Every year we see teams sign their star players to long-term contract extensions, often buying out arbitration and/or free agent years. But every so often a team will acquire a player in a trade and then sign him to an extension before they ever play a game in their uniform. Many times an extension will be a condition of a trade, other times it can be unexpected.
Here's a few extensions that were signed before the player ever played a game for the team, sorted by guaranteed money…
- Miguel Cabrera, Tigers – A little more than three months after the trade that brought him to Detroit, the Tigers gave Cabrera an eight-year, $152.3MM contract. Off-the-field transgressions aside, he's been worth every penny: .314/.388/.567 with 109 homers in three years in MoTown.
- Johan Santana, Mets – The trade was contingent on Santana agreeing to a new deal, which he did when the team offered six years and $137.5MM. Although he's battled injuries with the Mets, Santana's pitched to a 2.85 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the three years since the trade.
- Ken Griffey Jr., Reds – The Kid signed what was then the largest contract in baseball history the day he was traded to Cincinnati, a nine-year, $112.5MM pact. He hit .270/.362/.514 with 210 homers in parts of nine seasons with the Reds, battling numerous injuries.
- Roy Halladay, Phillies – Philadelphia wasted no time getting Halladay under contract, giving him a three-year, $60MM deal the day he was acquired from the Blue Jays. The extension doesn't kick in until this year, but Doc was as good as advertised in his first season with the Phillies, winning the Cy Young Award to go with a regular season perfect game and a playoff no-hitter.
- Javier Vazquez, Yankees – After acquiring Vazquez from the Expos, the Yankees locked him into a four-year, $45MM pact. It didn't work out in New York; he pitched to a 4.91 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 2004 before being traded to Arizona as part of the package for Randy Johnson the following offseason.
- Dontrelle Willis, Tigers – The Tigers locked up Willis before they locked up Cabrera. He signed a three-year, $29MM contract about two weeks after the trade, and you can bet the team wishes it could have pushed the reset button on this one. Willis pitched to a 6.86 ERA in just 101 innings in a Tigers' uniform.
Dan Uggla joined this group earlier this winter, and it's very possible Adrian Gonzalez will before the end of the month as well. Other players like Josh Beckett and Scott Rolen (with the Cardinals) signed extensions within a few months of being acquired, playing just a handful of games with their new teams beforehand.