Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Logan Gilbert throws in the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians on April 7, 2023, at Progressive Field. (John Kuntz / Tribune News Service)

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Logan Gilbert throws in the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians on April 7, 2023, at Progressive Field. (John Kuntz / Tribune News Service)

Mariners righty Logan Gilbert earns first MLB All-Star nod

Gilbert has made 18 starts this season and averages 6.5 innings per start, the highest in the AL.

Logan Gilbert knew what the meeting was about and hoped that it would be something for him to celebrate.

Before Sunday’s series finale versus the Blue Jays, wrapping up along homestand at T-Mobile Park, manager Scott Servais held his traditional team meeting to inform his players of their All-Star selections ahead of the televised announcement.

While he was the logical and obvious candidate to be the Mariners representative at the 2024 All-Star Game at Globe Life Field, Gilbert wouldn’t allow himself to be overly presumptive. He felt like closer Andres Munoz would be a worthy choice as well. And when Servais mentioned the team only had one player chosen for the initial roster, his anxiety heightened.

“Skip kind of dragged it out a little bit and wouldn’t say the name,” Gilbert said. “He said, ‘We got one all star, but by the way, we’re going to talk about the first half and how everything went,’ and I’m trying to find out who it is and then he eventually said it was me.”

And when Gilbert was informed that he had made the American League All-Star team?

“I think I was in shock a little bit,” Gilbert said. “We’ll have to see the video. I don’t even know if I showed any emotion. I know that’s kind of strange for me, but I don’t even know. It’s just a dream come true. It’s something I’ve always dreamt of as a kid. And I was really hoping it would happen eventually. And I felt like I had a decent chance this year. So I’m just really excited.”

After he was mobbed by teammates and coaches, Gilbert immediately called his wife and parents to tell them to start planning for a trip to Arlington, Texas.

“I just call my wife and she started screaming and my parents they got a little choked up,” Gilbert said. “That was pretty special moment for me with how much they’ve been through with me on this entire baseball journey.”

Gilbert has made 18 starts this season, posting a 5-5 record with a 2.91 ERA. In 117 2/3 innings pitched, he’s struck out 108 batters with 24 walks. He leads the American League in walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) at 0.918. His 14 quality starts of six-plus innings pitched and three runs fewer allowed are second most in the AL behind Kansas City’s Seth Lugo. Of his 14 quality starts, Gilbert has been credited with just five wins while taking no decisions in seven of them and losses in two others. The Mariners do have a 10-4 record in those outings.

He is averaging 6.5 innings per start, which is the highest in the AL. He is also getting an average 2.7 runs of support per nine innings while he’s pitching in games, which is among the lowest in MLB.

Unfortunately, Gilbert is scheduled to pitch on Sunday in Anaheim, which would make him ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game.

“If it’s up to me, I don’t care,” he said. “I’ll throw either way. I would love to. I’ll tell them I’m fresh, regardless, but I think I have the last day and usually those guys don’t throw so we’ll see.”

Even if he doesn’t get to pitch, he will use the three-day affair to talk with other pitchers around baseball, including Orioles starter Corbin Burnes, in an effort to mine advice and find ways he can get better.

“A lot of those guys are guys I probably looked up to the last few years or even before that,” he said. “They are proven All-Stars around the league so getting to pick their brains, that’s just kind of how I work and it’s really fun for me almost as a fan of the game just to be around guys like that, that have so much to offer. So try to just enjoy it, learn as much as I can and take it all in.”

A first-round pick — 14th overall — out Stetson University, Gilbert, who turned 27 in May, represents everything the Mariners want in terms of pitching development and continuous improvement. He joins Jacob deGrom and Corey Kluber as All-Star selected from the small private school.

“I didn’t even think about it,” he said. “Just to be mentioned with those guys, it’s pretty special. They are two of the best to ever do it. They’ve set the ceiling so high. I’m happy to just kind of barely walk in their footsteps and be included with them.”

Now in his fourth year at the MLB level, he continues to evolve as a pitcher, adding pitches to his repertoire while also making tweaks to the grips and shapes of those pitches to combat hitters’ adjustments.

The Mariners have had internal discussions about offering a long-term extension to Gilbert, but there has been nothing to come of it. They offered a smaller extension to him during his rookie year, which was quickly declined by his representatives.

Because he ranked in the top 22 percent of players of service time in his first two seasons, he received Super 2 status, meaning he became arbitration eligible a year early. He is making $4.01 million this season.

The Mariners had hoped Munoz might still be a selection. But a nagging back injury and the Mariners’ struggles as a team have limited his usage in recent weeks. Gilbert was confident that his teammate could be chosen as a replacement, perhaps for him, and would do plenty of lobbying.

“I’ll do everything I can,” Gilbert said. “He’s picked me up so many times. I think that’s the least I could do for him.”

Right-hander George Kirby could also be selected as an alternate if another starting pitcher opts out of the game.

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