The free-agent season could have been weak again, but the extension season is smoking a lot. With Jeff Passan of ESPN reporting that the Boston Red Sox have accepted a five-year extension with lefty ace Chris Sale – worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 145 million – another established star has decided to give up the possibility of a future free-agent riches.
According to the MLB Trade Rumors extension tracker, 20 players have now accepted the extensions since the end of last season. Let's divide them into groups:
The wave of recent extensions has put millions of dollars into players' pockets. But teams would not give these offers unless they are big business decisions.
The left-hand driver Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox agreed to the extension of the contract, awaiting a physicist next week, sources of the league confirmed to Jeff Passan of ESPN.
The Red Sox pitcher, Chris Sale, wants to do more than 30 more and launch 200 innings, as he did in four of his five previous seasons.
The group "so good we've seen enough": Eloy Jimenez, White Sox; Brandon Lowe, rays. Both are novices – Jimenez has yet to make his league debut – but both have impressed their organizations so much that they have bought the totality of every player's controllable years. For players, get them first and allow them to forgo the relative uncertainty of the arbitration in favor of income certainty. Both offers include a couple of years of team option beyond the six-year term of the extension.
The group "You don't need any smelly arbitrage": Jorge Polanco, Twins; Jose Martinez, cardinals; Miles Mikolas, cardinals; Jose Leclerc, Rangers; Alex Bregman, Astros; Blake Snell, Raggi; With Merrifield, Royals; Max Kepler, Twins; Luis Severino, Yankees; Aaron Nola, Phillies; Raisel Iglesias, Reds. These players performed so well during their pre-referee seasons, their clubs decided to engage with them through their refereeing years and, in most cases, beyond. (The case of Martinez is a little different.)
The free agency, what's the use? group: Aaron Hicks, Yankees; Nolan Arenado, Rocky Mountains. Instead of making the first free agency round after the 2019 season, Hicks and Arenado have signed for another seven seasons with their current organizations.
The group "if it's not broken don't fix it": Paul Goldschmidt, cardinals; Mike Trout, Angels; Carlos Carrasco, Indians; Chris Sale, Red Sox. A quartet of stellar-level artists emerging from early childhood extensions, who have decided that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of Free Agency Street. Goldschmidt, of course, took his commitment to the Cardinals before he even made his debut in the regular season for the club.
The future free-agent lists are rapidly losing luster. Based on the assessments I made for my level series, nine of the top 30 baseball players have signed extensions since the end of last season, five of them this week alone.
(Note: these lists do not include the extension of a Clayton Kershaw extension agreed with the Dodgers after the season: Kershaw would make 10 of them in the top 30).
In this context, here are five questions that come to mind about Boston's commitment to Sale.