The San Diego Padres have decided to commit to their youth over the past few seasons, and the trend continued when the team agreed to an extension with second baseman Jedd Gyorko. The deal begins next season and covers all of his arbitration years plus the first year of free agency with an option in place for 2020. Most of the vibe around the deal has been positive, such as David Schoenfield's take at ESPN:
I see a player who may end up resembling Dan Uggla or Jeff Kent -- a run-producing second baseman you can hit in the middle of the lineup. (The comparison to Kent is a little extreme considering Kent had a borderline Hall of Fame career, but both were college players who reached the majors at 24 and moved from third base to second. Kent, of course, was better in his 30s than his 20s, but Gyorko's upside could be Kent-like for a season or two, minus some of the batting average and hitting behind Barry Bonds.)
And though there might be some concern over whether Gyorko can get on base enough to become a true standout player (he did, after all, have only a .301 on-base percentage in 125 games last season), the power is enough to make a deal like this stomachable, considering the dollars are nowhere near outrageous. Though Gyorko managed an OPS+ of 107, which is by no means stellar, it certainly shows a good deal of potential moving forward.
Second baseman would also seem to be the new market inefficiency, now that Gyorko and Jason Kipnis have both signed similar extensions with their respective clubs.
Rotographs also acknowledged that Gyorko is an up-and-coming player, back in their off-season review of the second base position:
I firmly buy into Gyorko’s power, and I believe his batting average should be more palatable this year. His power is obvious. He hit 25 homers between High-A and Double-A in 2011, 30 homers between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, and 23 homers in the majors in 2013. The power is legit, and Oliver is projecting the 24-year-old to launch 25 long balls. In addition, his overall numbers may have dipped in the second half due to line-drive and BABIP issues; however, the ISO numbers increased from .169 to .222. If his BABIP doesn’t fall off a cliff for an extended period as it did in 2013, he could hit 20+ homers with a .270ish batting average.
This deal has also left many in Minnesota wondering what a deal for Brian Dozier, who put up similar value to Gyorko last season, might be:
Dozier has been worth 5.1 WAR so far in his career, according to Baseball Reference, with 3.8 of those coming last season, when only Joe Mauer (5.3) outproduced him on the Twins. Dozier’s FanGraphs WAR is 2.9, even with that false start of a 2012 season costing him half a win off his total.
Add it all up, and [the Gyorko extension] could yet prove to be an expensive day for the Twins once they finally get around to locking up one of their best young core players.
I wonder what the over/under is on how many more extensions between teams and players will come down the rest of this season? If anything, it gives teams a decent amount of payroll certainty, and the downside of paying a role player market value is mitigated by the upside that he might become the next Tiny Iota: