You can add Andrelton Simmons to the list of players to sign an extension. The Braves have reached a seven-year, $58 million deal with the slick-fielding shortstop. Atlanta has had a strong offseason where extensions are concerned. They locked up Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran long-term, found some middle ground with closer Craig Kimbrel and made a deal that will keep them from having to fight with Jason Heyward in arbitration.
Earlier this week, the Reds locked up Homer Bailey with a 6-year, $105 million deal. Cincinnati is one of the smallest markets in the game and Atlanta is one of the team's that benefits the least from television money, so neither club ranks among the "haves" of the baseball world in any way. This is the model that these clubs have to use, but they don't own a patent on it. Almost every team in baseball has jumped on the early-extension bandwagon at this point.
Chances are there is a player on your favorite team that they are hoping to lock up long term. Who do think that player should be? As Simmons shows, there is potential for tremendous savings if you are bold enough to sign a guy who has just broken into the majors. As a Red Sox fan, I'd be happy to see Boston give an extension along these lines to Xander Bogaerts even though the young Aruban hasn't even seen half a season worth of plate appearances at the majors. That strategy has risk as well, of course. A guy like Simmons or Bogaerts bust and they are cost-controlled already through arbitration. On the other hand, you might want to pick a player more like Bailey. The Reds starter was on the edge of free agency and pricing himself out of the Reds rotation. Cincinnati didn't get the same discount they would have gotten if they extended a pre-arb player, but they managed to stop a key contributor from becoming too expense. As appealing as locking up Bogaerts might be, I'd rather see Boston keep Jon Lester if I had to choose just one player to extend.
If you are an Angels fan, a simple "Trout" will suffice, but otherwise, I'd love to know who you'd pick. Get creative. Maybe it's Byron Buxton, who hasn't even hit the show yet. Maybe you are willing to pay Matt Harvey a few million to recover from Tommy John surgery in exchange for a year or two of free agency. Let's hear some extension ideas!
Breakfast Links 2/21:
The lefty fills the Ryan Dempster-sized hole in the Red Sox depth charts perfectly.
The Tigers are still bi favorites here, but the division could be closer than it has been in recent years.
South Side Sox: White Sox have more young talent, but lack extension candidates
Speaking of extension candidates...
Pinstriped Alley: Yankees reportedly "engaged in talks" with Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz
The Yankees are one of several teams pursuing the 23-year-old Cuban
Someone has to sign this guy eventually, right?