As Jeff Todd and I discussed on yesterday afternoon’s MLBTR Podcast, the month of February typically yields a fair amount of multi-year contracts. The extent of the commitments vary, as some will simply buy out arbitration years while others will others will extend the contracts of emerging stars beyond their arbitration years. Others, yet, have swayed a player from pursuing free agency the following offseason and reflect something closer to open-market value. Regardless of the specific structure, fans can expect to see a handful of extensions this month, if history is any indication.
- Red Sox, Wade Miley agree to three-year deal worth $19.25MM.
- Royals, Eric Hosmer agree to two-year deal worth $13.9MM.
- Reds, Todd Frazier agree to two-year deal worth $12MM.
- Cardinals, Jon Jay agree to two-year deal worth $10.975MM.
- Marlins, Mike Dunn agree to two-year deal worth $5.8MM.
- Royals, Kelvin Herrera agree to two-year deal worth $4.15MM.
The 2015 wave of extensions were all of the arbitration variety. With the exception of a fourth-year club option on the Miley contract, none of the deals extended club control, instead affording the teams/players cost certainty and the relief of avoiding an extra trip through the arbitration process this winter.
- Braves, Freddie Freeman agree to eight-year deal worth $135MM.
- Reds, Homer Bailey agree to six-year deal worth $105MM.
- Braves, Andrelton Simmons agree to seven-year deal worth $58MM.
- Yankees, Brett Gardner agree to four-year deal worth $52MM.
- Braves, Craig Kimbrel agree to four-year deal worth $42MM.
- Braves, Julio Teheran agree to six-year deal worth $32.4MM.
- Indians, Michael Brantley agree to four-year deal worth $25MM.
- Athletics, Coco Crisp agree to two-year deal worth $22.75MM.
February of 2014 saw the former Braves front office, led by since-fired GM Frank Wren, seek to lock up what was supposed to be the team’s core for years to come. Two years later, then-senior-adviser John Hart is now the president of baseball operations, and the likes of Kimbrel and Simmons have been traded as the Braves stockpile their farm with young pitching.
Meanwhile, the Bailey contract certainly represents a deal on which the Reds would prefer a mulligan. Bailey struggled greatly in 2014 and ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015. Crisp’s deal has been marred by injuries, while Brantley has taken the step from solid regular into stardom. Gardner dealt with a wrist injury in the second half of last year but has otherwise continued to be a productive player since his deal.
- Mariners, Felix Hernandez agree to seven-year deal worth $175MM.
- D-backs, Aaron Hill agree to three-year deal worth $35MM.
Hernandez’s deal actually contained five years and $135.5MM worth of new money, as he was already controlled for two years and $39.5MM under his previous contract. It was, nevertheless, one of the largest contracts in history for a pitcher at the time. Hill was excellent in 2013, save for about 75 missed games due to a broken hand, but his extension didn’t kick in until 2014. He struggled badly in the first year of his deal and further declined in 2015 before having his salary dumped on the Brewers as part of last week’s five-player trade that sent Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner to Arizona, with Chase Anderson and Isan Diaz going back to Milwaukee alongside Hill.
- Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman agree to six-year deal worth $100MM.
- Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw agree to two-year deal worth $19MM.
- Reds, Sean Marshall agree to three-year deal worth $16.5MM.
- Rangers, Nelson Cruz agree to two-year deal worth $16MM.
- Rangers, Elvis Andrus agree to three-year deal worth $14.4MM.
- Phillies, Kyle Kendrick agree to two-year deal worth $7.5MM.
- Royals, Salvador Perez agree to five-year deal worth $7MM.
- Blue Jays, Casey Janssen agree to two-year deal worth $5.9MM.
- Rockies, Matt Belisle agree to one-year deal worth $4.35MM.
Injuries have impacted Zimmerman’s throwing to the point where he’s had to slide across the diamond to first base, and they’ve also limited him to an average of 78 games over the past two seasons. With four years and $76MM remaining, the Nats very much could use a Zimmerman rebound. The Kershaw deal served to buy out a pair of arbitration years and was followed by a record-setting seven-year, $215MM contract extension. Marshall scarcely pitched over the life of his three-year deal, as shoulder woes have derailed his career (although the contract was in line with the relief market at the time). Andrus’ initial deal looked to be favorable for the Rangers, but the subsequent $120MM extension he received on top of that deal looks regrettable, as his bat never developed, and his defense has regressed as well (per UZR and DRS). Perez’s deal, which includes three club options, has become perhaps the most notoriously club-friendly contract in the league, maxing out at $26.75MM over eight years. There have been repeated reports of possible extension talks with his new representation this offseason.