Missing the $1.8 Billion Forest for the $600 Million Trees

  • 3B/SS Manny Machado, who on Feb. 21 signed a 10-year/$300 million deal with the San Diego Padres
  • OF Bryce Harper, who eight long days later inked a 13-year/$330M pact with the Philadelphia Phillies

Forest vs. Trees

  • OF Mike Trout, already a Hall of Fame lock at age 27, eclipsed Harper’s record contract by a cool $96.5M, signing for 12 years/$426.5M just last week
  • 3B Nolan Arenado became a lifetime Rockie this winter with the sixth biggest contract of all time, at 8 years/$260M
  • LHP Chris Sale extended his stay with the Red Sox (5 years/$145M)
  • RHP and NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom agreed this week to stick around Flushing with the Mets (5 years/$137.5M)
  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt decided to hang with St. Louis following Arizona’s decision to trade him last year (5 years/$130M)
  • 3B Alex Bregman sealed his first big contract by extending with the Astros (5 years/$100M)
  • LHP Clayton Kershaw continued his career-long track with the Dodgers (3 years/$93M)

16 vs. 6

  • LHP and AL Cy Young Winner Blake Snell’s 5-year/$50M extension with the Rays
  • RHP Kyle Hendricks’ 4-year/$55.5M deal to stay with the Cubs
  • OF Eloy Jimenez’s 6-year/$43M deal with the other Chicago team (a record for a player who has yet to reach MLB)
  • RHP Miles Mikolas’ 4-year/$68M with the Cards
  • Two Yankees deals: OF Aaron Hicks (7 years/$70M) and ace RHP Luis Severino (4 years/$40M)
  • Top Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (4 years/$45M)
  • Cleveland RHP Carlos Carrasco (4 years/$47M)

Why Care?

  1. The contract extension boom puts to rest some of the concerns that team owners are colluding to keep the growth in player contracts down; those concerns have led to rumors an MLB strike may happen in 2021. Don’t want a strike? Pray for more big contracts that put off player concerns.
  2. The money pouring in to players’ bank accounts through extensions — and the difficulties superstars Harper and Machado faced getting their $300M contracts this winter — may lead top pending free agents to take a serious look at extending with their current teams rather than testing the market. This list includes Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox SS), Gerrit Cole (Astros RHP), Anthony Rendon (Nats 3B), and Zack Wheeler (Mets RHP).
  3. Sports media — from the ESPNs of the world to blogs like MLB Trade Rumors and Fangraphs — should consider investing more time and resources into covering extension talks. It feels like fans become privy to extension news only hours or days before they happen, as opposed to the free agent drama that can last months. No fault on reporters, who work their butts off, but a vigorous focus on extensions could leave MLB fans more informed.

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Writing about policy, politics, baseball, and more. Born/raised in CT. Proud D.C. resident. Raisin Bran Crunch enthusiast. Always tired.

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Andrew Lautz

Andrew Lautz

Writing about policy, politics, baseball, and more. Born/raised in CT. Proud D.C. resident. Raisin Bran Crunch enthusiast. Always tired.

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