Now that March has arrived, few free agents remain and the offseason is essentially over. But if last year is any indication, we have more to look forward to in March than the occasional waiver claim or release. Teams take advantage of March and April to keep players off of the free agent market with extensions.
Joe Mauer ($184MM) and Ryan Howard ($125MM) headlined last year's crop of early-spring deals and 14 other players also inked extensions. Josh Beckett ($68MM), Justin Upton ($51.25MM), Yovani Gallardo ($30.1MM) and Matt Cain ($27.25MM) all signed deals worth $25MM-plus. Ben Zobrist ($18MM), Adam Lind ($18MM), Denard Span ($16.5MM), Brian Wilson ($15MM), Mark Reynolds ($14.5MM), Nick Blackburn ($14MM), Brett Anderson ($12.5MM), Scott Feldman ($11.5MM), Todd Helton ($9.9MM) and Jeremy Affeldt ($9.5MM) all signed extensions, too, as MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows.
In 2009, Ryan Zimmerman, Chipper Jones, Jon Lester, Gavin Floyd, Scott Baker signed extensions in April and May so while 2010 was extension-heavy it wasn't a complete aberration. Once the calendar turns to May, however, extension season slows down; there were no extensions in May or June of last year or in 2009.