January 21st: Contract Extension Day

Two multiyear contracts were given out today (to Billy Butler and Jason Hammel), but they came a day late compared to recent history. Yesterday was the first time in five years that at least one long-term contract extension was not agreed to or finalized on January 21st, and we're not talking about a bunch of two-year deals either. Let's recap the last four years' worth of action…

  • 2010: Felix Hernandez officially signed his five-year, $78MM deal. King Felix took home the AL Cy Young Award last season after posting a 2.27 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in a league leading 249 2/3 innings.
  • 2010: Josh Johnson officially signed his four-year, $38MM contract as well. He contended for the NL Cy Young Award, pitching to a 2.30 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 183 2/3 innings.
  • 2010: Joe Blanton agreed to a three-year, $24MM deal. He pitched to a 4.82 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 175 2/3 innings last season while battling an oblique strain. The Phillies are rumored to be looking to move Blanton and his salary, though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. recently said otherwise.
  • 2009: Nick Markakis passed his physical, making his six-year, $66MM deal official. After a .306/.406/.491 season in 2008, Markakis has slipped down to .295/.358/.445 in the two years since.
  • 2009: Jayson Werth agreed to a two-year, $10MM deal with the Phillies. The deal bought out his last two years of arbitration-eligibility, and he hit .282/.380/.519 with 63 homers over the life of the contract. Werth landed a much more handsome payday this offseason.
  • 2008: Yadier Molina agreed to a four-year, $15.5MM deal with a fifth year option. He's hit .286/.348/.372 in the three years since signing the contract, throwing out 42% of attempted base stealers and winning three Gold Gloves as well.
  • 2007: Chase Utley agreed to a seven-year, $85MM deal. The second baseman has lived up to his end of the bargain, hitting .296/.393/.518 with 102 homers and the highest UZR among players at his position in the four years since. The Phillies have won a World Series and been to another in that time, so there's no complaints from that end either.

There have been a total of 19 contract extensions handed out this winter, as MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows. The most notable recipients include Butler, Dan Uggla, Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez, Ricky Nolasco, Jay Bruce, and Troy Tulowitzki. Players like Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista, Edinson Volquez, and Carlos Marmol could be in line to receive one between now and the start of the season as well.

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