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There has been a recent trend of signing young talent to long-term deal. Teams are showing a willingness to overpay these young high ceiling talents during their arbitration years and buying out their first couple years of free agency. These deals aren’t breaking the bank, they are actually team friendly deals. A team friendly deal is not the only reason to approach your young talent with long-term deals. Something has to be said avoiding the arbitration process, which can permanently damage the relationship between a player and team management.
In February of this year the Atlanta Braves signed Craig Kimbrel to four-year contract and Julio Teheran to a six-year extension, and Freddie Freeman to a eight-year extension. These are all young players in the early to mid-twenties. The Braves are locking up their core the same way the Tampa Bay Rays are attempting to do with their core.
So why are the Blue Jays not doing the same?
We are going to play a little Goldie Locks and the Three Scenarios. I have covered why I think that Brett Lawrie and Drew Hutchison are good candidates to be offered a long-term contract extensions…..they are going to be the Candidates that are ‘Just Right’. I would also like to offer up a group of names that can be considered ‘Too Early’ and ‘Too Late’ as possible extension candidates.
Aaron Sanchez– Has not thrown a pitch above Double-A, but will see time in Triple-A this year if everything shakes out. This would be huge gamble, but one worth taking for a guy that has the skills to be a top of the rotation guy. My main concern with Sanchez is that his delivery has Dr. James Andrew salivating.
Marcus Stroman– Stroman got lit up pretty good at the end of Spring Training, which makes me think that he needs more minor league seasoning. Stroman will pitch in the Major Leagues, but will it be as a starter or reliever or closer? If you can get him at a reasonable price for a long-term deal (I know the Jays don’t do ‘Long-term’) than why not take a gamble with this guy.
Colby Rasmus– The Blue Jays should have invested in Rasmus the first offseason they had him in their possession. There is no guarantee that Rasmus will ever develop into an All-Star but he has proven that he can play the hell out of CF and hit 20+ HR. By overpaying early in his arbitration year, they would not find themselves on the verge of losing their 27-year-old CF or overpaying to keep him.
Brett Cecil– This 27-year-old All-Star reliever signed a one-year deal for $1.3 million this off-season to avoid arbitration. What the Jays should have done was offer him a four-year deal worth $8-10 million. Cecil is a left-handed reliever that throws in the low 90’s and mixes in a really good curve-ball that he throws in the mid 80’s. At $2-3 million a year, Cecil would be a steal. The Jays missed the boat here.
Alex Anthopoulos has done a really good job locking up players to team friendly contract extensions that he felt would be part of the Blue Jays core moving forward. Guys like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Ricky Romero, and Yunel Escobar. Lets see if he can do it again.