Only One Extension For Catchers This Offseason

Extension season might not be over yet, but if recent history is any indication, we've seen most or all of this spring's extensions. You have to go back to 2008 to find an extension completed in May or June, so there's a chance that Ryan Braun's deal will be the last one of its kind for a few months.

If that's the case, 37 players will have signed extensions since the beginning of the 2010-11 offseason. Exactly one of those players, Ryan Hanigan of the Reds, is a catcher. It's noteworthy, if not downright surprising, that no starting catchers signed extensions when you consider that dependable catching is hard to come by and that teams spent aggressively last winter.

Unlike the 2009-10 offseason, when the Twins extended Joe Mauer, no backstop was an obvious candidate for an extension. Mike Napoli is getting expensive and he doesn't have a reputation as a good defender. Matt Wieters hit just .249/.319/.377 last year, so it's understandable that the Orioles didn't commit to him on a mutliyear deal. And it would have made little sense for the Indians to extend Carlos Santana, who had an operation to repair a damaged knee ligament (his LCL) last August.

Buster Posey was an extension candidate, but there's no rush for the Giants to extend him, since he's under team control through 2016. Perhaps the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year will be in line for a long-term deal after 2011 if he repeats his breakout rookie performance.

Geovany Soto would have been a more traditional candidate for an extension. He hit .280/.393/.497 with 17 homers last year and was arbitration eligible for the first time in his career after the season. Soto is young enough for the Cubs to want him to keep him around (28) and close enough to free agency that they might be thinking about securing his services for an extra season or two (Soto is eligible for free agency after 2013). They didn't agree to terms on a long-term contract and instead signed a one-year, $3MM deal.

Given the circumstances surrounding each extension candidate, it's easier to see why Hanigan was the only backstop to sign long-term. Next year, however, more catchers, including some of the ones above, could sign extensions. Elite catchers don't hit free agency often, so the teams that develop catching may choose to keep it in place long-term by offering promising catchers extensions.


12 Responses to Only One Extension For Catchers This Offseason Leave a Reply

  1. George Damian 4 years ago

    What will Napoli’s status be at the end of this year? I keep thinking he would be an excellent fit for the Twins. Assuming Thome is going to retire and Morneau & Mauer are both known to miss some time that would seem to give plenty of at bats for him. Also, the fact he is a Right-handed bat would be a welcome addition to the bench (and team in general).

  2. MLB_in_the_Know 4 years ago

    No mention of McCann in an article dedicated to catchers who should get extensions? Fail.

    • paul_oneills_lovechild 4 years ago

      I was thinking the same thing. McCann is amazingly still one of the most underrated players in MLB…baffles the mind…the guy is solid!

      • $1519287 4 years ago

        Thanks, but McCann already has an extension.

        – BNS

        • MLB_in_the_Know 4 years ago

          He only has 1 more season after this one guaranteed and 1 club option season after that…he should get an extension soon.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            including this season, that’s three years of team control left. the braves are not as foolish as the rockies brewers and twins; they’ll wait

      • TapDancingTeddy 4 years ago

        He is very underrated. You don’t hear his name anywhere as much as you’d expect for such a good player.

        Even so McCann doesn’t have a lot of cheap front-end years to buy up against later years that may be below market value. The Braves could extend him now, but catchers break down earlier than other players.

        Overall I don’t think it’s a bad idea to wait until McCann’s 2013 option year. That year Atlanta has a $12MM option on him and they can wait to see if McCann is still going strong or starting to break down before rolling the option into an extension at market rates.

    • TapDancingTeddy 4 years ago

      +++

  3. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    First time for arbitration? Why does it feel like Soto has been around forever…

    • tacko 4 years ago

      Probably because he fell off the map the season after his ROY campaign. I never realized he put up such stellar numbers last year until just now.

      • jayrig5 4 years ago

        Yeah, he was fantastic. And the season after that ROY year was just 2009…so he’s been great two out of three full seasons.

  4. What? No mention of Jeff Mathis in this article? He’s premium!

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