Phillies Giving Out Contract Years Like Candy

A swing through the Phillies page of Cot's Baseball Contracts illustrates an interesting approach by the team: they've freely given out extra contract years to many players when it did not appear necessary or prudent.  The examples:

  • Ryan Howard, already signed through 2011, was extended through 2016 in April of this year.
  • Jamie Moyer, a Type A free agent after a fine 2008 season, was not offered arbitration but instead given a two-year deal.
  • Cole Hamels, a Super Two player who was arbitration-eligible for the first time, signed a three-year, $20.5MM deal.  He's pitched well, but did the Phillies save significant money in giving up the chance to go year-to-year?  This was as player-friendly as pitcher extensions get. 
  • Placido Polanco, a Type A free agent, was not offered arbitration by the Tigers.  I took this to mean the Tigers felt Polanco would have no trade value on a one-year deal, so why did the Phillies sign him for three?
  • Joe Blanton, arbitration-eligible for 2010, signed a three-year deal in January buying out two free agent seasons at the market rate.  Was this some kind of payroll manipulation, since $6MM of Blanton's $7MM salary this year came in the form of a signing bonus?
  • Free agent reliever Danys Baez, coming off a middling season for the Orioles, got a two-year deal.  Similar pitchers signed one-year deals.
  • Free agent backup catcher Brian Schneider, coming off a terrible season, received two years.
  • Bench player Ross Gload, coming off an unimpressive campaign, surprisingly received two years.  He's hit well in 116 plate appearances, however.
  • Bench player Greg Dobbs, arbitration-eligible for the first time, received a two-year deal.  Why not go year-to-year with a guy like this?
  • The Phillies exercised the 2011 club option for shortstop Jimmy Rollins a year early.
  • The multiyear contracts don't end there, but it seems unfair to call the Phillies out for the rest.  The remaining deals either saved the team decent money, or were of a length necessary to lock up the player as a free agent.

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