Top Starters Unwilling To Go Year-To-Year

Baseball players, starting pitchers in particular, are a risk-averse bunch.  Given the choice between multiyear security and maximized earnings, they almost always choose the former.  You can't blame starting pitchers for wanting to lock in an eight-figure payday well before free agency, given the risk of a career-altering injury.  Still, I'm surprised that no ace starter has been willing to roll the dice and go year-to-year before hitting free agency in recent memory.

Here's the list of active starters who received Cy Young votes since 2007 and were willing to delay their own free agency with a multiyear contract:

Some were locked up well before free agency, while others signed extensions with just one year to go.  And the above list doesn't include guys like Ricky Romero, Gavin Floyd, Wandy Rodriguez, Johnny Cueto, Scott Baker, James Shields, Ricky Nolasco, and Yovani Gallardo.

Most top starters who didn't sign extensions and reached free agency as early as possible did so because of injuries, Erik Bedard for example.  Zambrano came very close, going to arbitration all three times and signing his five-year extension a few months before free agency.

A few frontline starters remain on the year-to-year path, such as David Price, Clayton Kershaw, Max ScherzerJered Weaver, and Francisco Liriano.  Weaver, a Scott Boras client, seems most likely to be doing so to maximize his earnings.  Nothing wrong with that, and we don't know what the Angels offered, if anything.  Weaver could be a 30-year-old free agent after the 2012 season, with over $20MM in arbitration earnings in his pocket.  John Danks, Matt Garza, Shaun MarcumC.J. Wilson, and Jeremy Guthrie are also on the year-to-year track currently.

Though they signed multiyear deals, Tim Lincecum and Cole Hamels each left at least one arbitration year uncovered, as well as all free agent years.  They've got the best of both worlds, locking in over $20MM without delaying free agency.  Edwin Jackson isn't at their level, but he's another starter who snagged an eight-figure contract and remained on track for free agency as early as possible.

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9 Responses to Top Starters Unwilling To Go Year-To-Year Leave a Reply

  1. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    If Angels don’t resign Weaver, he will get an absolutely massive deal.

  2. Alex Gomez 4 years ago

    Dodgers need to sign Kershaw to a extension asap. I believe this is his last pre-arbitration year, but still.

  3. JGaryW 4 years ago

    Um, Tim Lincecum anyone?

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      “Though they signed multiyear deals, Tim Lincecum and Cole Hamels each left at least one arbitration year uncovered, as well as all free agent years”

  4. N1120A 4 years ago

    You left out Chad Billingsley’s rather team-friendly deal signed just about a week ago.

  5. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    he absolutely carved through the Jays lineup last night, his stuff is just filthy.

  6. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    They left him out a bit long I thought though. I’m just happy Jays didn’t get no hit. It looked like one of those games for the first 5 innings

  7. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    i watched the game and thought it was pretty reckless to leave him in that long. i know he struck out bautista with his last pitch, but he really looked wasted to me in his final inning

    the angels’ coaches obviously know their guy better than i do, but it’s just not a risk i would feel comfortable taking with a guy like that in the second week of a season like this

  8. ellisburks 4 years ago

    I think the main reason they left him in so long was that the bullpen was used so much the night before. They needed 8 innings from him and they got it. I think he should be fine. I am sure they didn’t Aaron Harrang him.

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