Discussion: Next Young Position Player To Be Extended

In January, MLBTR's Mike Axisa named Yovani Gallardo, Matt Garza, Jair Jurrjens, and Wandy Rodriguez as candidates to be the next young starting pitcher to be extendedMatt Cain, John Danks, Chad Billingsley, and Brett Anderson were among those mentioned by commenters.  We forgot to name Scott Feldman and Nick Blackburn, who actually were extended since Mike's article.

Today let's consider young position players who could soon by locked up.  Recent signees include Adam Lind, Mark Reynolds, Denard Span, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp.

  • Joey Votto, Reds:  Votto will be eligible for arbitration for the first time after this season.  If the 26-year-old approaches his 2009 production, the Reds will have one of the NL's best hitters on their hands.
  • Ben Zobrist, Rays: Zobrist will also be eligible for arbitration for the first time after this season.  By measure of WAR, he was the best player in baseball last year.  The Rays may be inclined to lock him up if he retains 50% of that value. 
  • Pablo Sandoval, Giants: He won't be arbitration-eligible until after the 2011 season, so it may make sense to wait.
  • Kendry Morales, Angels: Morales is finishing up a six-year free agent contract and will be arbitration-eligible after the season.  Like Zobrist, he had a monster '09 and his team will probably wait at least a few months to see more of the same.
  • Shin-Soo Choo, Indians:  MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince has reported that the Indians would like to sign Choo to a five-year deal with a club option but the Scott Boras client hasn't shown interest as he enters his last pre-arbitration year.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: Castrovince also mentioned Cabrera as a candidate for an extension.  He too will be arbitration-eligible after the season.
  • Nelson Cruz, Rangers: Cruz is an interesting case.  Though he turns 30 in July, he will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after the season.  Given his age, will the Rangers choose the year-to-year route?
  • Billy Butler, Royals: Butler told us in November that he's yet to have extension talks with the Royals.  Butler, 24 soon, will reach arbitration after the season.  Will his power continue to increase in 2010?
  • Hunter Pence, Astros:  He's been a solid performer for the Astros, but does his .288/.339/.487 career line warrant an extension?  2010 is Pence's first arbitration year, and the Astros will pay him $3.5MM.
  • Yunel Escobar, Braves: Though the Braves once pledged not to work with the Wasserman Media Group after the Rafael Furcal drama, I'm guessing that situation won't stop them from discussing an extension with Escobar's agent.  The 27-year-old shortstop reaches arbitration after the season.
  • Adam Jones, Orioles: Jones fell just short of Super Two arbitration-eligibility for 2010.  The Orioles will look for continued growth.
  • Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks:  Drew will be paid $3.4MM in 2010, his first arbitration year.  The D'Backs will have to deal with Boras if they want to sign Drew. 
  • Kurt Suzuki, Athletics: CSNBayArea's Mychael Urban reported in March that extension talks for Suzuki are already underway.  The A's catcher will be arbitration-eligible after the season.
  • Carlos Quentin, White Sox: Quentin passed on an offer from the Sox around the time they offered four years and $14MM to John Danks and Gavin Floyd.  Quentin signed for $3.2MM for his first arbitration year, and is looking to replicate the health and success of '08.

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