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.