When a panel of arbitrators decides between Hunter Pence's $6.9MM asking price and the Astros' $5.15MM offer today or Monday, all of the 160-plus arbitration eligible players in baseball will have contracts for 2011. About one eighth of them – 21 – have agreed to multiyear extensions, as MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows.
The diverse group of extension recipients included both reigning MVPs (Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto) and the 2010 MLB home run champion (Jose Bautista). Only six of the 21 extensions came from the American League and the Blue Jays were the lone AL team to extend two arbitration eligible players (Bautista and Rajai Davis).
Bautista ($64MM) signed for the most guaranteed money, followed by Dan Uggla ($62MM) and Jay Bruce ($51MM). Bruce (six years) signed for the most years, followed by Uggla and Bautista, who both signed for five.
No arbitration eligible catchers signed extensions (Geovany Soto was one potential candidate), but the other positions were well-represented. Five starting pitchers, four relief pitchers, four outfielders, three second basemen, two shortstops, two first basemen and Bautista, a third baseman/outfielder, composed the group of 21 recipients.
Extension season is far from over, though. Nine players signed extensions between this date in 2010 and Opening Day, so we could still see a number of deals in Spring Training. Pre-arbitration eligible pitchers such as Clay Buchholz and Trevor Cahill will be among the names to watch once Pence signs and all of the year's arbitration eligibles are under contract.