At the start of the 2021 season, the Seattle Mariners played the San Francisco Giants at T-Mobile Park. It was Marco Gonzales vs Kevin Gausman. What if… Kevin Gausman started the season in T-Mobile once again, but this time, as a member of the Seattle Mariners?
It’s something that I think could happen. He found success on the West Coast this year in a dominating year with the Giants, helping lead their rotation, and team, to the best record in all of baseball. I wrote about one of his teammates that helped out on the mound as well, but he was second fiddle to Gausman. With Gausman’s great year, he looks bound to receive a contract worth of a number one pitcher.
The Mariners could be the team that comes calling for Kevin Gausman
I think Gausman has all the intangibles to be the new frontman for the Mariners. He had a short 2019, but ate up a good amount of innings in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2021. Check out his numbers from those seasons.
- 2016 – 30 starts, 179.2 IP, 3.61 ERA, 4.10 FIP , 1.280 WHIP, 8.7 K/9
- 2017 – 34 starts, 186.2 IP, 4.68 ERA, 4.48 FIP, 1.495 WHIP, 8.6 K/9
- 2018 – 31 starts, 183.2 IP, 3.62 ERA, 4.32 FIP, 1.301 WHIP, 7.3 K/9
- 2021 – 33 starts, 192.0 IP, 2.81 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 1.042 WHIP, 10.6 K/9
He even had a nice short season last year with the Giants, netting a 3.09 FIP in 59.2 innings. I’m not putting a ton into that though. I didn’t do it for players who struggled in the ridiculous 2020 season, so I’m not going to do it when players did well either.
I draw a couple of things from looking at his stats. He is a better bet than most to make it through a season with worry. He makes his starts, and he is going to eat innings while he does it. That’s 5.8 innings per start. Not bad for a guy nowadays. Yeah, we all want someone who is going to go 7. Guess what? It just doesn’t happen that often anymore.
His ERA, FIP, WHIP, and K/9 all dropped quite a lot. In 2019, he only threw 102.1 innings, but he moved to the pen part way through the year, had a 3.98 FIP, and 10.0 K/9. He struck out 11.9 K/9 last year as well, so it does seem like he has made a change there. He’s become a more dominant pitcher and seems to be representative more of the pitcher that we saw this year as opposed to who he was in Baltimore back 16/17/18.
There is a bit of a worry to me that he might be getting overpaid this offseason. Spotrac has him at $22.47 million for his market value, but I could see it going a bit higher. Having that go-to starter at the head of your rotation is important. If you are getting a guy who can make every start, go six innings, only give up two runs, and strikeout 7-8 every outing, then it’s not bad to overpay a bit.
He’s going to be 31 for the entirety of the upcoming season. It’s a tough spot to predict for someone in his age range. Would he want a contract with potential opt-outs after three years or so? That way, he could get back into free agency and get one more big contract before he retires. Or, does he look for a 5/6 year deal to set him up for the rest of his life, regardless of how he pitches?
It can be hard to tell. Chances are, he is going to sign a five-year deal. The hard part is going to be those opt-outs and buy-outs. However, if he is interested in coming to the Mariners, I think it’s gonna be somewhere in the neighborhood around what Carlos Rodon would get. I value them about the same, if not putting Kevin Gausman a bit higher. Rodon has a higher ceiling, but Gausman is worlds more reliable.
Five years, $120 million? I think he could end up signing right around there. A lot of these pitchers are in the same boat for AAV, but for a multitude of reasons. If that’s the contract that he ends up signing with the Mariners, I think all of us fans in Seattle should feel pretty happy with Kevin Gausman be leading the way for us in years to come.