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Trio of Mariners begins arbitration process

Saunders, Smoak and Morrison all file in their respective first years of eligibility

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SEATTLE -- Three Mariners players -- outfielder Michael Saunders, first baseman Justin Smoak and newly acquired outfielder/first baseman Logan Morrison -- were among the 146 Major Leaguers who filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday, according to the Major League Baseball Players Association.

This is the first year of arbitration eligibility for all three Mariners, and they'll now begin the process of exchanging salary request figures with the team on Friday, which is the day clubs must state their own arbitration offers.

If the two sides don't come to an agreement, arbitration hearings take place in February, with an independent panel selecting either the player's request or the team's offer as their binding 2014 salary.

In most cases, the two sides come to some middle-ground agreement before reaching an arbitration hearing. The last Mariner to actually reach the hearing phase was pitcher Freddy Garcia in 2003.

Under MLB's collective bargaining agreement, players become arbitration eligible after their third year on a Major League roster, or if they're among the top 22 percent in accumulated service time for players with just under three years in the Majors.

Saunders just missed that 22 percent mark -- the Super Two group -- last year.

Other than the Super Twos who gain an extra year of arbitration, players are arbitration-eligible from their fourth through sixth years, then become free agents.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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