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Smoak, Morrison exchange figures with Mariners

Agreement deadline for arbitration passes before pair can work out deals

Smoak, Morrison exchange figures with Mariners

SEATTLE -- Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak and outfielder/first baseman Logan Morrison were among about 40 arbitration-eligible players around the Major Leagues who declined to come to contract terms prior to a Friday deadline and now have exchanged contract numbers with their teams.

The unsigned arbitration-eligible players are under contract for the upcoming season, but how much they'll get paid is yet to be determined. Players who didn't come to an agreement prior to the 10 a.m. PT deadline can still settle at any time, but if no agreement is reached, they'll go to binding arbitration with their teams at hearings in February.

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According to The News Tribune, Smoak is asking for $3.25 million, while the Mariners offered $2.025 million. The newly acquired Morrison is asking for $2.5 million, with the Mariners countering at $1.1 million.

MLBTradeRumors.com, which has come fairly close on estimates of how much most arbitration-eligible players will get paid, predicted Smoak would earn $2.8 million, with Morrison at $2 million.

Seattle had three arbitration-eligible players this offseason, but outfielder Michael Saunders agreed to a one-year, $2.3 million deal on Wednesday.

If Smoak and Morrison don't settle in the interim, the players and team will each present their case to an arbitration panel between Feb. 1-21, and the panel will choose which number to go with. The Mariners haven't had a player go all the way through the arbitration process since Freddy Garcia in 2003.

Morrison, 26, was acquired by Seattle in a trade with the Marlins for reliever Carter Capps in December. This is his first season of arbitration eligibility. He earned $491,500 last year, but all players see their salaries rise as they reach arbitration in the fourth through sixth years of Major League service time.

Morrison batted .247 with 23 home runs and 72 RBIs in 2011 while starting 119 games in left field for the Marlins, but his playing time and production has been limited the past two years by a knee injury that has required a pair of surgeries. He hit .242 with six homers and 36 RBIs in 85 games in 2013 while seeing most of his playing time at first base.

Smoak, 27, has been Seattle's primary starting first baseman for the past three years and is also entering his first season of arbitration after earning $514,000 in 2013.

Smoak hit .238 with a career-best .334 on-base and .412 slugging percentage last year with 20 home runs and 50 RBIs in 131 games.

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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