's a really hard time."
Zduriencik said the Mariners' final rotation has not been set yet, noting Hector Noesi is another candidate who has started in the past. Noesi was stretched out to three scoreless innings with one hit in his last outing against the A's on Saturday and has a 2.77 ERA in six spring outings.
"Those decisions haven't been locked in concrete yet," Zduriencik said.