The Marlins and right-hander Sandy Alcantara have exchanged offers about a possible contract extension, Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports. The latest salvo appears to have come from Alcantara’s representatives at CAA Baseball, who “recently” presented a counter to an earlier Marlins offer.
Sherman reported the item within a larger piece suggesting the the Marlins should actually considering trading Alcantara if they are “overwhelmed” by an offer of young position players, to bolster the team’s overall balance considering that Miami already has several younger arms both on the MLB roster and in the farm system. That said, the extension negotiations are likely not connected to Alcantara’s availability at the trade deadline, given that past reports have suggested the Marlins aren’t interested in moving any of their young, controllable starting pitchers — namely, the trio of Alcantara, Trevor Rogers, and Pablo Lopez.
Alcantara doesn’t reach arbitration eligibility until this winter, so he isn’t eligible for free agency under after the 2024 season. There is therefore no real rush to hammer out a deal immediately, though an extension obviously offers some natural appeal to both sides.
An extension would give Alcantara the first major payday of his professional career. Since he doesn’t turn 26 until September, an extension of even two seasons beyond Miami’s current control would allow him to test free agency heading into his age-31 season, when he could still be at the back edge of his prime. For the Marlins, locking up a talented young pitcher and gaining cost certainty over his arb years could prove to be a bargain, and the team could count on Alcantara as a cornerstone piece as Miami looks to get back into contention.
There would also some symbolism attached to a deal, as the Marlins have yet to hand out a major extension since Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter took over the franchise in late 2017. Miguel Rojas’ two-year, $10.25MM deal in September 2019 represents the only extension of any kind in the Sherman/Jeter era, and it’s fair to say that contract was more about rewarding a team leader than it was looking to the future, not that Rojas hasn’t more than lived up to his end of the deal (and could even be a candidate for another extension). Perhaps even beyond last season’s surprise run to a berth in the expanded playoff field, locking up Alcantara or another young building block would announce to the baseball world that Sherman, Jeter, and general manager Kim Ng are done with rebuilding.
Since the start of the 2019 campaign, Alcantara has a 3.56 ERA, 19.6% strikeout rate, 8.8% walk rate, and 48.4% grounder rate over 359 innings. That is the 17th-highest innings total of any pitcher in that span, and Alcantara’s only injury absence was missing most of August 2020 amidst the Marlins’ COVID outbreak.
This season has seen Alcantara make the changeup a much bigger part of his arsenal, so while he is throwing his sinker (his signature pitch) and his four-seam fastball less often, he has been able to increase his average fastball velocity up to 97.7mph. Alcantara often approached the 100mph threshold as a prospect in the Cardinals’ farm system, though he has only slowly increased his velo over his three full seasons as a big league starter.