Game 126, Guardians at Mariners: Celebration of Life

marc w · August 26, 2022 at 5:18 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Logan Gilbert vs. Shane Bieber, 7:10pm

In a day that will be remembered fondly for decades, the M’s have signed Julio Rodriguez to a massive (and complicated) extension. Essentially, the minimum guarantee is 8 years and $210 million, but with escalators and team options could run until the late 2030s and approach $500 million ($470M). It’s a big, big deal, and Julio will be a Mariner for a long, long time. Tonight’s game will be a celebration, a party.

Is it a fair deal? Fangraphs’ Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projection-based look suggests it balances the risks to team and player pretty well, and that’s my own view. The massive top-line, maximum outlay happens if Julio becomes what it looks like he’s becoming, and the team isn’t crushed if he doesn’t.

More importantly for all of us, Julio will be a Mariner for 7-8 more years at the very least. We’re finally getting the superstar we haven’t had since Felix, and unlike so many teams, we’re not dreading the arrival of big arb paydays or imminent free agency. The M’s developed a star, the star stays, and the fans benefit. This is how it’s supposed to go.

Even more, tonight’s game is a celebration of what can happen when you don’t try and squeeze every financial advantage at the expense of players. The M’s May or not feel burned by their pre arb Evan White deal. Jarred Kelenic sure felt burned by the M’s insistence he sign one if he wanted to see the majors in 2020, and then by waiting until gaining an extra year of club control in 2021.

I’m probably too optimistic, but this deal and the playoff-hunt context it was signed in, *really should* put an end to all of those service time shenanigans. The M’s had Julio up on day one. If he struggled, they could have sent him down. But they made a choice not to muck around with his salary, and I assume Julio was aware of that heading into these negotiations. Had they left him down, his adjustment period may have come not in April but June, and if that was the case, I’m not sure the M’s are in wild card position right now.

Bring players up when they’re ready. If they’re awesome, pay them to stick around. This is the easiest stuff ever, and it’s an indictment of baseball that it’s comparatively rare. But let’s celebrate. Let’s celebrate Julio potentially being a Mariner for decades. Let’s celebrate the mundane but cool idea of doing the obvious right thing and not the easier, “clever” thing. This is the first night of a new era. Certainly for the M’s and their fans, but hopefully for all of baseball.

1: Julioooo, CF
2: Winker, LF
3: Haniger, DH
4: Suarez, 3B
5: Santana, 1B
6: Frazier, 2
7: Raleigh, C
8: Crawford, SS
9: Haggerty, RF
SP: Gilbert


3 Responses to “Game 126, Guardians at Mariners: Celebration of Life”

  1. Westside guy on August 26th, 2022 5:46 pm

    Julio is ours and you can’t have him!

  2. Stevemotivateir on August 26th, 2022 6:02 pm

    Had they left him down, his adjustment period may have come not in April but June, and if that was the case, I’m not sure the M’s are in wild card position right now.

    This is something I’ve thought about a lot and not just in way of service time, but by default. Had they signed a free agent outfielder and second baseman, he could’ve been squeezed out for quite a while. For example, when Haniger went on the COVID IL, we could’ve seen Frazier off the bench and in RF.

    I still think they should have added one more bat last offseason, but things have generally played out pretty well.

    And this extension will hopefully send a clear message to fans & free agents alike: Seattle is committed.

    Now, let’s see them get at least one more outfielder, a middle-infielder, and a shut-down LHRP…after making a run this season, of course.

  3. Stevemotivateir on August 26th, 2022 6:37 pm

    To be clear, that’s at least one more outfielder in addition to bringing Haniger back.

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