PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners declined to extend retention bonuses to outfielder Endy Chavez and catcher Humberto Quintero on Tuesday, making both veterans free agents, but Chavez agreed to a Minor League contract shortly after and will remain in Seattle's system.
Both players were in camp as non-roster invitees on Minor League deals, but Tuesday was the deadline to extend $100,000 retention bonuses for six-year veterans that would have added them to the 40-man Major League roster.
If they'd been added to the 40-man, both would have been able to decline being optioned back to the Minors since both have more than six years of Major League service time. So the deadline effectively forced the team's hand on decisions with both players prior to Sunday's 4 p.m. PT deadline for the final 25-man roster.
Chavez, 36, hit .267 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 14 RBIs In 97 games for Seattle last year after joining the team in mid-April. He was competing for the final outfield berth on the Mariners 25-man roster this spring, but instead now has agreed to a Triple-A contract and will begin the season again in Tacoma.
That leaves five outfielders in Seattle's Major League camp - Dustin Ackley, Abraham Almonte, Michael Saunders, Corey Hart and Stefen Romero. That figures to be the final five, unless the Mariners make any roster additions prior to Monday night's opener in Anaheim.