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NL Extension Candidates

This week, we take one player from each team due for an extension from the NL. 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 jump into the NL; some players may look familiar, as I have mentioned in recent posts.

Chisholm celebrates his home runs with his signature Euro step as he approaches home plate. Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Miami Marlins: Landing MLB the Show Cover, and headlines around him moving from 2B to CF while the move looks Dee Strange-Gorden esque, Jazz Chisholm is lightyears ahead talent-wise. Jazz is 25, quickly has 20/20 potential, and can easily be an All-Star with a .850+OPS. Jazz has yet to reach Arb-yet. However, that doesn't matter as Kim Ng has shown a willingness as GM to make moves and lock down her best players long-term. If Jazz shows out in CF defensively, and continues to hit for power, a high OPS and a long-term extension could be on the horizon.

Atlanta Braves: I don't think the Braves truly have anyone left to extend. Olson, Murphy, Acuna, Michael Harris II, Strider, Albies, and Riley have each earned theirs already. Dansby Swanson is now in Chicago, and Vaughn Grissom is now locked into SS for the Braves. With a strong showing from Grissom, an extension could be on the table.

New York Mets: EXTEND PETE ALONSO! Coming off an 8th-place finish in the MVP vote in 2022, another step forward is coming after a 40HR/131RBI season. Pete wants the payday, Pete needs the payday, and a top-3 finish in the MVP will get him there.

Philadelphia Phillies: Aaron Nola is 30 and playing in the final year of his 5yr/56.75MM contract he signed ahead of the 2019 season. With Nola and Wheeler being co-aces of the World Series Phillies team, Nola is truly dominant when he is on and still great when he isn't. Strasburg got 7yr/$245 at this age and stage of his career, and JV and Scherzer are getting nearly $40MM a year, and Nola is just as good if not better.

Washington (D.C.) Nationals: One of the few teams that are so young, rebuilding, and have loads of talent, much like the Royals, Tigers, and A's, among others. The team just extended C Keibert Ruiz on 8yr/$50MM to be the cornerstone of the rebuild. Luis Garcia, CJ Abrams, Jeter Downs, Jeremy De La Rosa, Josiah Gray, and MacKenzie Gore lead this talent wave for the Nationals.

Feb 27, 2023; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Ian Happ (8) flies out in the first / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs: Coming off his first All-Star game at age 27 and into a contract year. Ian Happ looks primed to build off his All-star game and the gold glove he earned in 2022. Happ posted a career-best 4.4WAR, nearly triple that of his 1.6WAR from 2021. When Happ plays in at least 142G on a season, he posts no lower than a .757OPS. The contract should look similar to the 5yr/$ 75MM Andrew Benintendi got from the White Sox and could be close to the 5yr/$ 100MM Nick Castellanos got from the Phillies.

Cincinnati Reds: The Reds are rebuilding, and Jonathan India is the centerpiece where Noelvi Marti, Elly De La Cruz, Spencer Steer, Michael Siani, Will Benson, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Brandon Williamson are among the names who are likely to be worth noting in 2023. I need a clear target for an extension, with Red outside India and Greene being the likeliest centerpieces the team builds around. Alexis Diaz, the young brother of Edwin Diaz, also posted a great year in his first at the back of the Reds pen, posting a 3.1WAR, 10S, 1.84ERA/3.32FIP, 83K-33BB and a 5th place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Milwaukee Brewers: After the trade of Hader to the Padres last season, the Brewers were left with Devin Willams to anchor the back end of the pen, which he does with ease. Williams added to his career accolades with his All-star appearance in 2022, which hangs next to the Rookie of the Year award he earned in 2020. Williams is easily in a position for a high raise from the $3.35MM he earns during the 2023 season with a strong showing.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Bryan Reynolds is the man you think would get the extension. However, according to reports, the two sides are more than $50MM apart in contract talks. The 28yo Reynolds has now posted a .880OPS(2019), .912OPS(2021), and a .807OPS(2022) and has been consistent, to say the least, at the plate and playing a solid OF. At 28, they trade or ride out the final two years of arbitration and let him walk in 2026—the likelier candidate for an extension in O'Niel Cruz.

St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals have an excellent team around Goldy, Arenado, and Contreras as they look to win the NL Central again in this franchise's post-Pujols/Yadi era. Jordan Montgomery and Tyler O'Neil, with solid showings in 2023, could find themselves sticking around long-term with the Red Birds. Another player, a high-end bullpen piece in Ryan Helsley, is coming off another solid season in the Cards pen earning an All-Star nod and a 12th-place finish in the Cy Young. He posted a 1.25ERA/2.34FIP, 19SV, 94K-20BB in only 64.2IP. Going into his age 28 season, Helsley could have a significant payday compared to his $2.15MM salary currently set to earn.