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AL Extention Candidates

This week, we take one player from each team due for an extension from the AL. Each team has guys who have overperformed in their first few seasons in the MLB, and you need to play for the Braves to get the excellent pay you should based on your value. Only some teams have a player ready for an extension yet, as they could be close, but they still need to arrive. Today, we start with the AL, and next week, we will dip into the NL with some familiar names from recent posts.

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, May 2, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Chicago White Sox: After taking a massive leap forward as a pitcher, going from a 5.79ERA in his first season in 2019 to a 2.20ERA and a 2nd place Cy Young finish, and a 22-MVP finish. Dylan Cease went from a 2.9WAR(2021) to a 6.4WAR(2022). The White Sox is getting a 98.02 value from Cease on his 5.7MM contract; Cease has two years of arbitration eligibility left. With teams getting better at locking down younger stars and buying out these arb years to keep their guys around, a 5-year/$100MM contract similar to Joe Musgrove's would be in line for Cease.

Cleveland Guardians: The Guardians have few players playing above and beyond their contract value. I am in on Shane Bieber, and Triston McKenzie, both great pitchers, and Bieber would be the likely candidate as he has turned into a year-over-year contender for the Cy Young. Next, after these two is a pair on MIF, who showed signs of life, Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario, with another solid showing from Gimenez at 23, could land an early extension. Bieber enters his last year of arb eligibility and is making 10.01MM this year, another 5yr/$100+MM is on the horizon for him, and hopefully, the Guardians will make it happen and keep their ace.

Detroit Tigers: Sadly, the Tigers need a proper player due for an extension and outplayed the contract he is on. The only player who has played above his value is Tarik Skubal, which is significantly lower than Biber/Cease, as he isn't close to being in the conversation for a Cy Young, nor the ace of his own team's staff.

Kansas City Royals: Reliable, consistent, high-leverage arms are at a premium in today's game, and the Royals have one in Scott Barlow, who enters the 2023 season at 30yo, playing a 5.3MM salary and has one year of eligibility left. Now, the Royals are committed to their young talent and accumulating more talent by trading premium talent like Barlow. While Barlow won't get Edwin Diaz money, a 3yr/33MM deal would align with other relievers getting paid. Hopefully, the Royals are getting better and coming for the AL Central, and with a reliever like Barlow, they keep him in-house.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins window is closing. However, they have talent on this roster in Correa, Buxton(when healthy), and Pablo Lopez. However, at only age 25, their young closer Jhoan Duran balled out in his time with the Twins in 2022. He pitched in 67.2IP, and landed an 2.8WAR, 8S, 89K-16BB, 1.86ERA/2.52FIP. Duran won't even reach arb eligibility until 2025 and won't be a free agent until 2028 at 29/30. Give Duran a couple of seasons to build on his strong rookie year, and an extension should come by the end of 2024.

May 11, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan (18) throws / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Rays: A giant bat on the Rays, Randy Arozarena, has been and is clutch when the Rays need it. Randy is due for an internal extension from the Rays. Next, the Rays have their true ace in Shane McClanahan, who is going into year three and entering arbitration after the 2024 season. The 25yo will get an early extension if the Rays are smart has the 7th place RoY finish in 2021, followed by the 7th place Cy Young finish in 2022; I have McClanahan as a top-5 finish for the award this season. The Rays extended SS Wander Franco and are slowly giving more money to FA; why not extend Arozarena and McClanahan?

Baltimore Orioles: I cannot stress enough how valuable young, reliable, and high-end bullpen pieces are, and that's why, yes, the Orioles will extend Adley during the 2023 season, probably for a deal worth more than the Kiebert Ruiz extension. Likely 8yr/$75-100MM for Adley. Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander are also due for extension, likely in the Mitch Haniger range and not the Brandon Nimmo deals, with an AAV of $15MM. As I led off with this team, Felix Bautista had an incredible rookie debut with 15S, 2.6WAR, 2.19ERA/2.91FIP, and 88K-23BB in 65.2IP. Duran, Bautista, alongside Andres Munoz of the Mariners, will lead the wave of leverage arms.

Boston Red Sox: Well, Devers got his bag, and the Red Sox chose the youth of Devers at 26 to give him a 10yr mega extension worth over $300MM. I have my eyes on two players for the Red Sox; the first is Alex Verdugo. If he can put together consistency at the plate and go from showing flashes to constantly flashing would help Verdugo move up the pecking order for the Red Sox extension as he enters his final year of arb eligibility in 2024. The Mariners signed a young 1B with pop to a 6yr/$24MM deal with three options to max out at over $50MM, Tristan Casas of this team is open to the long-term deal, and I would expect it to look very similar to the White deal.

New York Yankees: They also paid their man Aaron Judge and extended him a massive amount of money. He is the captain now. The Yankees have players like Harrison Bader, who wants to stay in town after the trade in 2022. In addition, youngsters Oswaldo Cabrera, Anthony Volpe, and Jasson Dominguez are also on my radar.

Toronto Blue Jays: You can pick between Vlad G Jr and Bo Bichette, among others, as the Jays are milking these years to load up talent before they are forced to pay both players. Alek Manoah is another name that will push for what they paid Kikuchi, Gausman, and Berrios, who are all proving not to be as good as Manoah is showing. However, the Jays are getting nearly max value compared to the contact for closer Jordan Romano, who has been a dominant force three seasons in a row. He posted 36S, a 2.11ERA/2.82FIP, 73K-21BB in 64IP. Romano is due for a bump from the 4.54MM he earns in 2023.

Kyle Tucker and the Astros are $2.5 million apart in salary figures exchanged before arbitration deadline. Karen Warren/Staff photographer

Houston Astros: The Astros gave Yordan Alvarez a massive contract extension to keep him around to DH and now play more LF heading into 2023. However, their other corner OF, who is significantly better in my eyes, Kyle Tucker, is DUE! Coming off his age-25 season, he posted a 5.3WAR, 30HR, a .808OPS, AND a gold glove. He is three years younger and significantly more talented than Brandon Nimmo, who earned an 8yr/162MM extension. If not more, this is the contract to buy out arb years for Tucker is due.

Los Angeles Angels: If the Angels want to stay relatively competitive in the AL West with the Astros showing to have a healthy pipeline of talent, the Mariners showing a sustainable product and a competitive approach, and the Rangers have spent money to be slightly above average, the Angels are in a place where they don't want to be the 4th place team. The Angels have gotten Pujols and Upton off the books and freed up some spending budget they gave to Ohtani on a 1yr/$30MM deal to avoid arb. Ohtani needs the deal that KC Chiefs gave Mahomes, $500MM, to keep a top-3 hitter and a top-5 pitcher in the MLB around.

Oakland Athletics: The A's have a plethora of talent. JJ Bleday, Christan Pache, Lawrence Butler, Shea Langiliers, and several others will take the A's field in 2023 due to the lack of options and where the A's are. The A's are likely moving to Vegas or an Oakland waterfront venue in the next couple of years, and the move will determine when they start giving contract extensions out.

Seattle Mariners: Julio got extended, Luis Castillo got extended, Gilbert is going into yr3, Kirby into yr2, Cal Raleigh is slated for an actual entire season at the MLB level, Ty France and new arrive Teo Hernandez are at the top of the list for the Mariners with an all-star level season from both should find themselves signing extensions to stay with the Mariners. After this season, Teo is a free agent and will likely seek a Mitch Haniger contract with more AAV 3/4YR/up to $80MM.

Texas Rangers: Adolis Garcia took the Rangers by storm since his debut in 2021, earning an All-Star nod and finishing 4th in the Roy; the results were better in 2022 at age 29; he posted a .741OPS in 2021 and .756OPS in 2022. With Garcia going into his 3rd year at age 30, he isn't an actual free agent until 2027; he likely will have his entire arb years paid out as he is due, and the Rangers won't be looking to buy him out. The Rangers also have a precious bullpen asset in Brock Burke, who has outplayed his contract value in his first two seasons. In 2022 he posted a 2.1WAR, 1.97ERA/3.29FIP, 90K-24BB, 82.1IP he looks ready to step up into more leverage roles in 2023 at age 26.

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