Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Extension Season

The last couple of weeks have entailed nothing short of pure madness, and I'm not talking about the College Basketball tournament. An unprecedented number of contract extensions have been signed throughout the MLB, totaling well over $1 billion dollars in guaranteed money.

Although the major spike in contract extensions began roughly a week ago, the first significant deal took place back in November when Clayton Kershaw signed an extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Since then, around a dozen notable players have signed contract extensions, including Kyle Hendricks and Jacob DeGrom who agreed to deals earlier today. This post isn't designed to address the pros and cons of extensions in general, but I still believe that signing a contract extension is typically a better option than signing with a brand new team.

Undoubtedly, the most surprising and notable contract extension of the offseason was Mike Trout's historic 12-year deal with the Angels, worth $426 million dollars. 

I'm not saying that he's destined to perform better than Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, but Trout's contract will set him up for success more so than the other two and their massive deals.

Today, I'll be doing a quick recap of the most striking contract extensions from this year's MLB offseason. Not only will I (briefly) mention the years and the dollars, but I'll also predict whether these deals will help or hinder both the team and the players who agreed to the following extensions.

Player; Eloy Jimenez
Contract; 6 years $43 million
Despite never having played a game in the major leagues, the White Sox extended top prospect Eloy Jimenez on a 6-year, $43 million dollar deal. This will keep the #3 prospect in Baseball in Chicago through the 2026 season when he'll be earning upwards of $18 million dollars in that year alone.

If I were the White Sox, I'd spend my money extending Jose Abreu instead, for he's going to be a free agent after this season. Since Jimenez hasn't played in the majors yet, there's no guarantee that he'll make it. If he doesn't pan out the way Chicago wants him to, the White Sox are going to be in big trouble.

Player; Kyle Hendricks
Contract; 4 years, $55.5 million
Since his debut back in 2014, Hendricks has established himself as a reliable starter as well as a Cy Young award candidate back in 2016. Now, at the age of 29, Hendricks gets to remain a Chicago Cub while getting the contract he deserves.

Hendricks will be earning roughly $14 million dollars per year which is reasonable considering that he's a consistent performer. His 3.07 ERA and just 2 walks per 9 innings prove that the Cubs made the right choice by extending a key member of their rotation on a low-risk contract with the possibility of a high reward. 

Player; Justin Verlander
Contract; 2 years $66 million
Verlander's 2-year $66 million dollar extension plays it safe when it comes to years, but it promises the 36-year old a record amount of money. At the same time, there's not much doubt in my mind that Verlander has earned every last penny.

The 2011 AL Cy Young and MVP award winner has reinvented himself since joining the Houston Astros in 2017. His 2.32 ERA since becoming a member of the Astros says it all; Verlander is pitching better than he has in years while being 7 years older than the average member of his team.

He may begin to regress a little bit over the next 2 seasons, but his possible decline shouldn't be anything too major that'll cause his extension to seem like a mistake. 

Player; Clayton Kershaw
Contract; 3 years $93 million
Clayton Kershaw is undeniably the greatest pitcher of this generation and has been for a number of years. That's part of the reason why it's practical for the 31-year old to continue playing in Los Angeles for another few seasons.

He's been susceptible to injuries over the course of his career, so Kershaw signing a deal for only 3 years is understandable. My only hope is that he stays healthy over the next few seasons and merits another contract extensions once this one expires. As a whole, however, this deal is wise for both sides involved.

Player; Blake Snell
Contract; 5 years $50 million
For the Rays, extending the reigning AL Cy Young award winner was a top priority going into the offseason. The fact that they'll be paying him just $10 million per year proves how badly Snell wanted to return to Tampa Bay, for he could've definitely gotten more once he hits free agency.

Yet, at the same time, the $50 million for 5 years is reasonable given that he's only had 1 phenomenal season. If Snell can continue his dominant ways for years to come, a larger extension may be in store for the 26-year old. 

Player; Alex Bregman
Contract; 6 years $100 million
Just like Blake Snell, Astros 3rd baseman Alex Bregman is coming off a breakout season in which he finished 5th in the AL MVP race, though he arguably should've been higher. Still, the 24-year old made a wise decision by cashing in and signing a $100 million dollar extension with the Astros.

Unlike some of the previous extensions, I can't say that I'm worried about Bregman's deal. He's incredibly young, yet he's proven to be a consistent hitter (.284 AVG in 2017, .286 in 2018). Not only that, but he's playing for one of the best teams in Baseball and has a ton of talented players around him that want to see him succeed. 

Player; Paul Goldschmidt
Contract; 5 years $130 million
I must admit; I'm more skeptical of this contract extension than any of the others. It's a sensible deal for the Cardinals who gave up a lot to acquire Goldschmidt from the Diamondbacks in the first place. However, it's incredibly risky to commit to St. Louis for 5 years when Goldschmidt's never played a game for the Cardinals before.

He may have consistency going for him, but only time will tell if the 31-year old made the right decision in signing this extension with the Cardinals. Granted, he's cashing in on roughly $26 million dollars per year, but he can't know for certain if he'll like St. Louis until he officially starts playing for the Cardinals.

Player; Nolan Arenado
Contract; 8 years $260 million
One of the top 10 best players in all of Baseball, Rockies 3rd baseman Nolan Arenado has a lot going for him. He's only 27, his defense is superb, and he can hit for power and contact. Clearly, the Rockies saw his potential when they signed him to a massive extension from which he'll earn around $32 million dollars a year.

While 8 years is undoubtedly a long time, Arenado has proven his consistency over the last few seasons. Taking this extension into account, he's bound to take home an MVP award as he spends almost an entire additional decade in Colorado.

Player; Jacob DeGrom
Contract; 5 years $137 million
I certainly wasn't shocked earlier today when news broke that DeGrom had signed a 5-year $137 million dollar extension with the Mets. After putting up unfathomable stats in 2018, DeGrom should be the #1 priority for New York, and it's great to see them treating him as such.

Although the 30-year old has had minor struggles when it comes to injuries, DeGrom's career 2.67 ERA speaks for itself. Even if he only performs half as well as he did in 2018 over the 5 years, this extension will have been a success.

Player; Chris Sale
Contract; 5 years $145 million
Red Sox owner John Henry (finally) admitted that ownership dropped the ball when Jon Lester entered free agency in the prime of his career a few years ago. Thankfully, the Red Sox made certain that the same thing would not happen to superstar pitcher Chris Sale. 

Obviously, I'm ecstatic about the deal, and I've been anticipating the right time to talk about it. Chris Sale will turn 30 in just a few days and is primed for a Cy Young award at some point soon. He's put up stellar numbers since joining the Red Sox in 2017, and I don't see why this extension would change anything.

Player; Mike Trout
Contract; 12 years $430 million
Let me make this very clear; Mike Trout is worth every penny of his 12-year $430 million dollar extension, the largest contract in North American sports history. In addition to being extraordinarily humble, he's on pace to be one of the greatest hitters this game has ever seen. It would've been foolish for the Angels to let him go.

So what, he probably won't win a ring in Los Angeles. Do you think a 2-time AL MVP award winner and a 4-time runner-up cares? He's only 27 years old, yet he's already established himself as a future Hall of Famer. The consistent stat lines along with power, speed, defense, and sheer hitting have helped to establish Trout as Baseball's best player for many years now.

Thankfully, he was able to receive his well-deserved extension.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see how the Trout story pans out. The guy is a surefire hall of famer, but he has the opportunity to be a once in a generation type of player.