Braves Interested In Extensions For Simmons, Teheran

The Braves haven't been known as a team that's big on working out long-term extensions for arbitration eligible and pre-arb players, but that reputation may be changing. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (via Twitter) that after this week's colossal eight-year, $135MM Freddie Freeman extension and a two-year, $13.3MM deal for Jason Heyward, the Braves are interested in working out extensions for shortstop Andrelton Simmons and right-hander Julio Teheran.

Simmons currently has one year, 125 days of Major League service time under his belt. Extensions for shortstops with between one and two years of service time are a rarity, though Troy Tulowitzki inked a six-year, $31MM contract with one year, 33 days of service. Simmons is cut from a different cloth than Tulowitzki, but that contract is also six years old. Recent extensions for defensive-minded shortstops who signed with two to three years of service time include Alcides Escobar (four years, $10.5MM) and Elvis Andrus (three years, $14.4MM). Simmons is regarded as a superior defender to both and has more power than either of his slick fielding peers, and neither was a Super Two player. As such, his remaining years of team control figure to come at a higher price than either Andrus or Escobar, especially considering that each of those contracts is two years old.

While the potential for Super Two status throws a wrinkle into talks, both Evan Longoria and Ryan Braun had clauses built into their contracts boosting future guarantees should the reach arbitration eligibility early. Simmons could end up in the $20-25MM range for his remaining five years of team control, depending on Super Two status. For the purposes of this projection, I'll split the middle and project $22.5MM for his five years of team control. Tacking on a free agent year at a discounted rate of $10MM would put him into the six-year, $32.5MM range. In reality, nothing in the mid-$30MM range would surprise me, as the final number would be dependent on his Super Two status and the contract language negotiated by the Braves and his agents at Relativity Baseball. Free agent seasons beyond that would figure to escalate, perhaps bringing his price range into the upper-$40MMs on a seven-year deal.

Shifting to Teheran, the right-hander currently has one year, 62 days of service time. There's a much larger sample of historical context when looking at his case, as starters Martin Perez, Wade Davis, Brett Anderson, James Shields and Cory Luebke have all signed four-year deals in the $12MM range with multiple club options at similar junctures of their careers. Madison Bumgarner and Ricky Romero each netted more than $30MM over a five-year span, but they projected as potential Super Two players and each had experienced more success by that point in their careers.

It's also important to remember that most of those four-year, $12MM deals are several years old (with the exception of Perez). Each contained relatively tame arbitration salaries, but the days for those types of deals could be coming to an end due to inflation and increasing TV revenues (Freeman's deal, in particular, demonstrates the rising price of extending young talent). Teheran could sign away his two remaining pre-arb years and his first two arbitration eligible seasons for something in the $14MM range, plus a pair of options that would cover his third arb season and first free agent year. The option values on previous contracts of this ilk ranges from $15-20MM. Placing Teheran slightly north of that scale, a potential extension could reach $35MM or so over a six-year span, assuming both options on the deal are exercised.

One thing working in the Braves' favor when it comes to this potential rash of extensions is the new Cobb County stadium on the horizon, which figures to boost revenue (as pointed out by David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Twitter). The increased revenue from the stadium should help to offset, to an extent, the fact that the Braves' television contract as believed to provide them with less than $20MM annually (O'Brien reporting).

That's clearly not the case for all teams, as new television deals have infused the game with more money than ever. That influx of cash could render historical context on contract extensions — even from two years ago — largely irrelevant. Players such as Simmons, Teheran, Jason Kipnis and Wil Myers (just to name a few examples) could redefine the market for pre-arb extensions in the next 12 to 14 months.


71 Responses to Braves Interested In Extensions For Simmons, Teheran Leave a Reply

  1. Matthew Studdard 1 year ago

    But have you seen the Braves TV deal???

    • bob 1 year ago

      They did buy a 58 acre plot of land that they’re going to put a yr-round
      development complex on. Not many teams have that. They’re a frugal
      bunch, so the fact that they’re starting to throw money around to keep
      players is a pretty strong indication of what developing all that land
      is going to mean for their revenue. Not much else has changed for the team, so that’s all I can figure.

      • Matthew Studdard 1 year ago

        The article stating that the TV deal is the reason for rising salaries, which may be true globally, is just not true for the Braves.

        • bob 1 year ago

          i think it was referrencing the national tv deal signed by mlb in addition to the ones making all the headlines. i could be wrong, but i believe all teams will receive some additional revenue from it.

          • Matthew Studdard 1 year ago

            Unaware of that, good to know. Thanks.

          • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

            Correct. Every team gets a major slice of the national tv deal pie.

    • rundmc1981 1 year ago

      Which is why it makes it important to extend some of these that will have arb possibly boosting their worth up fast while guaranteeing the players a significant return.

      • Matthew Studdard 1 year ago

        No doubt. However the article stating that the TV deal is the reason for rising salaries, which may be true globally, is just not true for the Braves.

    • Steve Adams 1 year ago

      Atlanta also has a new stadium coming which figures to increase team revenue. My final paragraph was more a statement on Major League Baseball as a whole rather than the Braves’ specific case. It’s tough to say this early on, but it’s certainly possible that we’re seeing the early phases of a trend where large discounts for young players early in their careers are no longer the norm.

      • Matthew Studdard 1 year ago

        I understand the context in which it was used, but relying on the TV deal argument without a mention of the stadium(given that it was Braves specific) for the Braves. Overall pleased to see a Braves article with detail.

        • Steve Adams 1 year ago

          It’s a very valid point. The post kind of morphed as I wrote it. At first it was just going to report the interest, then I started speculating on their potential price tags and then it evolved into looking at the game as a whole.

          I’ve amended the last few paragraphs to try to convey the Braves’ situation more effectively while still also expanding to the league as a whole. Thanks for the feedback.

          • Matthew Studdard 1 year ago

            Sorry, did not mean any ill intent. Just frustrated by the Braves TV deal. Frustrated that the stadium is now going to be 1.5 hrs away from me. Frustrated about the lack of depth into the post season. Yes I will be at the games, but just frustrated…. Kinda how it felt on that October day in 2012.

          • Steve Adams 1 year ago

            No apology needed. Your comment helped me to kind of realize that I hadn’t painted the whole picture, so I’m glad you made it.

            As for the rest of your frustrations (poor TV deal, lack of deep postseason runs), I live in Saint Paul, so I can empathize.

          • Nathan Justice 1 year ago

            yeah I live in Augusta. Try that drive.

      • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

        The new stadium is the main reason the Braves feel comfortable shelling out what they did for Freeman and what it would take to lock up Simmons and Teheran. The Braves are banking on a huge increase in revenue to cover these salaries. I would guess that the Freeman deal is heavily backloaded just to protect the Braves until the new stadium revenue kicks in.

      • John Porter 1 year ago

        but NO ONE goes to the games anyway so they cant get to much more money from the new BALLPARK anyway

  2. Austin 1 year ago

    I like this idea of them signing young players to extensions. It’s definitely a different mentality from FWren. I wonder if his change in mentality is because his contract expires after this year and he wants to please people.

    • inkstainedscribe 1 year ago

      John Hart’s in the FO now, and that’s the way he operated in Cleveland.

  3. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    Simons played great defense and hit a lot of HR (for a SS) but his sub. 300 OBP and 91 wRC are concerning. Simons still has 5 years of team control remaining, unless the Brave get a major discount they should not extend him yet.

    • rundmc1981 1 year ago

      He just hit 17 HR (edited) and had arguably the best defensive season statistically ever in his first full season. Extend him yesterday.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

        17 HR which is quite good for a SS and he did play great defense. However defense is not rewarded in arbitration and his .396 SLG and .692 OPS show are below average even for a SS. He could be headed for an offensive breakout or that may be his ceiling, either way there is no need to extend him now with 2 years reaming before he even hits arbitration.

        • Ryan Cothran 1 year ago

          4th in the NL among qualified SS in OPS and SLG. That doesn’t sound below average.

          • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

            There were only 8 qualified SS in the NL in 2013, 4th is average to below average.

          • bbxxj 1 year ago

            By mathematical definition 4 of 8 is above average, 1-4 being above average and 5-8 are below average. Unless you believe there are many more non-qualifying shortstops who would tip the scales the other way then, yes, he is above average.

          • MB923 1 year ago

            There were actually 9 qualified SS, Simmons ranked 6th in OBP (below average), 4th in slugging (above average)

            Though he had the highest WAR among SS (6.7, next highest was Hanley at 5.4)

          • -C 1 year ago

            Y’all are doing it wrong. Fangraphs has league-average available by position. A league-average shortstop was .254/.308/.367 for an 85 wRC+.

            Looking at qualified shortstops only cuts out the majority of the sample, which is not a good strategy in many cases. This would be a poor time to use only qualified shortstops, because qualified shortstops are, by majority rule, better than average. If they weren’t, they typically wouldn’t qualify.

            So Simmons was above-average for shortstops last season. Now I’m going to do what I just said was wrong, but with good reason.

            I think looking at his second-half split is also merited, as Simmons struggled mightily at the plate to begin the season. As he began to adjust to major league pitching, he was much better, posting a 118 wRC+ in the second half. I’m not saying we should expect such a figure in upcoming seasons, but I think the learning curve narrative shouldn’t be completely ignored.

            -C

          • Wayne Canon 1 year ago

            More fantasy league stats…great.

          • hediouspb 1 year ago

            as there were more than 8 or 9 teams and all of them started a ss for 162 games the fact that he kept the position long enough to qualify means that he is in fact well above average. the average starting ss couldn’t even keep his job.

          • Ryan Cothran 1 year ago

            SS above 300 PA…
            Simmons was 18 of 36. That isn’t below average.
            Now, what is eye-poppingly below average is his BABIP, .247, ranked 35 of 36 qualified SS with 300 or more plate appearances. He’s only going to get better offensively so the time to extend, like run said above, was yesterday.

        • rundmc1981 1 year ago

          Offensive breakout? 17 HR at 23 for his first full season as a SS isn’t a breakout?! True, his defense wouldn’t be as rewarded through arb, but when you factor in his power (which arb loves) and the idea that over the next few years, the arb process could reevaluate certain stats to make it more fair, you’ve got to think that Simmons, like Kimbrel, could be the exceptions to the previous arb rules, which could allow them to win their cases, if they go to trial. This has to make ATL very wary of going through that arb process with “special” talents.

      • RaysfaninMN 1 year ago

        Not that I am predicting this to happen, but if the dreaded “sophmore slump” happens next year, would that not be the best time to extend and maximize value?
        Wil Myers for example I believe is going to regress quite a bit this year (increase in K’s and AVG dropping to 250 to 260). I hope the Rays strike at that time with an extension.

        • rundmc1981 1 year ago

          It’s not worth the gamble for the Braves to do that. Either way, he’ll still have his glove even if he can’t pick up his bat. He could hit like Rafael Belliard for all I care and I’d still slot him up the middle for the next decade. Just wait until we have a competent double-play partner to slot with him.

        • -C 1 year ago

          Simmons was a rookie in 2012, so 2013 was his sophomore year.

          Now would probably be the best time, as his terrible first half at the plate skews his overall statistics pretty harshly.

          -C

    • bob 1 year ago

      saw an increase in power despite cutting back on his k’s though. ld% and fb% both rose and he was victim of .248 babip. his rate stats were slightly deceiving. he could be in for a big yr next season. makes sense to go ahead and lock him up if you can get him cheap.

    • Metsfan93 1 year ago

      If you have a chance to extend the third-best shortstop in the game for the long haul, you do it. It’d be like signing a better-hitting Ozzie Smith for the long-term. You do it. I truly believe Simmons is /that/ good defensively. Far and away the best defensive shortstop, and best defender period, in baseball. If they can lock in some FA years on options, they should do it. And Simmons hedges the injury risk with a lot of long-term guaranteed money.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

        If its a cheap extension yes, if not no. Simmons was 3rd in fWAR among SS last year but most of his value came from his defense something that is not rewarded in arbitration or FA. Among SS he ranked 7th is SLG, 8th is wRC+ and 13th in OBP, that’s good but not worth of a massive extension.

        • Metsfan93 1 year ago

          Elvis Andrus, who signed away his 3 arb years for 14.4 MM then his free agent years for 15 MM apiece, is a great comp here. If you don’t give Simmons an opt out and perhaps do 4 or 5 FA years instead of 8, it’s worth it, IMO. He’s amazing defensively, truly worth the hype in my opinion. Seeing him live whenever Atlanta is in town and I go to a game is a real treat. It reminds me a heck of a lot of seeing Andruw way back in his hey day

    • Jeff 1 year ago

      Most Braves fans expected Simmons to end up like Martin Prado with the bat, not Alex Gonzalez. That said, the defense is still Ozzie Smith level so he’s valuable even if his offense is replacement level.

  4. bob 1 year ago

    Simmons, please.

  5. publius varrus 1 year ago

    Ricky Romero: cautionary tale.

  6. Metsfan93 1 year ago

    I never really thought to much into it, but Atlanta really does have a star-studded group of homegrown players and young guys they’ve acquired. The Yankees get a lot of credit for Jeter/Bernie/Mo/Posada/Pettitte/Cano, but the Atlanta farm in the last quarter century has pumped out Glavine, Chipper, Andruw, Furcal, Teheran, Minor, McCann, Javy Lopez, Heyward, Freeman, Kimbrel, Simmons, acquired Smoltz in a steal before he debuted at the big-league level, and also has Neftali Feliz/Salty/Harrison/Andrus before they were traded to Texas. They’ve really been one of the best teams in the big leagues at getting young talent and keeping it- Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Chipper, Andruw, Giles, Furcal, Lopez, McCann, etc. Some of those players left as FAs (Furcal, Lopez, McCann) but were in Atlanta for 6+ years before they left.

    • bob 1 year ago

      I’ll begrudgingly add Wainwright. Even though we traded him, he’s an ATL product. :(

      Klesko and David Justice, too. Avery and Wohlers were solid until injuries hit.

    • Matthew Studdard 1 year ago

      Wainwright, don’t forget Wainwright…. sadly.

    • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

      You reeled off some good names while leaving off some good names like Ron Gant, David Justice, Ryan Klesko, Jermaine Dye, Jason Schmidt and Kevin Millwood. Dye and Schmidt were traded and became big time players for other teams but both were still drafted and developed by the Braves.

      • rundmc1981 1 year ago

        Soon you can add Jeff Locke, Brett Oberholzer, Matt Harrison, and possibly Arodys Vizcaino if he can ever feel better.

    • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

      There was a game in 2005 or 2006, Braves vs Rangers, where the entire starting lineup and pitcher, was home grown.

      • Metsfan93 1 year ago

        If I had to guess- 2005, and McCann, LaRoche, Marcus Giles, Furcal, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Ryan Langerhans, Jeff Francouer, John Smoltz.

    • rundmc1981 1 year ago

      Long live Steve Avery! I didn’t forget about you!

  7. Matthew Studdard 1 year ago

    All for the Braves locking up young talent… but how many of these contracts should they risk? Hedge bets, knowing at least one will be a bust?

    • Metsfan93 1 year ago

      I’m thinking they let Heyward walk and lock up Teheran, Simmons, JUp, and Freeman long-term. BJ and Uggla will be gone soon, and they might want to wait with Chris Johnson, Minor, Medlen..

      • rundmc1981 1 year ago

        Umm…BJ will be gone soon? Is 2018 right around the corner? Time flies when you want an atrocious contract to disappear.

    • rundmc1981 1 year ago

      Don’t think so, we sign busts, we re-sign winners.

      • bravo_84 1 year ago

        Dan Uggla disagrees…. Remember we gave up the rights to a good LH reliever and a very serviceable 2B to acquire him before signing that extension.

  8. NYBravosFan10 1 year ago

    I wonder why Teheran and not Minor. Minor has more experience and is a confirmed Super 2 i believe.

    • bravo_84 1 year ago

      For me it’s two fold. Teheran has a higher upside, and being farther away from arb I think there is a better chance to get a team friendly deal. Minor’s comparable’s would be much higher and require more guaranteed money and likely less of a chance for option seasons.

  9. EightMileCats 1 year ago

    Alright… Any ATL fans able to enlighten me. I understand extending Freeman long term over Heyward, but why aren’t they trying to lock up Heyward long term? When he came up he was raved about as a potential super star. I understand that he has had some injury issues, but still seems like that someone you’d want around longer(unless he is already being considered a bust… I’m not too sure as I don’t get a chance to see too many ATL games)

    • inkstainedscribe 1 year ago

      A wild guess: The brass would like to see Heyward play 140+ productive games this year and next year. They worry about having a Cliff Floyd on their hands, a great player when he’s healthy who is not healthy too frequently.

      • NYBravosFan10 1 year ago

        The arb-buyout extension was perfect for Heyward. It allows them to consider a possible long term extension with arbitration getting in the way. The reason they didn’t go right for the long term is because he needs to prove that he can play a full season. The appendectomy wasn’t his fault and neither was getting drilled in the face but he has had other injuries. He’s still got something to prove.

    • bob 1 year ago

      they are. wren said they sat down with his agents, but said he got the sense the agents wanted heyward to have a fully healthy season before they did anything long-term. there were rumblings they tried to lock him up last season, too. i think it has more to do with heyward than it does the braves.

      • rundmc1981 1 year ago

        Totally agree from everything I’ve read and seen. It also should be noted that Freeman/Heyward are in the same agency (Excel) and you’d think that if they can get a deal done with Freeman, that there’s not much disconnect from the Braves camp on signing Heyward unless both sides weren’t motivated. This is pure speculation, but it’s in Heyward’s best interest to get a healthy season under his belt to show his capabilities and determine a figure that both sides can agree on. Unfortunately, that figure might be too high for ATL, but then again, I’d see us re-signing Heyward before re-signing J-Up.

        • bob 1 year ago

          I agree with everything you just said. Also, I think after watching the market kind of go crazy this offseason, I think the front office is worried about having to explore free agency in a couple years to replace these guys, especially since they don’t have very many ‘can’t-miss’ position players in the minors. Extensions to young players might be risky, but it might be even riskier to wait and see what they can afford on the free agent market after other teams have spent two or three more years shoving tv money down their gullet. I think they’ll end up doing what they can to sign Heyward. Maybe not this offseason, but I think they’ll at least keep working on it.

          • rundmc1981 1 year ago

            As Uggla, BJ Upton, Derek Lowe, Kenshin Kawakami have all taught us, is that free agency isn’t ever a sure-thing and could quite possibly make it more difficult for you to contend. Add to the current trend of overpaying for proven talent the trend of locking up young talent, Braves are now starting to be one of those teams that extend. They’ve wanted to do that but didn’t have a clear idea of where the money was going to come from. Now, if Wren can hammer out some decent extensions from top talent knowing that not everyone is going to stay, we should be in a good position. Just imagine having the money from the new stadium in place when the current atrocious TV deal expires and a new one is negotiated. Yes, a long way away, but heavens they could be put in a good position.

    • Cobby_Box 1 year ago

      Both sides have to want it to happen too, maybe Heyward wants to go out and prove he can be healthy and consistent for a year because he knows that will secure him much more money. I wouldn’t blame him if he thought that way and was willing to gamble on himself.

    • alex_morrison 1 year ago

      We want him. It’s reported they talked last year about long-term contracts and most likely did this year as well. They just haven’t arrived at a balanced number.

    • Tom 1 year ago

      They actually tried too after 2012 but he didnt accept the deal. I dont think it was as much as Freeman’s deal.

      But if he has a good year, and stays healthy, i think they will try to extend him, if he accepts is another story.

    • -C 1 year ago

      It’s rumored that Heyward and his camp believe he can use the next two seasons to show that he’s a viable $25-30M+ player. It’s really difficult to extend a guy at a team-friendly rate when he thinks he has an excellent shot at a $200-300M+ contract in just two seasons.

      -C

  10. Guest 1 year ago

    I watched every one of Teheran’s starts in the second half last year. I am convinced that he is one of the most special pitchers in baseball. I predict that he will come in second in Cy Young voting this year to Clayton Kershaw. 2014 is going to be a special year for Julio.

    • Guest 1 year ago

      I am absolutely guilty of eye testing. It’s what makes me a baseball fan and not just a stat-sheet fan. When I want to put together a fantasy draft strategy, I go to the metrics. When I want to enjoy baseball as an observer, I go to my eyes. I understand that there are all sorts of statistical probabilities that would make very compelling arguments for who will put forth the best seasons at starting pitcher next year. If any of these guys were to win the Cy Young, it would come as no surprise to me. There are many amazing pitchers. But the baseball fan in me, the observer, believes that Teheran is about to turn a corner that will light the baseball world on fire.

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