Would-Be Contract Years

A slew of interesting players are entering their contract years for the first time, as they'll reach six years of Major League service at some point during the season.  Josh Hamilton, Miguel Montero, Mike Napoli, Erick Aybar, B.J. Upton, Andre Ethier, Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy, and Anibal Sanchez are examples of such players. However, if arbitration-year extensions were not so common, the following players would also be headed for free agency after 2012 by virtue of accruing six years of service.

Starting Pitchers

  • Scott Baker's extension three years ago with the Twins included a $9.25MM club option on the 2013 season, which has a good chance of being exercised if he can maintain decent health.
  • Chad Billingsley inked an extension with the Dodgers one year ago, paying $26MM for his first two free agent years or $37MM for his first three.
  • Jon Lester signed a deal with the Red Sox three years ago that became a standard for his service class.  That contract bought out Lester's first free agent year with a club option on another, although the option is voided if he is traded and has finished first or second in the Cy Young voting in 2012 or '13.
  • The Marlins' Ricky Nolasco is notorious for having an ERA unworthy of his peripheral stats, and the team owes him $20.5MM over his first two free agent years.
  • The Rays bet on James Shields four years ago, getting three club options on a pitcher with less than two years of service.  They've got a potential ace at reasonable option prices for '13 and '14.
  • As a Scott Boras client, Jered Weaver seemed unlikely to sign an extension, especially after taking a tough stance in arbitration.  However, Weaver took a hometown discount last summer and is signed through 2016.

Position Players

  • Imagine the added drama for the Red Sox if Lester and Dustin Pedroia were both heading into walk years.  That could've been the case, but Pedroia signed four years ago, giving the team control for up to three free agent seasons.
  • If you think Troy Tulowitzki's November extension was massive, picture what he'd be looking at as a 28-year-old free agent after 2012.
  • Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick was pretty close to free agency, signing a deal last month buying out three free agent years.
  • The D'Backs' Chris Young signed four years ago, giving up one free agent year and an option on a second.


  • The Reds made Sean Marshall an offer he couldn't refuse this month, as he didn't expect much more than three years and $16.5MM in free agency.
  • Royals closer Joakim Soria signed four years ago, and still has a pair of club options on his first two free agent years.
  • The Blue Jays' Casey Janssen and the Cubs' Carlos Marmol would also be entering contract years had they not signed extensions.

Full Story | 11 Comments | Categories: Uncategorized

11 Responses to Would-Be Contract Years Leave a Reply

  1. johnsilver 3 years ago

    Marmol.. The contract that keeps on giving.. Wonder still how Cub fans felt in ’09 with both him AND Gregg at the back of the ‘pen.. You couldn’t trust either to not walk the bases full and fold.

    If Marmol could ever get his control/issues under pressure, he could be a 1st class closer though, more than can be said of Kevin Gregg.

    It’s amazing the amount of times have stopped by a Cubbies game to see Marmol put the 1st 2 guys on via BB, then k the next 3.. Or sometimes k the 1st batter and then totally lose the k zone.. It’s like sometimes he doesn’t have focus out there and sometimes he is “game on” he has the talent and stuff tho.

    • stl_cards16 3 years ago

      Saturday September 24th, 2011

      The Cardinals were on a 15 scorleless inning streak. Cubs are up 1-0 going to the bottom of the 9th.  In comes Carlos Marmol.  After he loads the bases with his inability to throw strikes, he walks in the game tying run. Then in the coolest ending to a game I have ever seen in person, he allows a walk-off wild pitch. 

      The Cardinals pulled back within two games of the Braves that day with 4 games to play.  Without Carlos Marmol, the Cardinals would have been in deep trouble.  I like that guy :)

  2. mitch 3 years ago

    Yadier Molina would be on this list as well.  I have to think Tulo wouldv’e gotten a deal in the 10/250mil range with potentially the Dodgers, Mets, Bosox, Tigers and maybe even the Yanks getting in on the bidding.

    • stl_cards16 3 years ago

      Yadier will be in a contract year unless the extension becomes official.

    • johnsilver 3 years ago

      ” I have to think Tulo wouldv’e gotten a deal in the 10/250mil range”

      Not anywhere close to that. That was what Rodriquez got on his 1st deal, at the top of his game and as good as tulo is.. He isn’t nearly as good as Arod was when he signed it.

      6-7 years and 16-18m AAV. NY if anyone went higher.

      • mitch 3 years ago

        you think all the most he would’ve gotten is 7/126mil at 28? his last extension was 6/119mil. Reyes got 6/106 and he doesn’t have the health or numbers of Tulo.

        • johnsilver 3 years ago

          Just a guess mind you. Also based on a large market team that could/would afford him over pitching. Also (no offense here) he has played at Coors field and his power will probably dip some, like Holliday once he leaves.

          No doubt he is one of the top 2-3SS in the game.. You have to admit.. That is Jeter money and you are talking the kind of money that no other SS has ever gotten Before, except Jeter and Arod that you mentioned.

          Texas couldn’t afford ARod, moved him to NY and have reservations that few (if any) teams would have given Jeter than 10/189m deal.

          Not dicing on Tulo here, I am a Red sox fan and would LOVE to have him :-) But a 10 year deal for him as a **SS** would be hard to fathom at 250m.

      • Paul Shailor 3 years ago

        If Tulo puts up his usual numbers I could see him sniffing the 10/250 range. Think about it, if fielder got 9/214 and Reyes got 6/106 Tulo would be in line for a TON on the FA market. Plus the gap between him and the next best SS is very large. Just about every big market team would be in on him, including the Yankees. Its not a matter of what he is worth, its a matter of how much are people willing to pay.

        • johnsilver 3 years ago

          “Just about every big market team would be in on him, including the Yankees”

          That was the game changer in my original post if the salary/bidding went wild.. NY needs a SS and If Tulo was available? IMO they would bid just high enough to get him. I just don’t think it would take that much.. *unless* the Stenbrenner brothers got involved and just threw out one of those offers, like they did for Soriano and bypassed Cashman again.

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