The staggering number of extensions teams doled out leading up to this season was among Major League Baseball’s main storylines last spring. Some of the players who inked those deals (Mike Trout and Ronald Acuna Jr., to name a couple) have picked up where they left off prior to receiving their new pacts. Others have fallen short of expectations, on the other hand. Here are several notable examples of just-extended players who have disappointed this season…
Chris Sale, LHP, Red Sox (five years, $145MM):
- Sale’s velocity began to plummet late last year – a season limited by shoulder problems – but after the Red Sox’s latest World Series triumph in the fall, they decided to make a big-money, long-term commitment to the southpaw. Unfortunately for Boston, Sale’s velocity hasn’t really recovered (at least not to its summer 2018 levels) during what has been a less-than-ideal season for him and the reigning champions. The 30-year-old entered 2019 having never logged an ERA higher than 3.41 in a season, but the number has skyrocketed to 4.68 through 132 2/3 innings in the current campaign. Furthermore, Sale’s average exit velocity against has climbed from 84.7 mph to 88.2 since last season, while his expected weighted on-base average has soared from .238 to .292. Most pitchers would sign up for a .292 mark, though, and Sale does remain a bear to deal with despite his sudden difficulty preventing runs. His 3.55 FIP, 3.06 xFIP and 3.10 SIERA are all terrific, as his 13.09 K/9 against 2.37 BB/9. Sale is clearly still a major asset, but he hasn’t been the elite force we’ve grown accustomed to watching.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Cardinals (five years, $130MM):
- Set to turn 32 next month, Goldschmidt’s on track for the worst full season of his storied career, having hit .253/.333/.461 in 477 plate appearances. Although the former Diamondback has racked up 25 home runs, his offensive output has only been 8 percent better than the league-average batter, according to FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric. Goldschmidt’s walks are down, his strikeouts are up, he’s chasing more out-of-zone pitches than ever, and his expected weighted on-base average – .351, a bit better than his .342 real wOBA – is down 33 points from last year. St. Louis didn’t expect any of that this season when it inked Goldschmidt to a franchise-record accord several months ago.
Randal Grichuk, OF, Blue Jays (five years, $52MM):
- Grichuk’s the one player on this list whose extension has already taken effect. While he is enjoying a red-hot early August, albeit one buoyed by a .533 batting average on balls in play, his season has still been a letdown compared to last year’s strong offensive showing. Never known for getting on base much throughout his career, the 27-year-old has batted .240/.296/.432 with 18 HRs across 452 PA. Grichuk’s ISO has sunk 65 points since 2018, having gone from .257 to .192. At the same time, his .286 xwOBA (compared to a .308 wOBA) only ranks in the league’s 11th percentile.
Matt Carpenter, 3B, Cardinals (two years, $39MM):
- Carpenter, like his teammate Goldschmidt, isn’t showing encouraging signs months after landing his new contract. The 33-year-old joined Goldschmidt as one of the National League’s top players from 2013-18, but he has hit a below-average .218/.325/.368 with 10 homers in 360 trips to the plate during an injury-shortened 2019 season. Carpenter’s walk, strikeout and isolated power numbers have all gone in worrying directions, while his .320 xwOBA (superior to a .300 wOBA, granted) is merely mediocre and far below where it was in recent years. Carpenter didn’t post an xwOBA worse than .383 in any season from 2015-18.
Khris Davis, DH, Athletics (two years, $33.5MM):
- After four straight years of hitting .247 and three straight seasons of swatting 40-plus home runs, the low-budget Athletics took a gamble by locking up Davis to a relatively big contract. He’s off to a tough start thus far. With minus-0.5 fWAR in 388 PA, Davis has been among the majors’ least valuable players this year. He’s hitting .230/.299/.398 with 17 homers and a .168 ISO, which is 134 points lower than the figure he recorded just a year ago. Davis is also barreling approximately 7 percent fewer pitches than he did from 2016-18, and his average exit velocity has fallen about 2.5 mph compared to the previous couple years. Although the 31-year-old’s .325 xwOBA does easily outdo his .299 wOBA, it still represents a significant drop-off for a player who put up a mark upward of .370 in each of the prior three seasons. In fairness to Davis, he has battled multiple injuries this year, so perhaps he’ll rebound if healthier in 2020.
Randall’s is the worst be bc he never did anything to deserve it. Another brilliant move by the FO.
Jays won’t have too much $$ tied up in 2020 and going forward so shouldn’t hurt too much
It’s a waste of $. Shatkins are cheap that money should have been spent on pitching.
Yup look at what AA can get The braves good young stars to agree too yet this is the best the current FO can do. Very nervous how they are going to approach extensions to all the jays young stars
they’ll come back
Hick’s down season is more due to injury than output. Stretch out what he’s done this year over a full season and it’s comparable to what he did last year before the extension.
He has always been injured though.
Sale was the obvious contract extension that was doomed to fail. I remember the press conference and how uncomfortable Dombrowski looked listening to Chris bark on and on about “no one here hates losing more than me” and blah blah blah. They never had to extend him at that time. They caved to a player that was naturally going to lose some magic as he aged. Sale has never been in the same stratosphere as Verlander.
I mean I think Goldy was the more obvious fail. Signing up for a 1B age 32-37 seasons seems like something you ought to know better than to do. He’s been great but those were through his prime years. I’d prefer to have Sale over Goldy for the next 5 for sure.
I think Paul Goldschmidt will recover. He’s still in good shape unlike the players who get fat and think they can perform the same as when they were in top physical shape. Overall, the whole Cardinal team is in a funk yet they’re still in it.
Not that I’m for overweight players but weight and bat speed aren’t related usually. Examples are David Ortiz or Tony Gwynn. Larger men who didn’t lose their batspeed. That being said I think Goldschmidt will rebound next year.
Even this version of Goldschmidt is better than league average. I don’t think he’s done by any means but the extension hasn’t even started. There’s next to no chance I see Paul Goldschmidt being productive at age 36-37. Few are post PED’s and those who are typically just DH. Which could be an option for Goldy because there’s a decent shot the DH is available by then.
The point is 133 Million bucks over 5 year is steep money. It’s not the idiotic /Pujols/ M-Cab/Votto or even Chris Davis deals but it shouldn’t be. Those deals burn teams every single time. If there’s one position on the baseball field I’m not shelling out 125+ MM Bucks for (unless it’s a guy in his prime) its 1B.
Few are in that stratosphere
Sale has been every bit as good as Verlander in his career. Not for as long granted, but his career numbers put him in the elite class with JV. No question. And don’t forget, JV has a couple of near 5 ERA seasons on his resume. Unless the shoulder gets worse, I expect he’ll return to top form.
Chris Sale 2012-2019: 3.07 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 1.034 WHIP, 5.59 K/BB ratio, 1.0 HR/9
Justin Verlander 2006-2013: 3.38 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 1.187 WHIP, 3.08 K/BB ratio, .8 HR/9
If anything, Sale has been better than Verlander through their first 8 MLB seasons as a starter.
Agreed. Not sure why you wouldn’t wait after two concerning seasons of arm issues.
Time will tell but I also questioned the Sale deal at the time. The contracts to the starters in general will handcuff the team if neither Sale nor Price delivers.
wait…Sale who’s been top 6 in Cy young voting for the last 7 years isn’t in Verlander’s league? wow. If you were concerned with his loss of velocity then ok, i could see waiting until this year to see but that meant potential competition in an open market. but to suggest he’s not in JV’s league is going too far.
Krush Davis has been hurt. He will be back hitting home runs soon.
Severino signed an extension as well, but still hasn’t appeared a game this season.
As someone mentioned before, you can argue for and against Hicks to be on this list.
Grichuk & Carpenter were the two most nonsensical extensions i’ve seen in quite some time. Grichuk because he had never done anything to warrant the extension and Carpenter because they already had an option on him for 2020.
Never understood the Grichuk extension. And, maybe 1 tool guys with the last name of Davis should be avoided for long term contracts when past 30 years old.
Does Justin Upton count as an extension?
Fire Mozeliak. Not only has he made one bad decision after another on players for the last 5 years, he has made 2 bad managerial hires as well.
Just wait until the off season when he isn’t fired and he tries to say Jordan Zimmerman is the rotational piece we needed when we trade for him.
That seems like a Mozo the Clown kind of move.
Jordan Zimmermann is the Red Bird’s savior, John Mozeliak!
Sounds about right.
Vandals Took The Handles
Do not live in St. Louis, but have admired the Cardinals organization since the late 1950’s.
I understood the Goldschmidt extension, because it was sort of like adding Jack Clark or George Hendrick or Richie/Dick Allen as a middle of the order RBI guy. But unfortunately, this version of the Cardinals doesn’t have guys batting 1,2, and 3 that consistently get on base.
The Cardinals seem to have a lot of good arms both on the ML roster and in the upper minors. But breaking from their tradition the past number of years the Cardinals are not developing those arms.
The Cardinals are in a pennant race this year because the NL Central is simply mediocre. Their OF is a mess – the guys that can hit can’t field, and the guys that field can’t hit (the RF can’t hit or run when he plays RF, he’s more comfortable playing CF….but he’s a lousy CF). They have 2 maybe 3 decent starting pitchers – I haven’t followed them for a few weeks so I don’t know if Wacha is a starter or reliever today – they keep moving him from one place to the other and back (if he latches onto a team as a FA with a quality Pitching Coach, he’ll be great in 2020). Carpenter should be released so that DeJong can play 3B – he’s not really a SS. Wong is a terrific defensive 2B that can be carried on a team that hits a lot – the Cardinals don’t. The Cardinals started winning when Yadi went out hurt and Wieters did the Catching – a lesson there. And I watched the 9th inning of the Dodger game today because I figured the Cardinals bullpen would blow the game…and they did.
I sort of like Mike Shildt, but he expresses himself in analytical pseudo-psychological gobbledygook double-talk that isn’t bringing back memories of Branch Rickey, Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, or Tony La Russa. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Those guys laid out the direction and got guys to head in it…..or they could sit. Shildt seems to be paralysis by analysis.
But the problem is the Front Office that set all this in motion. At some point the DeWitt family needs to face that fact.
I’m not sure why Goldscmidt wasn’t predictable. Three straight seasons of declining K/W ratios. Even 2018 might’ve set off the smoke alarms. It was a good year overall, but he also had a couple of periods where he disappeared.
he was very close to being a .300/.400/ 500 guy last year despite the 173ks.
Unfortunately…..By watching Matt Carpenter over the past 2 seasons, any intelligent baseball fan can see that Too Many Life Long Injuries has gooey the best of Matt Carpenter. He just doesn’t have the physical ability to be the Matt Carpenter to be the Matt Carpenter as the All-Star he once was. His pride to play has gotten into his and the Front Office’s sense of good judgement for the betterment of the Cardinals team. The Cardinals, after being in First Place upon Carpenters return, has lost every game the Cardinal have played since. It’s time to benc Carpenter and let the young kids play!!!!!