In the midst of a quiet off-season, today is a big news day for the Mariners:
The #Mariners have signed Marco Gonzales to a 4-year contract extension through 2024 with a club option for 2025.— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) February 3, 2020
Since 2018, Gonzales ranks 9th among qualified American League pitchers with 7.1 fWAR.
Read: https://t.co/U9aLVjJd4f pic.twitter.com/W9IBzK1n2w
The deal buys out two years of Gonzales’s free agency, including the club option, and keeps him in Seattle through his age-33 season. If Rosenthal’s source is accurate, it’s also a pretty good deal for the Mariners:
Terms of Marco Gonzales’ extension with #Mariners, per source: Four years, $30M, starting in 2021, plus a club option for a fifth season. Buys out one year of free agency with possibility of buying out a second. Gonzales already under contract for 2020 at $1M.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 3, 2020
Before we got the terms of the deal, the financial prognosticators on staff (Tim, Grant, and Zach) had all guessed upwards of $40M for the contract, so this deal comes in well below that. John points out that the Mariners are already paying Marco a little more after the Cardinals potentially pulled some service-time shenanigans with him, but even rolling that into the deal, this looks like a slam-dunk for the Mariners, as long as Marco continues to do Marco things for the foreseeable future.
Gonzales isn’t going to light up any radar guns, but he has been a consistent performer since donning Northwest Green, racking up 7.1 fWAR/5.7 bWAR over his two full seasons in the Mariners’ organization. In the short time Marco has been a Mariner, he already ranks 20th all-time among Mariners starters in fWAR, and has a chance to crack the top-15 assuming he can accumulate 1.2 fWAR this season. He’s not flashy, but Dipoto’s statement sums up the value of Steady-Eddy Marco to the M’s organization:
“Since joining the Mariners, Marco has been a model of consistency, quietly ranking among the most productive starting pitchers in the AL. His presence, competitiveness, preparation and leadership make him a key part of our future.”
In addition to his performance on the field, Gonzales has also gone outside the lines to establish himself as a face of the franchise, making appearances at the annual Mariners Caravan and at various charitable endeavors around the Seattle area, where he lives full-time with his wife, Monica (as well as their cat and adorable fluffy puppy, Lou). At the Media Luncheon last week, Scott Servais spoke of Marco’s desire to take on the elder statesman role this season with the young pitching staff and become a team leader, something reflected in Marco’s statement after his signing:
“This is truly an exciting day for me and my family. We consider the city of Seattle our home, and to be welcomed by the Mariner organization and the fans with such open arms, and now this contract, is a dream come true. This organization has a vision for winning a championship, and I am honored to be a part of their plans. This will only further motivate me and the passion that I have to compete and win. I do not take their commitment to me lightly, and I will always represent this team and this city with honor and pride.”
With memorable post-game comments (remember when he was annoyed about the Blue Jays fans “taking a dump on our dining-room table”?) including some well-deserved salt towards the Astros and Red Sox, and his well-documented Best Friendship with erstwhile Mariner and fellow crafty lefty Wade LeBlanc, Marco has frequently been one of the most consistent and biggest personalities on the team. Locking Gonzales down to a four-year-plus contract means his personality will help inform who the Mariners are going forward. After years of tumult and a consistently-changing cast of characters, it finally feels like the Mariners team of the future is establishing an identity, led by Captain Marco. Here’s to many more nights like this:
There will be a press conference with Dipoto and Marco tomorrow afternoon which will be streamed on Mariners.com, or on the Mariners’ Twitter or Facebook accounts; check back tomorrow for the exact time.