A month ago, CSNBayArea.com's Mychael Urban wrote that prelimary talks on an extension for Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki are underway. However, Susan Slusser and John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle heard differently from the catcher's agent. Suzuki, 26, is eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season. Let's look at possible comparables for an extension. (Arb means arbitration, FA means free agent year).
- Yadier Molina, Cardinals: Four-year, $15.5MM deal covers arb 1-3 and FA 1, with a club option on FA 2. Received $9.25MM for three arb years. Signed in January of '08.
- Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks. Three-year, $14.25MM deal covers arb 2-3 and FA 1, with a club option on FA 2. Though deal did not cover all three arb years, Snyder received $9.6MM for them. Signed in December of '08.
- Ryan Doumit, Pirates. Three-year, $11.5MM deal covers arb 1-3 with club options on FA 1-2. Receives $10.7MM for three arb years. Signed in December of '08.
- Carlos Ruiz, Phillies. Three-year, $8.85MM deal covers arb 1-3 with a club option on FA 1. Received $8.35MM for three arb years. Signed in Janunary of '10.
- Kelly Shoppach, Rays. Two-year, $5.55MM deal covers arb 2-3 with a club option on FA 1. Will receive $7.2MM for three arb years, though arb 1 wasn't covered in the deal. Signed in January of '10.
- Chris Iannetta, Rockies. Three-year, $8.35MM deal covers arb 1-3 with a club option on FA 1. Will receive $7.85MM for three arb years.
- Doumit, Ruiz, and Iannetta are the best comparables, in that they signed before their first arbitration seasons and relatively recently. But unlike these three, Suzuki will have about 500 games under his belt when he reaches arbitration. Even though they're all being compared as 3+ service time players, Suzuki will have a full season's worth of games (and the accompanying counting stats) more than the others.
- Although Doumit was overpaid, Suzuki has a strong case to top his arbitration year salaries. Suzuki's first free agent year could be in the $6-8MM range, whether it's guaranteed or a club option. If Suzuki allows for a club option, he should seek a deal worth at least $12MM. The option would be convenient for the A's, as top catching prospect Max Stassi may be ready by 2014. From Suzuki's point of view, he'd get a buyout if the option is declined and reach free agency as a 30-year-old.