When the Chicago Cubs traded Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds earlier this offseason (for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes), it was bittersweet. On the one hand, Marshall’s talent – he is, perhaps, the best left-handed reliever in baseball – would probably have been squandered in 2012 in Chicago, which was his last year before free agency. On the other hand, he was the consummate team player, and a great one, at that. It was sad to see him go.
Some folks steeled themselves with thoughts that “at least Marshall could return to the Cubs in 2013,” you know, when the team was ready to be good. It was always a bit more of a sweet thought than a practical one (Marshall was going to cost a pretty penny, and is the kind of luxury that the new management seems unlikely to splurge on).
Well, it ain’t happening. The Reds have been working on an extension for Marshall for a little while now, and according to John Fay, the deal is done. Marshall gets a three-year extension, and is now under Reds control through 2015. The deal is for a total of $16.5 million, and comes with $2 million in possible incentive money each season, according to Ken Rosenthal. Those incentives contemplate Marshall closing games, *OR* starting them. Interesting.
On the balance, it’s a decent deal for both sides. Marshall gets life-changing money, and, in exchange, accepts maybe slightly less than he would have received on the open market. Still, it seems like a lot of money to pay for three years on a team like the Reds, who aren’t expect to have a huge payroll during that span.
The best of luck to Sean, at least when he’s not facing the Cubs. Or, well, in a division race with the Cubs.