33-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2016 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Kids, don't sign non-elite relievers to long-term contracts before they become free agents. Marshall had one great year with the Reds and signed a three-year deal before his contract expired in 2012, ...
Sean Marshall Contract Information:
Signed a three-year contract with the Reds in February 2012.
Marshall (shoulder) will need multiple throwing sessions before he can begin a rehab assignment, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports.
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Sean Marshall Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Sean Marshall: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Marshall is just one of the more recent examples of the risks involved with signing relief pitchers to long-term deals. He signed a three-year contract extension shortly after arriving with the Reds via trade from the Cubs and pitched great in his first season with the Reds, but since the contract has kicked in he has pitched only 24.1 innings over the last two seasons, spanning 31 games. He had shoulder surgery in June, finishing off a 2014 season that never got untracked. Marshall reported feeling great in his physical therapy over the season, but the track record of pitchers returning from shoulder surgery is pretty grim. Any positive contribution that the Reds get from him as a setup man in 2015 will be considered a bonus.
Marshall's 2013 season was marred by a shoulder injury that caused him to miss four months. His injury was a pretty big blow to a Reds bullpen that also lost Jonathan Broxton for most of the season, but it also illustrated a baseball truism - most relievers get hurt, and thus multi-year deals to all but the very elite are risky. The future for Marshall is shaky, given his shoulder woes last season, but it seems unlikely that he'll close even if the Reds move Aroldis Chapman into the rotation.
If you paid full price for Marshall as a closer, you were disappointed with his nine-save season. If you drafted before Ryan Madson's injury or were in a Scoresheet or Strat-o-Matic league, you were thrilled with his performance. The Reds certainly were happy with Marshall's third fantastic season in a row, despite some drama regarding whether he's capable of closing before they turned to Aroldis Chapman for good. Marshall likely will resume with the set-up role that he finished the 2012 season, even if Chapman is converted back into the rotation. He'll be with the Reds for two more years, having signed a three-year deal with them after the trade from the Cubs.
The Cubs' best and most consistent reliever over the last two years, Marshall even picked up five saves when Carlos Marmol imploded last summer. At 6-foot-6 and left-handed, Marshall's picked up his velocity of late, (average fastball was 91.3 mph), has excellent command (79:17 K:BB in 75.2 innings) and keeps the ball on the ground (2.6 GB/FB ratio, one home run allowed). One of the first moves the new Cubs regime made was to trade Marshall to the Reds for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes. The Reds subsequently signed Ryan Madson to close, leaving Marshall as a high-leverage reliever for the seventh and eighth innings. He's one of the elite relievers in the National League in that capacity.
Marshall had a fantastic year as a reliever in 2010, with a 90:25 K:BB ratio in 74.2 IP, only three homers allowed and an ERA of 2.65. The 6-foot-6 lefty isn't a hard thrower, but pitching out of the bullpen allowed him to boost his velocity to the low-90s, and the sinking action (2.33 G/F) kept the ball in the park. There's some talk Marshall will be given a shot to return to the rotation, but given his effectiveness in the bullpen, we'd be surprised if that happened.
Marshall had a brief stint in the rotation last year, but eventually lost out to rookie Randy Wells and became a key lefty out of the bullpen. The 6-foot-6 lefty isn't overpowering, but his command is good, and he relies on a sinker to induce groundballs (1.84 G/F). He'll compete for the fifth starter's job in camp with Tom Gorzelanny and, to a lesser extent, Jay Jackson and Jeff Samardzija.
The 6-foot-6 lefty has been effective for two seasons now, posting good K:BB numbers, and even boosting his strikeout rate last season (36:12 K:BB ratio in 39 IP as a starter). Marshall uncharacteristically gave up as many flyballs as grounders last year, and his home-run rate spiked as a result. But given the relatively small sample, and his reliance on a sinker, we wouldn't make too much of that. Marshall's already a better pitcher than Jason Marquis and would make an above average fifth starter - the spot he'll be vying for this spring - if he's not traded.
The 6-6 lefty took a step in the right direction in 2007, cutting down his walks, nudging up his strikeout rate while doing a decent job of keeping the ball on the ground. At age 25, Marshall still has room to grow -- he's never going to be a staff ace, but by keeping the ball down and improving his command, he could be a serviceable middle of the rotation option. He'll head into spring training as a candidate for the No. 5 slot in the team's rotation, but will have to beat out Ryan Dempster, Sean Gallagher and Kevin Hart.
Like Carlos Marmol, Marshall was pressed into duty before he was ready by injuries to Cubs pitchers. The results were predictably poor. He didn't struggle quite as badly as his teammate because he was able to generate some ground balls and keep the walks merely unacceptably high and not disastrously so. Still, the 6-6 lefty doesn't dominate enough at this stage to get by with average command. We suspect he'll join Marmol in the minors for most of 2007.
After struggling during his first taste of Double-A in 2004, the 6-6 lefty went back to High-A to start 2005 before getting his second chance at the high minors in late June. In four Double-A starts spanning 25 innings, Marshall had a 24/5 K/BB ratio, an ERA of 2.52, a WHIP of .84 and allowed just one home run. The usual sample size caveats apply, but if Marshall picks up at where he left off this spring, he could find himself with the big league club by September.