The Cincinnati Reds and reliever Sean Marshall agreed to a three year contract extension today that will keep the former Cub in Cincinnati until after the 2015 season. Terms haven’t been disclosed yet.
The Reds brought Marshall in from Chicago this offseason for a package highlighed by fifth starter Travis Wood, and are expecting the 29 year-old to be a crucial part of their bullpen. With this extension, along with the fact that new closer Ryan Madson is only signed for one year, I’m thinking that the Reds are going to transition Marshall to the closer’s role on the team next season, and let Madson walk for greener pastures and big dollars.
Marshall has been worth a total of 5.0 fWAR over the last two seasons as the primary set-up man for Cubs closer Carlos Marmol. Over those two seasons, Marshall has thrown 150 innings, struck out 169, and walked just 42, while pitching to a 2.46 ERA. Among all relievers in baseball over the last two seasons with a total of at least 80 innings, he ranks first in fWAR, third in FIP, and sixth in xFIP. So the Reds really aren’t gambling here, they’re going all-in on a proven commodity in Marshall.
We don’t know what the monetary details of the contract are yet, but I think the three year, $16.5 million contract that Joaquin Benoit signed with the Detroit Tigers before the 2011 season would be a good barometer. Marshall will be making $3.1 million in 2012, and will be getting a raise for 2013 through 2015.
UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the deal is for…$16.5 million. Yep, I called it. Rosenthal is also reporting that there are $2 million in incentives for each of the three years of the contracts, which can be earned in games started or games finished. This leaves the door open for the Reds to use him as a starter if they wanted to for some silly reason.