Marco Gonzales has made me happy to be a Mariners fan. A consumate professional, the guy was out there fairly consistently, taking the reins as the leader of the Mariners rotation while being under equipped to do so.
The Mariners rewarded him for it back in February of 2020 with a 4YR/$30M deal that worked through the end of his arbitration seasons and would see him get $12.25M in 2024 while holding a club option for $15 million in 2025. It was a good bet that if he was still performing, it would be a good deal for the club. Without a buyout, they would be scot-free after 2024 if he was underperforming.
If it was a player option, the Mariners would be far more hamstrung by the deal. Even so, the Mariners are still in a rough position with Marco Gonzales, and it's one that is slightly holding back the team from pushing for a World Series.
I wish it wasn't this way. I want the Marco from 2018-2020. The one with a 3.85 ERA and 3.75 FIP. The one that limited homers and had a great BB rate. He would be fighting alongside the other current starters for the numbered heirarchy in the rotation, instead of on the outside looking in at the #5 spot.
That's where he currently is, and it pains me to see it. It's also holding the team back from spending. I can't say it for certain, but if Marco Gonzales wasn't signed to a deal like that, I think they would've went out and spent a little on another player. I'm not talking huge money, but they would've been able to spend it on another impactful player. Instead, that money is with Marco and likely in the bullpen.
I love that he got paid. He deserves it for how he did, and the fact that baseball players are so woefully underpaid over the first 5-6 years of their career is a joke and a conversation for another day. Unfortunately, Marco isn't the pitcher he once was, and I think it is slightly holding the Mariners back.
I hope he proves me wrong in 2023 and does so with the Mariners.