There’s no baseball in the present, which has many fans turning to the past, as broadcasters are helping us addicts get our fix by filling the air with classic games from days gone by. But what about the future? Which players are logical fits for contract extensions for the days yet to come?
We’ve already checked in on the NL East, NL Central and NL West. Now it’s time to switch over to the Junior Circuit and check in on the AL East.
The youth movement is in full effect north of the border, as the team currently has no position players on the 40-man roster who have reached their 30th birthday. That means there are extension candidates up and down the line. From the team’s perspective, they would surely love to lock up their young core players of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, all of whom have less than a year of service time and are therefore at least two years away from arbitration. However, since all three are the sons of retired big leaguers who made millions during their playing days, they might not be as motivated as some other players to sign away years of free agency in exchange for the security of having guaranteed money in the bank.
One promising youngster without a famous lineage is catcher Danny Jansen. The team could have some desire to lock him up if they think he’s their catcher of the future. But does the team still believe that after his lackluster offensive numbers in 2019?
On the pitching side, the most promising young arm is prospect Nate Pearson, who hasn’t even made it onto the roster yet. We’ve seen some recent extensions given to players before their MLB debuts, such as Luis Robert, Evan White and Eloy Jimenez, but none for pitchers just yet. One wild card is Ken Giles. The 29-year-old has been lights out since leaving Houston and is one year away from free agency. But because of injury concerns, perhaps the right deal could give him enough peace of mind to forgo the open market.
The Orioles are about as full into rebuild as a team can be. And the path out of the AL East basement seems to be long and arduous. But one way to brighten the light at the end of the tunnel would be to lock in some quality players for the happier days down the road. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of guys that currently meet that description.
The team had four players produce more than 2.0 fWAR in 2019. Two of them are now on different teams (Dylan Bundy and Jonathan Villar). And another, Trey Mancini, is suddenly in an uncertain position after recently undergoing surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his colon.
That leaves only hurler John Means, who had a fantastic breakout season in 2019. And since he’s about to turn 27 and is two years away from arbitration, he might want to lock up some cash while he can. But from the team perspective, Means might not be worth betting on at this stage. His 2019 ERA of 3.60 was nice, but FIP and xFIP are less bullish, pegging him at 4.41 and 5.48, respectively. It would be prudent for the Orioles to be patient and see if he has the ability to find repeat success.
The cash-strapped Rays are big fans of the extension, having signed 11 of them in the decade that just ended. Since they almost never reel in big fish in free agency, Charlie Morton notwithstanding, extensions are the best way for them to get bang for their buck and keep talent on the roster. Just a few weeks ago, they were reportedly discussions extensions with Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows.
As for Glasnow, he finally had his long-awaited breakout in 2019. He just reached arbitration as a Super Two and could conceivably make some decent money with four trips through arbitration. The club would surely prefer to put a cap on his earnings ceiling if they could. And since Glasnow struggled through his first few years in Pittsburgh, he might welcome the security of guaranteed cash to insure himself against those struggles returning. But because of injuries, he only logged 60 2/3 innings last year. He still hasn’t proven he can maintain his abilities over a full season. Until he does, that limits his leverage in negotiations.
As for Meadows, he had a tremendous season in 2019, putting up the kind of classical power numbers that should reward him well in arbitration. As long as he can stay healthy and repeat them. But since arbitration is still two years away, perhaps a compromise could be worked out wherein he gets more money now but sacrifices the top end of his earning power.
In terms of other guys, there are a whole whack of them that the Rays could try to nail down before they start getting paid real money. The list includes Joey Wendle, Willy Adames, Ryan Yarbrough, Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe and a big batch of relievers. But of course, with the Rays, there’s always a decent chance they’ll just trade a guy as soon as they get uncomfortable with his cost.
After trading away Mookie Betts and David Price and then losing Chris Sale to Tommy John surgery, it might feel like the Red Sox are a hollowed-out husk. But there’s still a lot of talent on the roster that they should want to keep around. And now that they’ve accomplished their goal of getting under the luxury tax barrier, they should have some room on the payroll to actually do it.
Andrew Benintendi recently signed a two-year deal. But he will still have one arbitration year remaining after that. That means he would hit the free agent market as a 28-year-old, potentially lining himself up for a nice payday, unless the Sox pay him first. Eduardo Rodriguez just had his best season and could also reach free agency at 28. He’s making $8.3MM in 2020 and still has one more pass through arbitration remaining. With Price and Sale gone, and Eovaldi’s injury history, it could make sense to keep Rodriguez around for a few more years for some rotation stability.
Rafael Devers won’t even get into arbitration until after this season. And since he’s only 23, he could bank some cash, give away a few free agent years and still reach the open market before he turns 30. Alex Verdugo is just a bit older but has one more year of team control than Devers. If Boston believed in him enough to make him the centrepiece of their return for giving up a franchise player like Mookie Betts, they must believe he’s capable of helping them down the road.
The big-spending Yankees of old seem to have returned, after they blew way past the luxury tax for 2020. But you can never rule out another dump truck of money coming around the corner. They’re the Yankees, after all.
They already struck gold with the first time they signed DJ LeMahieu. He somehow managed to have his best offensive output during a season in which he turned 31, and after leaving the friendly confines of Coors Field. Last month, it didn’t seem like anything was imminent. But that doesn’t mean a deal couldn’t be reached at some point this year to prevent him going on the block. James Paxton is also just one year away from free agency. But given his persistent injuries, would the Yankees bet on him in a big way?
Of course, the 6’7″ elephant in the room is Aaron Judge. The delayed start to the season is giving him a chance to convalesce and approach full health. The slugger will make $8.5MM in 2020 and still has two passes through arbitration remaining before he hits free agency as a 30-year-old. Will the Yankees shell out the big bucks to keep the fan favorite around? Or does his injury history give them pause? Gary Sanchez is in a similar position, but just a few months younger than Judge and with a slightly smaller salary at $5MM.
In the pre-arb department, Gleyber Torres is the shining star. He is sure to reach arbitration after 2020 as a Super Two, meaning he’ll have four chances to get a raise through arbitration unless the Yanks can fork over enough to get him not to. Since he’s on pace to reach the open market at 27, he could give up a few free agent years and still become a free agent at a relatively young age.
I know they’re looking for baseball news but salaries talk driving me nuts, lol.
Probably drives you nuts because it means you can’t keep everyone. New young cost effective players come up from AAA, and older more fragile players become less effective and fade away.
I miss Yaz, Fred Lynn, Pedro, Lowe, David Ortiz, such is life. Salary discussions give understanding to why same players like Betts get traded.
…and yes even Brockstar….
Please don’t bring up Fred Lynn. So many years later and the wounds of losing Fisk, Lynn and Burleson over stupidity still hurts like it was yesterday. Doubling down, they somehow get back Carney Lansford who wins a batting title and gets shipped to Oakland for Tony Armas.
Losing Kynn n Fisk makes me still cry, that was horrible days in Bean town. Not Holt, but not the impact of Fisk but still sad.
Trading Carney Lansford opened up 3B for Hall of Famer Wade Boggs (5 batting title and off the chart OBP)
You are free to disagree but it’s part of baseball I enjoy and what makes it my favorite sport. It’s a sport you can play arm chair gm at. It’s not an overly complicated system like the NFL for instance therefore you can have an opinion on who should stay and who should go to best round out your favorite teams roster based on their typical yearly spending threshold. I love it and it’s a big reason I am on this site as often as I am
Seth – I agree 100 percent. It is great to watch these young guys progress from draft, through the minor leagues, and into the majors. There is and will always be roster turnover, and it is part of the reason I like baseball too.
Yastrzemski was my favorite player, but at 80 he can’t play anymore……..Everyone either retires, gets traded, or leaves as a free agent. It just is part of the game.
Any distraction is welcome
Mr.McDonald how do you evaluate a team that won 108 games and the World Series less than 2 years ago who (with your words) traded away two players as a “hollowed out husk”?!
Maybe you’re looking for popularity though outrage such as mine. Shallow.
The offense is still competitive, but that pitching staff is about as sad as there is in the league. I don’t think “hollowed out husk” is that much of a stretch… I’m hoping they’re still an above .500 team.
In a shortened season, the Sox with a good start can win it all or finish in last. The problem is the same can be said for most other teams.
He choose his words poorly. He should have said something like “a team in need of pitching”, because the majority of the WS lineup is still there and productive (Devers, Bogaerts, JD, Benintendi, Vázquez, Moreland, Bradley still there although ? on productive), 7/9 is more than a shell. E-Rod and Eovaldi (no Porcello, Price, Sale hurt) 2/5 could be considered a shell.
I’m more with 4WS over elemedius obviously. Lacking in pitching, starting and relief, while still touting a top ten offense is hardly a hollowed out husk. I guess I am just arguing semantics based on my bias admittedly.
“A top ten offense” isn’t quite as impressive when thought of in terms of thirty teams; a top ten offense that just lost its top offensive weapon is a little… well, hollowed out.
““A top ten offense” isn’t quite as impressive when thought of in terms of thirty teams”
How else would he be thinking about it?
“a top ten offense that just lost its top offensive weapon”
They were the 6th best offense.”
“the majority of the ws lineup is still there”. yeah minus the 10 WAR player
You really believe in WAR? No way any non pitcher is truly worth ten wins in my view. The old computer saying, garbage in, garbage out applies. Simply too many variables that can’t be controlled. A pitcher is different be it a hall of fame traditional starter or a closer.
“No way any non pitcher is truly worth ten wins in my view”
1. A player’s WAR doesn’t measure the amount of wins he is worth. It measure’s the amount of wins he is worth relative to a “replacement level” player.
2. Why in your view are position players so much less valuable than pitchers across a whole season? How is pitching any less filled with uncontrollable variables?.
I disagree with the idea that Biggio/Bichette/Guerrero may not care about money because their dad’s made a lot. Maybe dad spent it all. Maybe dad won’t share ? Everyone wants to take care of their kids, but also want them to be hungry and not entitled slugs…
I think what he is trying to say is that these kids didn’t grow up poor and that it might take more than simply driving up a Brinks truck up to their driveways to get them to sign an extension. They also probably have a better understanding than others to the business side of baseball.
I think it’s fair to bring up that someone who grew up wealthy is likely to be less desperate for money than someone who came from poverty. Not only because those who grew up poor likely have never been around much money before becoming a pro, but they likely have family’s to take care of. I highly doubt that Vlad or Biggio’s familys are needing support right now.
It is a reality of contract negotiations
Considering Vlad Sr. has eight kids and Vlad Jr. already has one, I’d agree that we can’t assume there’s endless family money to go around. It’s also not a purely financial decision for many as well.
Vlad Jr getting busy already?
I *love* salary discussion. My favorite thing to do.
DJ LeMahieu seems like he a) wants to stay a Yankee, b) understands the economics of the game and will seek a reasonable salary and years and both sides are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach and I see him as a kind of Kevin Durant type if his performance is similar, identical or exceeds his 2019, Short but high salary deals. I think, for both parties, that’s a cut and dry situation of going with this same contract pattern with performance commensurate pay increases that are still economical in nature and not bank breaking:
Yankee Extension: 2 years/$46M and then re-examine for the 2023 season and continue in this pattern.
OTHER TEAMS: 3 years/$75-100M, depending on the aggressiveness of the market.
With Judge, it’s just a question of what both sides want. Does he want his Yankee legacy as a one team career player? Or does he want to maximize his income level? If he wants a Yankee legacy, a deal will get done that will, like Aaron Hicks, leave money on the table in exchange for years, but it won’t be as drastic an underpay and the Yankees won’t give him extra years for the loyalty. As much as I’d love to see Judge get a nice record deal like so many others of his star calibre:
YANKEES: 7 years/$155M for Judge ($15M, $15M, $30M, $25M, $25M, $25M, $20M)
OTHER TEAMS: 8 years/$245M ($5M signing bonus, $20M, $30M, $30M, $31M, $31M, $31M, $31M, $31M, $5M buyout on $30M option)
I think Gary Sanchez is in an identical boat, where he can go for the largest possible contract, which means he will leave the Yankees for a club that will probably overpay him to be a star on a club that may or may not actually have a winning record and contend or he can take a deal to stay a Yankee but it accounts of his injury history and his other peripheral concerns:
YANKEES: 7 years/$140M ($8M, $10M, $22M, $20M, $20M, $20M, $20M)
OTHER TEAM: 4 years/$100M or 5 years/$115M ($25M, $25M, $25M, $15M w/$10M buyout on $25M option or it’s just $23M AAV for 5 years)
Gleyber David Torres: Dude is a beast, he’s so young, he’s got so much ceiling, he’s unquestionably got a Mike Trout/Bryce Harper, Nolan Arrenado level potential that the Yankees have on their hands. He’s so young. That can’t be stressed enough. He’s got at least 5 years left as a Yankee and he’s a lock for an 8-13 year deal once he hits Free Agency. The Yankees can’t lowball him. The MLBPA wouldn’t allow it. I doubt Gleyber would go for a team friendly deal. I also would guess if the money was the same, he’d go for a career-spanning extension now rather than go through arbitration and free agency already basically knowing his value. He also seems like the type who will stay in shape as he ages. He’s a real gamer.
15 years/$455M ($650k, $8.65M, $15M, $20M, $30M, $37M, $37M, $37M, $37M, $37M,
$33M, $33M, $34M, $32.5M, $32.5M)
Sorry for the long response but I love this topic. Peace!
Lol. You should really look into the newly released version of OOTP Baseball game. As for DJ, I don’t have a sense of urgency as he’s not exactly a spring chicken anymore. I would just Q.O. him if he puts up another highly productive season. Maybe they take a run at Lindor and slide Torres back to 2B. Who knows?
Are the proposed contracts what you think the Yankees will offer versus what other teams would offer?
I certainly hope you aren’t implying that the Yankees realistically ‘could’ lock some of these players up on those contracts.
I would think that Gleyber Torres would happily sign his career away for 15 years and 455 million dollars. That’s a heck of a lot of words you put up there but I don’t think the logic is sound. Sanchez gets a premium from the Yankees in an extension?
You’re telling me LeMahieu is worth double what the Yankees would offer on the open market? But he might take a short term small money deal with them anyway? sorry but DJ LeMahieu is no Kevin Durant and baseball isn’t basketball. Kevin Durant can take those kinda deals because
A.) He is a top 5 player in the game.
B.) The top players in the NBA have significant influence over their organizations.
None of which is true for LeMahieu.
Also, you say that Judge won’t take a massive underpay from the Yankees. The numbers you posted say otherwise. If you believe he would be looking at 7/245 on the open market vs. 7/155…..That is a massive underpay. 90 million bucks or a 37% pay cut. Anyway you wanna slice that up; it’s a massive haircut.
I’m saying what I think the practical price tag would be from the Yankees’ perspective and what the market would bare if it was a free for all and teams had the chance to outbid each other and these players’ choices ultimately came down to who would pay them the most money and give them the most years. Also I think when you look at guys like Kershaw, Harper and a few others, they ‘sacrificed’ $5+M a season from what the market may have offered, in order to add guaranteed years. Unless Judge plays without any injuries for the next two seasons, assuming things go back to 162 game seasons and the players ‘only’ lose 6 months of their careers to the current global situation, I don’t see how he could justify asking for more than $25+M per season to be part time player and an IL mainstay.
Theoretically if Judge stayed healthy he would hit 60 HR’s over about 160 games and be worth $45M a season. But I think he’s a guy who will average around 100 games a season. That valuates him at $28.125M AAV if he was in fact worth $45M completely healthy. Now, what if he becomes one of those players making $30M a year to not play? The Yankees don’t want that, clearly, given the Ellsbury situation and I doubt Judge has the hubris to ask for a maximum valued deal as a player that can’t provide maximum value over a typical season. Also keep in mind this includes 2 more arbitration seasons in which he won’t be paid market value. If Judge was a FA tomorrow and we assume he can heal and return and be as effective as he has been at full health, I suppose I could see the Yankees or any other club with him as a home grown all star, give him an 8 year/$280M deal tomorrow. But I think everybody in baseball and Judge himself knows that’s not a safe bet at this point. So my logic met the situation in the middle. Extend him, make him very wealthy, but save some money year to year to account for the fair assumption of injuries removing Judge from the equation for large chunks of a given year.
As for Sanchez and LeMahieu: What would you pay Sanchez? He’s already gonna make $5M his first year of arbitration. It seems like he’s established a pattern of health and productivity you can rely on- that he will lose 40-80 games a season but he will be an all star when he is on the field.
DJL: How much would you pay him? I just can’t see a team shelling out $30M+ a season to a guy on the wrong side of 30 who might be peaking with so much line up protection in a park friendly to his swing. I would be shocked to see him paid more than $25M a season and to get more than two seasons. What do you think he could or will command in free agency a year from now?
dynamite drop in monty
I’m sorry could you repeat that.
Great response buddy! Although I hate to say this, but… I see one of Judge, Sanchez or Torres walking due to a monster payday. I’d see Sanchez MAYBE sticking around… Torres dove in head first with one of the greatest teams to date and the most pressurized media city and he rocked it since he was traded to NYY. His value will be astronomical due to that fact on top of his results. Judge may stay only due to his injury concerns unless someone wants to full time DH him. And now that the NL will be introducing the DH rule soon, all teams will have a stake in his bidding. The Yanks were smart to lock up extensions with a few guys… buttttt, they all ended up on the shelf. Inking Judge now would be the right move while his stock is down. Extending Torres would be VERY smart and Sanchez?…. Well, extending him a couple years wouldn’t be stupid.
Guerrero Jr is the next Mookie
Well if you can disregard that he plays 3B, isn’t that good defensively, and doesn’t have great speed, I guess he can be the next Mookie.
His defense will get better similar to Marcus Semien and he will steal around 10 bags a year if he looses a little wright and gets the go ahead. He may be better offensively than Mookie.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. is the next right handed Prince Fielder***
Good call: Marcus Semien, another player that Vlad is nothing like. Well, both have 3 syllable last names. So that’s something.
He’s a work in progress and there is absolutely room for improvement given his age and talent.
Not even a reasonable comparison
I can’t think of 3 guys the Rays should consider exploring extensions with less than Hunter Renfroe, Joey Wendle, and Manuel Margot.
All 3 of those guys have a nonzero chance of being nontendered next winter.
May I suggest Brendan McKay as a much better candidate?
Judging by the Shapiro rhetoric referring to market value, solutions and other go-to buzz words during interviews, going to predict none of them get an extension. I’m probably wrong, but judging by the dynamics of the team I believe they will opt for free agent help to surround them in the coming years, possibly.
As for Giles, he likes Toronto. But another stellar year will boost his salary and that will probably force him to look elsewhere. People believed Giles would be traded in the off-season. Given the short history of the Atkins-Shapiro era I didn’t believe he would. Now it’s about getting the most out of him for another year and deal him at the deadline. Jays need another season to shake things out and evaluate the needs for the team. 2021 is the move to playoff contention.
You may not like Shapiro’s buzz words he uses, but he has done extensions previously when he was with Cleveland, such as Cory Kluber and Jason Kipnis. So it’s not impossible that he won’t extend at least one.
Big difference between Cleveland and Toronto; Cleveland didn’t spend, Toronto can and might. That means surrounding the nucleus by spending elsewhere. It would help if the younger guys continue to make pre-arbitration dollars.
Shapiro also wanted to lock up Masterson after the 2013 season. That would have been a disaster.
I can’t be the only person that thinks Benintendi isn’t worth a long, expensive extension? Especially to the “cash strapped” red sox of today? Unless that long awaited breakout finally happens?
Thank you. Being 25 years old and looking like Mark Wahlberg doesn’t mean that he will suddenly start hitting. It’s been 4 years and we’re still waiting, The only thing that’s happened in that 4 years is that he’s no longer playable in CF and he stopped stealing bases. It would behoove him to hit .330 or swat 30 over the fence like he was allegedly going to do a couple years ago.
He’s under control through ’22. No urgency on the Sox part, as they have 3 affordable seasons to hope for his break out.
What a jerk, not becoming one of the best LF’s in the game by 24
PS: he’s always been bad in CF.
Ontario – lol funny. Yes Benintendi is only 24, affordable, and better than average. Agree, not every Red Sox player has to be an all star every year.
Playing in the same outfield with Mookie for the entirety of his career certainly doesn’t help either, expectation-wise.
I’m a rookie to this App forum and God you all are a bunch of trolls. Lol. One dude’s commentary is longer than the article. And then he goes off a second time! Single, I assume. But not like a base hit.
Following my Jays I see they think C Danny Jansen is an extension candidate. Is that because he’s the best option? Or because the other guy got busted for getting a hummer in his car parked outside the Walgreens in the middle of the afternoon? It can kill your career unless you’re Dave Stewart or someone special.
Um….first, let me say as a fellow Jays fan, hello.
Second, I don’t think Reese testing the lumber will have anything to do with a possible extension.
Third, I believe the Dave Stewart reference was meant for the other ex-Jay named Dave, David Cone.
I forgot about David Cone, but touche’. As for Dave Stewart, he was caught engaging in some type of lewd act with a “transgendered person” while with the Rangers. Before his career as an Athletic took off. I think it was pre-splitter Dave Stewart.
So when all the “trade Mookie talk started i thought it was a lot of hot air . As it picked up steam i thought to myself( avid quietly) If i could have Mookie or Benny,,Devers and X-man for roughly same dollars through extensions(like they did with Petey/Youk) What would i take??? Here’s hoping the Red sox possibly have the same thought??? As for Benny let’s give him a break, Ted-Yaz-jim-ed Are lofty expectations but say he’s next coming of “Gator” with a much better glove, I for one would take that over and over……..