Mariners contract extensions: 2 they should do now, and 2 they should wait on

It is never too early to talk about contract extensions, but who should the Mariners focus on first? Here are two players the Mariners should extend now, and two players they should wait on.

Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Guardians
Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Player who should be extended now: George Kirby, RHP

George Kirby is one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball. You non-Mariners fans may be surprised to hear that, but it is just true. Kirby owns a career 3.37 ERA over his 320 innings, with a 3.20 FIP, 1.10 WHIP and a walk rate of just 1.2 per 9 innings. He even led all of baseball in walks per 9 innings in 2023 with 0.9, and in strikeouts to walk ratio of 9.05. He has been compared to Greg Maddux and Cliff Lee by others in the industry, and the walk numbers prove that to be true.

Remember the old Greg Maddux joke? Do not ever hire Greg Maddux to paint your house, because all he does is paint the corners! The same can be said for Kirby, and the Mariners need to make sure this guy sticks around for the long haul. They can do that by signing him to a long extension, now. I know signing pitchers to long term deals can be a scary thought, and I get it. Players like Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg and Carlos Rodon have not worked out. Pitchers get injured. Tommy John can take up to 18 months to be fully recovered, and that can eat a significant portion of a players contract.

The fact of the matter is, George Kirby is not Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasberg or Carlos Rodon. Kirby does not come with significant injury questions, or is he reliant of one or two gimmicky things to make him great. George does not walk anybody, he gives up home runs at a below league average rate, and he can still strike guys out at a respectable pace. His price will be high, and the Mariners should be ready to pay it. Say the Mariners off him an 8 year, $200,000,000 deal, does he say no? I do not think so.