What would a Logan Gilbert extension look like for the Mariners?

Logan Gilbert is one of the most valuable assets in baseball-a controllable starting pitcher. What would an extension look like to keep him in Seattle?
Logan Gilbert, Cal Raleigh- Mariners v Minnesota Twins
Logan Gilbert, Cal Raleigh- Mariners v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

Logan Gilbert has a 3.20 ERA in 10 starts this season and a reflective 3.45 xERA. He ranks in the 100th percentile with a 7.7-foot extension, which essentially just means his already hard 96 MPH four-seam looks closer to triple digits. He's throwing a first-pitch strike on a career-high 68.0% clip this season, a hallmark of pitching under the Mariners current pitching development program.

Gilbert has seen his BB% increase so far this season, he's seen hard hit and barrel decrease. His ability to generate soft contact is impressive, especially when contextualized with a 29.3% whiff rate. He's on his way to his 1st All-Star appearance, it may be wise for Jerry and the front office to explore an extension before the Mariners get priced out.

Gilbert's a Super Two player with two years of service as Chris pointed out in his Sodo MojoGilbert extension piece last year, so 2024 is his first of four total arbitration seasons. He's still under team control for 2025, 2026, and 2027 before he officially hits free agency, but baseball fans know you have to sign a guy before he's within 12 months of testing the market. That gives the Mariners a bit over two years to find the sweet spot and lock up Gilbert long-term, and there are truly only a few points in the year where that conversation leads to consummation. One is the heart of the season, and the other is the throughs of the offseason, the Winter Meetings for example.

As we parse through the history of extensions, it's notable that there are fewer pitcher extensions than position-player extensions. Part of this is due to the heavily covered myriad of calamities occurring with pitcher's elbows, shoulders, etc. However, extending the right arms can be the difference between a Wild Card exit or a trip to the World Series, success in the MLB is on the margins as we well know. One comparable talent recently extended is Logan Webb who signed a 5YR/$90M extension that includes two years of arbitration. Webb is generally considered to be better than Gilbert at this stage and only had two years of arbitration built in. Since Gilbert would have three arb years, he's going to probably get a bit less than Webb received.

Back in November 2021, Sandy Alcantara signed for 5 years, $56M with three years of arbitration remaining, the same as Gilbert. Keep in mind this was both before Sandy's Cy Young year and his subsequent Tommy John surgery, so it's probably a decent comparison. Of course, you would need to allow for some inflationary element there, but 5YR/$65M or even 5YY/$70M is not out of the question for an arm like Gilbert. If Gilbert continues on his All Star trajectory for 2024, I think both the organization and the player could claim victory on an extension through the 2029 season in that dollar range.