When the Mariners were busy shipping away tradeable players with any sort of value in the search of young talent as part of their “step-back” rebuild plan, left-hander Marco Gonzales was one of the few that they decided to keep around.
Affordable and effective as their top starting pitcher, affable and ultra-committed to his preparation and his craft, the Mariners felt he would be an outstanding example for their crew of talented young pitching prospects coming up in the system.
And the Mariners have rewarded him with a four-year, $30 million contract extension, starting in 2021, which will make him a part of the organization through 2024 with an option for the 2025 season. It buys out three years of arbitration and his first year of free agency.
Per the Associated Press, Gonzales will receive a $1 million signing bonus, half payable within 30 days and half next Jan. 15. He will earn $5 million in 2021, $5.5 million in 2022, $6.5 million in 2023 and $12 million in 2024, which would have been his first year of free agency. The Mariners’ 2025 option is for $15 million and has no buyout clause. Gonzales would get a $250,000 assignment bonus if traded, a provision that also covers this season.
“Since joining the Mariners, Marco has been a model of consistency, quietly ranking among the most productive starting pitchers in the AL,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a news release. “His presence, competitiveness, preparation and leadership make him a key part of our future.”
Gonzales posted a 16-13 record with a 3.99 earned-run average in a career-high 34 starts and 203 innings pitched. Gonzales struck out 147 batters and walked 56 while tying for the most starts in the American League while ranking fifth in wins (16), sixth in quality starts (19) and seventh in innings pitched (203).
“This is truly an exciting day for me and my family,” Gonzales said in a news release. “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.”
A standout at Gonzaga and a first-round pick (19th overall) by the Cardinals in the 2017 draft, Gonzales battled injuries early in his career, including Tommy John surgery in 2016. Seattle acquired him in a trade for outfielder Tyler O’Neill on July 21, 2017. In three seasons with Seattle, he has produced a 30-23 record with a 4.12 ERA in 73 starts.
Gonzales and his wife, Monica, live in the Seattle area year-round with their dog Louie. They’re very active in the community and he’s an active Seahawks and Sounders fan. He also participates in Mariners’ Care Programs and other outside charities including: On Base Youth Clinics and Play Ball events promoting baseball and softball across the Pacific Northwest, supporting Challenger Little League athletes with physical and mental disabilities, visiting patients and families at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, working diligently with Monica to bring awareness to Multiple Systems Atrophy.