AL Extension Candidates 2/2
Updated: Aug 17, 2022
During the season, teams and fans get hot and bothered off of early hype, and we hear the word EXTENSION get thrown around A LOT. So, I figured, why not look into an extension candidate from every team that I think should get a deal done to keep them around long-term so fans can go and buy a jersey? But please, don't go and buy a jersey based on my predictions.
Tigers: OF Austin Meadows(27)- Arb years' 23-'24, Free Agent 2025
Something that likely would not have happened if he didn't get traded from the Rays to the Tigers was a long-term extension. However, he is with the Tigers now, and with the Miggy, a FA comes 2024. The Tigers have a young lineup, one of the highest-upside rotations in baseball. Meadows will anchor this lineup along with Javy Baez post-Miggy. I am giving Meadows a 6 yr, $108MM contract, which gives him about $18MM AAV.
Royals: SP Brad Keller(26)- Arb years '23, Free Agent 2024
The Royals have a lot of talent that is just starting to hit in Bobby Whit Jr. The pitching is still a season or two off, so Keller is right where he needs to be to cash in on the extra money floating around. Keller is a solid pitcher for the Royals; hoping he takes the step into the Ace role come 2023, and I think he can and will. I am giving Keller a 7yr, $105MM deal, which will pay him about $15MM AAV.
Yankees: OF Aaron Judge(30), Free Agent 2023
Okay, so we saw Judge take the bet on himself at age 30. The extension he turned down was worth $230.5MM over the next 8yrs. That was probably, and will be, the dumbest move of his career for a player with health struggles and staying healthy and consistent when slightly injured. He turned down a deal that was worth $28.75MM AAV.
At most, I will give Judge a Springer deal, 5yr, $150MM. While Springer, I think, personally does more for the Jays than Judge gives to the Yankees or the next team.
For the next two, keep this in mind: Tatis Jr got 14yr at about $25MM AAV and Franco for 11yr at about $17MM AAV
Red Sox: 3B Rafael Devers(25), Arb years 2023, Free Agent 2024
Devers is a very consistent, reliable player thus far in the young 3B career. He has two top 12 MVP seasons. He and the Red Sox were far off in extension talks as now teammate Trevor Story got a deal worth $23MM AAV. I am only guessing that the Red Sox offered around $23-27MM AAV. Also, Devers is one of the few players, who could be in the 3K hit club as his current avg is 177, and at that pace would take him 13.57 more seasons, or until he is age 38.
I am going to cash out for Devers at 12yrs- so age 37 and pay him
$310MM, which pays him around $26MM AAV, which I think he can make more than worth it long-term as opposed to Tatis Jr.
Blue Jays: 1B Vlad Guerrero Jr.(23), Arb years' 23-'25, Free Agent 2026
Now name-value carries weight, and no one in the MLB has more than Vlad jr. As I'll refer to VJ if he plays until he is 40, is productive, and stays on the pace after 2021, he could be the next member of the 500HR and 3K hit club. It's possible as he would need 185H and 25HR a year to reach that from his current numbers, playing until age 40.
I will cash out here and give VJ a 15yr, $450MM deal. Which averages out to $30MM a year, but I would throw in incentives, no-trade clauses, and all that fun stuff. If I am the Blue Jays' this kid isn't leaving Toronto unless we relocate.
Orioles: OF Cedric Mullins(27), Arb years' 23-'25, Free Agent 2026
A fresh face, off a hot season, lands him on my list of extensions. I think Mullins will get a deal to keep him around, and the O's will let Mancini walk or trade him this season or after. I mean, even the Guardians have an extension out. I will only give Mullins a 5yr, $80MM deal because it's the O's, giving him a friendly $16MM AAV.
Rays: SP Shane McClanahan(24), Arb years' 24-27, Free Agent 2028
I think the Rays won't extend McClanahan as he is young and isn't a free agent for seven seasons, which takes him through age 31. But since the breakout is on for Shane McC. I think the Rays could but those years out and pay him.
So let's take a look at another member of the Rays they should extend, and that's 1B Ji-Man Choi, an absolute fan favorite, energy, and light in the clubhouse that should come relatively cheap for them to keep around. I want Choi, a Free Agent, come 2024 for 4yrs, $50MM, which pays him about $12.5MM AAV.
I promised you two unique bonus players; the AL will have immense free agent talent from Jose Abreu, Nathan Eovaldi, and Adam Frazier. However, two guys are loved by their fanbases are two great stories of perseverance.
OF Mitch Haniger, the 6yr vet is playing in his 31 seasons and put up career numbers after missing the majority of 2019, all of 2020 to the core, and testicular injuries. Haniger proved us all wrong and proved he was back to his 2017 All-Star and top-20 MVP form. Haniger is loved by Seattle Mariner fans and by the franchise itself. Haniger brings a unique energy and combo of power and clutch hitting and is a great player. The Mariners have a problem: they have OF Jesse Winker, who was traded for and is controllable through 2023; they have the young trio of former AL RoY Kyle Lewis, who is battling back from injuries, 2nd year OF Jared Kelenic, and top prospect rookie OF Julio Rodriguez. Suppose you counted FIVE players to play between 3 OF spots and DH, a total of 4 spots. Sadly, 1B isn't open with breakout Ty France who has played Gold Glove defense, is 27yo, and is under team control through 2025. I doubt the M's want to lose a solid top-of-the-order bat and solid defense at 2B in Adam Frazier, a free agent. SS is filled, and Suarez and Toro fill 3B until at least 2024.
I would keep Haniger around to DH and let a guy like Kyle Lewis spell the OF, give days off, play off the bench, and rotate them. I would give Hani a 4yr, $60-70MM deal.
OF/1B Trey Mancini, the man who learned on March 8, 2020, that he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor. Trey's operation occurred four days later, on March 12, when Major League Baseball shut down Spring Training due to the coronavirus pandemic. The diagnosis came six days after that, on March 18, his 28th birthday: Stage 3 colon cancer, necessary chemotherapy, and of course, no baseball. Mancini returned to the field five months cancer-free on opening day 2021, which marked the end of a year-long cancer battle. Mancini is now playing his age 30 seasons with the Orioles, who are in a complete rebuild and playing not to lose 100 games. The likeliest outcome for the slugging OF is that he gets traded during the season or decides not to take the mutual option at the end of the 2022 season.
If I were the O's, I would love to extend Mancini. However, the age doesn't help me view him as a building block on a team starting at last place in the AL East for the foreseeable future. The O's need to do the classy thing and trade Mancini to a contender like the Braves, Blue Jays, Mets, Angels, Brewers, Cardinals, Giants, or even the Twins to let him win now, capitalize on his health and get a 3-5 year with $15-20MM AAV.
--UPDATE he was traded to the Astros
HAPPY Friday; stay tuned for part 1 of two for our NL Extension candidates next week.