Extending Young Starters

Buying out the arbitration years of young starting pitchers has become a trend in recent years.  These are usually very team-friendly deals, often with option years for the last year of arb eligibility and the first of free agency.  We’ve seen Chris Young, Matt Cain, James Shields, Noah Lowry, and Ian Snell opt for security rather than maximize their year-to-year earnings.  Which young starters might be next for an extension?

  • Rich Hill – The 28 year-old southpaw will hit arbitration before the 2010 season.  He posted a 3.92 ERA in his first full season in ’07 and has tossed 318 career innings.  I haven’t read anything about the Cubs considering signing him to an extension.
  • Felix Hernandez – The Ms have already made an offer to Felix, who turns 22 in April.  He’s already thrown 465 innings in his career.
  • Fausto Carmona – The 24 year-old has 289 career innings, posting a stellar first full year in ’07.
  • Scott Kazmir – The 24 year-old only has two arb years left, and it looks like both parties may prefer going year to year.  He’s logged 570 innings already.
  • Adam Wainwright – The 26 year-old is arb-eligible after this season, and I expect the Cards to look into an extension for him.  He’s thrown 279 innings.
  • Tom Gorzelanny – Gorzelanny, 25, has 269 career innings.  Another solid healthy season and I imagine the Bucs might offer him a deal similar to Snell’s.
  • John MainePreliminary extension talks have begun with Maine, who’s arb-eligible after this season.  He turns 27 in May and has 324 career innings.
  • Cole Hamels – The 24 year-old southpaw has 315 career innings.  He called his recent renewal a "low blow," but won’t make a million bucks in ’09 either.
  • Jered Weaver – The 25 year-old probable Opening Day starter has logged 284 innings.  A big year could lead to talks.
  • Some other young starters who could get long-term deals with strong ’08 seasons: Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Bannister, Wandy Rodriguez, Dustin McGowan, Tim Lincecum, Chad Billingsley, Zack Greinke, Kyle Kendrick, Yovani Gallardo, Matt Garza, and Phil Hughes.


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