40 in 40: Marco Gonzales is the new last piece of the Ship of Theseus

Every Major League Baseball group is, by the nature of the sport, a Ship of Theseus. The title is the similar, and its group, title, location, and function stay largely constant. And but, yr over yr, the components change. An Opening Day ultimately got here the place the Orioles did not characteristic Brooks Robinson, the Cardinals had no Stan Musial, Willie Stargell wasn’t on the roster for the Pirates, and Edgar Martinez had hung them as much as let a new soul take his area for the Seattle Mariners. Every membership is a dry dock shifting and changing components to make a voyage as profitable as they’re keen to afford, and no group must be extra prepared for the journey than the Mariners. In current years, the M’s have been a harbor of more and more temporary calls, nonetheless. In 2023, Seattle will as soon as once more have the least-tenured longest-tenured Seattle Mariner since Ken Griffey Jr.’s debut marketing campaign in 1989, save of course for 2022.

Longest-Tenured Active Seattle Mariners of the Past 35 Years

Year Player Year w/SEA
Year Player Year w/SEA
1989 T-4 (Dave Valle, Harold (*40*), Jim Presley, & Mark Langston) 6
1990 T-2 (Dave Valle & Harold (*40*)) 7
1991 T-2 (Dave Valle & Harold (*40*)) 8
1992 T-2 (Dave Valle & Harold (*40*)) 9
1993 T-2 (Dave Valle & Harold (*40*)) 10
1994 Edgar Martinez 8
1995 Edgar Martinez 9
1996 Edgar Martinez 10
1997 Edgar Martinez 11
1998 Edgar Martinez 12
1999 Edgar Martinez 13
2000 Edgar Martinez 14
2001 Edgar Martinez 15
2002 Edgar Martinez 16
2003 Edgar Martinez 17
2004 Edgar Martinez 18
2005 Dan Wilson 12
2006 Jamie Moyer 11
2007 Raúl Ibanez 9
2008 Raúl Ibanez 10
2009 Ichiro Suzuki 9
2010 Ichiro Suzuki 10
2011 Ichiro Suzuki 11
2012 Ichiro Suzuki 12
2013 Raúl Ibanez 11
2014 Felix Hernandez 10
2015 Felix Hernandez 11
2016 Felix Hernandez 12
2017 Felix Hernandez 13
2018 Felix Hernandez 14
2019 Felix Hernandez 15
2020 Kyle Seager 10
2021 Kyle Seager 11
2022 Mitch Haniger 6
2023 Marco Gonzales 7

Years contains any appearances (Baseball Reference guidelines)

Baseball Reference

This little investigation was a delight, as is any reminder of Raúl Ibañez’s kaleidoscopic profession as a Mariner, and the way even in the age of free company it is an distinctive time we live in. Un-featured in the listing above are names like Jay Buhner, Mike Zunino, Willie Bloomquist, Randy Johnson, Mike Cameron, Dustin Ackley, Taijuan Walker, and James Paxton. The turnover in the Dipoto period is merely unprecedented, and it has little question been disagreeable at many instances for gamers and their households, in addition to scouts and different personnel jettisoned as the M’s tried to craft a vessel that will take them again to the playoffs after 20 years and alter. Now, the most well-worn hunk of teak hewn to the hull of the good ship USS Mariner is Marco Gonzales, dropped at Seattle as a younger beginning pitcher meant to raise the ground of a floundering M’s roster weighed down by underperforming, low cost depth options that would not attain excessive sufficient even on the shoulders of Robinson Canó, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager, and a still-capable Félix Hernández.

This was the Mariners’ lineup the day Gonzales joined Seattle on July twenty first of 2017, in a 5-1 loss to the New York Yankees:

Baseball Reference

Not a participant stays. The membership that used 40 pitchers (38 plus Mike Freeman and Carlos Ruiz) has only one remnant now. Seattle has traded two completely different RHPs named Andrew Moore away since Gonzales joined the M’s, and he, like Mitch Haniger, and in contrast to any of the different very long time stars he joined on that 2017 membership, tasted postseason baseball at last in 2022.

And but, whereas it is true, as Jacob Thorpe wrote for The Spokesman-Review of Spokane this previous October, whereas Gonzales’ “fingerprints are throughout the Mariners’ postseason drive,” and Gonzales labored 7 IP in the season’s closing recreation to assist the membership safe their ninetieth win and relaxation the bullpen for what could be an immensely taxing playoff run, it is true that the M’s noticed their veteran southpaw as the fifth-best possibility in their beginning rotation, an indication of each how he struggled in 2022 even because it additionally indicated the immense high quality of his teammates by the finish of the season.

Gonzales didn’t in the end break the document Zach Mason wrote at size last yr, with the largest hole of any full-season pitcher between their ERA and their FIP. However, he nonetheless completed 2022 with a 4.13 ERA to a 5.05 FIP, numbers that usually point out a danger of regression in the direction of the latter quantity for the former. But Gonzales has made a profession out of beating FIP, operating an ERA of precisely 4.00 as a Mariner and effectively devouring innings regardless of modifications to the baseball and a decline in his fastball velocity to the upper-80s. Fly balls, dodging free passes, and pinpoint management have been the watchword of the now-year-round Seattle resident, who the Mariners rewarded with a four-year, $30 million contract extension previous to the 2020 season which kicked in in 2021 and features a membership possibility for 2025.

As lately as 2021 he was the membership’s Opening Day starter, and even in his decline he averted disaster. Yet a 4.13 ERA with T-Mobile Park as his residence in 2022, as I wrote lately, is not fairly consultant of a roughly common efficiency because it may appear with a cursory look. No park suppressed scoring like T-Mobile Park in 2022, no onerous contact, and whereas Gonzales was well-suited to his pleasant confines by giving up lots of common contact and never too many moonshots, no less than on a fee foundation, it was very scary watching him work on the highway. His 3.58/4.61/.307 ERA/FIP/wOBA allowed at residence in comparison with a 4.84/4.93/.372 ERA/FIP/wOBA allowed on the highway is the distinction between dealing with Kyle Farmer or JP Crawford 25-30 instances per night time and dealing with Rafael Devers or Mookie Betts that very same quantity.

There’s a quantity of methods to parse what might have ailed Marco in 2022, however a lot of it is easy in broader phrases: the margin for error for command-centric pitchers who sit in the upper-80s is far narrower than those that work in the upper-90s, which is why there are quite a bit of pitchers like Marco Gonzales in the excessive minors and never that many who’ve managed to have the profession he has labored for. But this now is the problem: can he regulate additional, and muster one other encore akin to his sensible 2019 and 2020 campaigns?

If there is encouragement to be discovered, it will possibly come from a pair of locations. Firstly, he’ll proceed pitching at T-Mobile Park, the place he is higher suited to particular success in his contact-heavy, medium contact-laden fly-ball-allowing, whiffs-be-damned methods. If Seattle can stagger Gonzales to pitch at residence as usually as potential, the membership will possible get the most out of him as soon as once more, and so they’ll be lucky to have a strong arm who could make 30+ begins as soon as once more in the occasion that their pitching well being is not as miraculous because it was in 2022. Secondly, the artful southpaw has made changes earlier than, and even in 2022 he started leaning ever extra closely on his greatest pitch, a fading changeup that also is his lone actual swing-and – miss risk. Gonzales’ 2018-crafted cutter has caught in his repertoire as a show-me possibility, however at this level it appears too hittable in its present type, and additional tweaks could also be wanted and in the works.

Seattle is rolling with their longtime workhorse as their fifth starter over Chris Flexen out of the gate, possible each out of respect and perception in Gonzales’ capacity to proceed adapting and readjusting. The 31-year-old Gonzaga Bulldog is now not the ace of this workers, nor the shiniest, polished piece on the masthead of the ship. But he can nonetheless be seaworthy, and Seattle’s playoff hopes as soon as once more rely on him serving to carry them there.

Leave a Comment