Valuing Potential MLB Extension Candidates

usatsi_9498306_160074578_lowresWith a not-so-wonderful list of free agents set to hit the market this offseason, many MLB teams may turn to taking care of their own. We’ve identified a few players with option years left who could be top candidates for a contract extension this winter, including our current calculated market value for each.

Jake Arrieta (SP, CHC)

5 years, $140.9M ($28.1M AAV)
After insane numbers in 2015, Arrieta took a bit of a step back down to earth this past season, posting a 3.10 ERA, 190 strikeouts and a marvelous 18-8 record in Chicago. He’s set to enter his final year of arbitration in 2017, so an extension is certainly worthy, but the Cubs may not be prepared to dish out the kind of money his stats are begging for. The 30-year-old is currently valuing at a whopping $28.1M per year.


Carlos Martinez (SP, STL)

5 years, $91.7M ($18.3M AAV)
The 25-year-old has posted back to back strong seasons for the Cardinals, averaging 30 starts, 15 wins, a 3.02 ERA and 180 strikeouts. He’s eligible for his first round of arbitration this offseason, but it’s been rumored that the two sides are interested in a more long-term contract. His recent production resembles that of King Felix Hernandez’ pre-extension success, driving his current market value up to $18.3M per year.


Chris Tillman (SP, BAL)

5 years, $61.5M ($12.3M AAV)
Tillman has been a solid, consistent starter for the Orioles over the past 4 years, and just completed arguably his best season of all in 2016. The 28-year-old posted a 3.77 ERA, 140 strikeouts, and a 16-6 record in Baltimore this year, and he heads toward his final year of arbitration in 2017. Currently his projected market value comes in just north of $12M per year, so a 5 year deal in the $60M range could be in his future. View the complete projection


Josh Tomlin (SP, CLE)

3 years $39M ($13M AAV)
Tomlin saw limited starts across his first 6 MLB seasons, but was thrust into the Tribe’s rotation in 2016 and flourished. He finished the season with 13 wins, 118 strikeouts, and a 1.1 WHIP in 174 innings. He’s currently slated to make $2.5M in 2017, with a $3M club option for 2018, so Cleveland has control here. At 31 he’s a bit of a risk long-term, but his currently projected 3 year, $38M extension would be a nice raise. View the complete projection


Eric Hosmer (1B, KC)

7 years, $134.6M ($19.2M AAV)
The Royals All-Star and Gold Glove winning 1st basemen has made a name for himself over the past few seasons with timely, consistent hitting. The 26-year old is heading toward his final year of arbitration in 2017, and his past 2-year average of 28 doubles, 22 homers, 98 RBIs, and a .792 OPS have him valuing close to $19M per year currently.


Nolan Arenado (3B, COL)

8 years, $144.3M ($18M AAV)
There haven’t been many players better both offensively and defensively over the past few seasons than Arenado, and his past 2 seasons are evidence. The 25-year-old is averaging 40 doubles, 42 homers, 132 RBIs, and a .291 batting average since 2015. He’s been a gold-glover every year of his career, and an All-Star the past two seasons. Heading toward his 2nd year of arbitration, Arenado is currently projecting to an 8 year, $144M extension ($18M AAV).


Manny Machado (3B, BAL)

8 years, $134M ($16.7M AAV)
While he’s just a bit below the production level of Nolan Arenado (above), Machado has been as-advertised since joining the Orioles in 2012. Over his past two seasons he’s averaged 35 doubles, 36 homers, 91 RBIs and a .290 average to go along with gold gloves and All-Star selections. The 24-year old is set to enter year 2 of arbitration in 2017, and is projecting toward an 8 year, $134M contract extension ($16.7M AAV) currently.


Bryce Harper (OF, WAS)

10 years, $261.8M ($26.1M AAV)
Injuries and a rare mid-season slump brought Harper’s numbers down to earth a bit from the MVP season he put together in 2015, but there’s no doubt the time to cash in an absurd amount of money is looming. His 24 double, 24 homer, .243 average season was nearly half the production he posted in 2015, dropping his market value from north of $30M per year down to a slim $26.1M. Logic says he’ll still be pushing the $300M mark when it’s all said and done. Harper still has two years of arbitration options ahead of him should Washington choose to wait. View the complete projection


Danny Duffy (SP, KC)

6 years, $105.7M ($17.6M AAV)
Duffy had a breakout year in 2016, posting a 12-3 record with 188 strikeouts and a 3.51 ERA. His $17.6M current market value ranks 18th among active starting pitchers. View the complete projection


Clay Buchholz (SP, BOS)

3 years, $42M ($14M AAV)
He hasn’t come close to recreating his outstanding 2013 campaign, but he’s been a formidable starter in Boston. The Red Sox exercised his $13.5M option for 2017, which appears right inline with his current market value. Marco Estrada’s 2 year $26M deal with the Blue Jays appears like a good comparison. View the complete projection


Todd Frazier (3B, OAK)

4 years $60.5M ($15.1M AAV)
Frazier has hit 64 doubles, 75 home runs, and 187 RBIs over the past 2 seasons and is set to reel in a modest $7.5M in 2017. The 30-year-old is projected to double that annually from there out. View the complete projection


Carlos Santana (DH, CLE)

5 years, $93.6M ($18.7M AAV)
Santana split time leading off and in the heart of the lineup for the runner-up Indians in 2016, but it translated to 31 doubles, 34 home runs, 87 RBIs, and an .864 OPS. He’s had back-to-back-to-back strong seasons in Cleveland, who exercised his $12M option for the 2017 season. His pay day is coming. View the full projection

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Category: MLB Free AgencyMLB Spots


Article by: Michael Ginnitti

Managing Editor of Spotrac