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Thursday, January 21, 2021

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Extension Season

With 2018 NL ROY Ronald Acuna Jr (now Randal Grichuk and German Marquez) being the most recent to sign a lengthy contract early in 2019, I thought I would dive into extension season and free agency.

As we entered 2019 with a standstill in the free agent market, we’ve unfortunately seen a downtick during the free agency period over the last two years with a lot of players voicing their opinions, most openly Justin Verlander, who has shown his dismay over the “broken free-agency system”

The face-off on who would sign first between Manny Machado and Bryce Harper finally came to and end on February 19th, when the 4-time all-star Machado signed a short lived record deal of 10 years $300 million with the San Diego Padres. Which was then followed up on February 28th by Harper signing a monster deal of 13 years $330 million with Philidelphia, with no opt outs.

But not to be overlooked, there have been a multitude of major extensions that started off with a pair of aces signing for nearly identical contracts:

  • Aaron Nola – 4 years – $45 million
  • Luis Severino – 4 years – $40 million

The extension market has been alive and well in 2019 with another 24 extensions as of April 2nd and it’s clear that many players may take the extension route after seeing how the free agency markets have concluded the last two seasons, mainly with many teams not electing to pursue top free agents, up until today there have been 16 contracts extended beyond 5 years, with the majority being big names:

  • Mike Trout – 12 years – $430 million
  • Nolan Arenado – 8 years – $260 million
  • Ronald Acuna Jr – 8 years – $100 million
  • Eloy Jimenez – 6 years – $43 million
  • Xander Bogaerts – 6 years – $120 million
  • Blake Snell – 5 years – $50 million
  • Alex Bregman – 5 years – $100 million
  • Jacob deGrom – 5 years – $137.5 million
  • Paul Goldschmidt – 5 years – $130 million
  • Chris Sale – 5 years – $145 million

Is this going to be the trend going forward, with many top end players electing to take extensions over testing the market, does this change how the mid-level player makes their decision? Will they choose to follow suit and sign an extension or with free agency not having those top players will they try to take advantage of the possible pool of available players?

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