Contract Extension Candidates

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  • #178282
    stlcard25
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    I know this is a bugaboo for several of you, but while we are in lockout, we might as well have something to talk about.

    The Cards don’t look primed to spend too much more money on the free agent market. Perhaps a couple of peripheral additions. It’s possible they are slightly more active in the trade sphere, but who knows there. One area they have been active in the past, and where we have seen some teams make hay in the last few years, is in handing out contract extensions. We have seen our Cards hand them out to established vets (Waino, Yadi), young potential stars (Carp, Cmart, Dejong) and more the solid average types (Piscotty). We’ve also seen around the league that some teams are willing to hand out big money to guys with little to no big league experience in hopes of getting ahead of the curve (Luis Robert, Wander Franco) as well as the young superstars (Fernando Tatis Jr).

    So, could the Cards look to do this after the lockout ends? Of course we don’t know exactly how the new CBA will change things, but as of now, they have a few candidates. I’d place them into a few buckets of possibles (I’m not even going to list guys like Hicks or some of the pre arb fillers like Helsley, Cabrera, etc as they aren’t likely to cost much before free agency anyway):

    Established Vets: We seriously have no candidates here, as all our vets are either locked up really long term (Goldy, Arenado, Dejong, Matz) or nearing retirement (Waino, Yadi)

    Arb Guys: Reyes, Flaherty, Gallegos, Hudson, O’Neill, Bader

    Pre-Arb “Solid Players”: Edman

    Pre-Arb Potential Stars: Carlson

    Potential Star Prospects: Gorman, Liberatore, Walker

    So we’ve got about 11 guys to discuss, potentially. I’d probably explore it with a few players to see if you can generate some cost certainty down the line, but I know others are opposed to any extension due to the few that haven’t worked out for us (which, to be fair, have almost always been the veteran extensions).

    What do you think?

    #178284
    gscottar
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    Thanks for bringing this up. I think we are all starved for topics to discuss.

    I am usually not a big fan of extensions but there are a few on that list that would probably make sense.

    Flaherty and O’Neill would be the two most obvious to me. It is well known that Flaherty has been outspoken against the current compensation system so the assumption is that he will just wait it out until free agency. The Cardinals would probably have to overpay to sign him plus he is coming off a season with injury so it could get complicated. I would offer him 5yrs/$75M and see what happens. He would probably reject it.

    I don’t think the Cardinals would extend both O’Neill and Bader so if forced to choose I would go with O’Neill. I would probably wait until after the 2022 season just to make sure 2021 wasn’t a fluke. If he has another stellar season in 2022 then they could offer him something like 5 yrs/$75M also. I may be way off with the numbers but at first glance that is what I am coming up with.

    I would hold off on the other guys on the list. I think they go year to year with Bader. Reyes and Hudson need to prove they are healthy and reliable. I would go year to year with Gallegos because relievers are too unpredictable.

    Edman might be a candidate but it would have to be a team friendly deal because I really view him as a utility guy going forward. Carlson is probably a year or two away from getting into the extension conversation and Gorman, Liberatore, and Walker haven’t made their debut yet so we don’t have to be in a hurry with them.

    #178287
    stlcard25
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    Yeah, I look at Flaherty and O’Neill as the two most likely to get an offer as well. It seems like Jack probably wouldn’t accept it, but I suspect that Tyler would.

    Jack has a shot to really catapult himself into the next level in 2022. He was looking that way until the injury this year. Right now I think something similar to your offer would be fair. Probably not accepted, but fair. If they waited til after 2022, that number could really skyrocket. You’d only be buying out one (expensive) Arb year and then some free agent years. I could see it being a 7+ year, $150M+ type extension if he’s an ace again next year. Still, I think he will want to test free agency unless blown away.

    O’Neill has an extra year before he hits the market. So you’d be buying three Arb years and whatever free agent years. If he’s a star like this year his Arb salaries are going to be pretty bulky the next two years (Estimate of $30m). If he’s more average, it won’t cost as much, maybe more like $15-20m. So if you wanted two FA years, an offer 5 years and $45-60M makes sense. If he has another MVP vote type year he may demand a little more cash.

    Carlson is the other I’d consider. Yes, he’s currently cheap but his trajectory is that of a Yelich type (pre Milwaukee MVP Yelich, that is). Those guys get expensive on the market at $20M+ a year, so if you could lock him in for 6-7 years, you have to at least consider it.

    #178302
    CardsFanInChiTown
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    Great post idea stlcard25! I might be in the minority here, but I love the early extensions (White Sox are a perfect example of it working). Carlson would be my #1 choice for one, TON would be my #2, but he might be so close to FA that he wouldn’t be signed at a discount. Bader is one I’d shy away from. On the pitching side, Flaherty just won’t, and he’s the one “star” that would be of interest in my mind.

    #178305
    stlcard25
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    CFiCT, what sort of contract would you offer Carlson? He’s only in his 2nd year so he’s got 5 pre-FA years. Would something like 6 years and $45M with an option year or two at $18-20M be fair? That’s valuing him around a 3 WAR player.

    #178309
    1982 willie
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    Personally flaherty is the only one I would think about doing it but even he didn’t look that dominant last year before injury. His numbers were good but eye test wise I felt he was off. Now he’s coming off injury so another reason to be cautious. Now being an effort guy, I’m not going to reward a guy like oneil though his power numbers were great. Carlson has potential to be but needs to show steady improvement this year but he’s still young. Bader is the only one I would think about it because of his effort and team spirit and play but needs to show that he can continue to improve against what they are doing against him at the plate. If he hits this season like he did after coming off injury last season, I’ll be satisfied. The only metric he was down in was solid contact which is how hard a ball is hit but that’s because he was trying to fight off pitches and just make contact with two strikes. Guys with speed should always be doing that especially if they have a pitch weakness cause they will beat out a lot of nubbers. Slow guys not so much.

    #178310
    Ratsbuddy
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    I am NOT going to declare Tyler O’Neill a superstar yet. Or even a star yet. I think there’s a good chance that 2021 might have been his career year. The jury is still out on him as far as I am concerned.

    r/Esteemed Rat

    #178311
    stlcard25
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    Now being an effort guy, I’m not going to reward a guy like oneil though his power numbers were great.

    But is it a reward? Or more an opportunity to save costs in the future? O’Neill is 26 years old, and will turn 27 mid season next year. I could see your point since he’s probably going to start with a lower Arb salary, which should keep his numbers low going forward. So for his 27-28-29 years, he probably makes around $17.5M in Arb. It’s hard to say how long a guy like him stays in his prime, but let’s guess two years longer, as he will be among the youngest “30” year olds his first free agent year. Ideally you’d get the next two prime years and move on.

    If you need a LFer with his power and defense then, you might pay $60+M over 3-4 years on the free agent market for it. His price tag on an extension now might be half that for two years, avoiding the decline years and moving on at a good time. It’s like, imagine if O’Neill didn’t exist and Carlson was looking iffy. There’s a solution on the market… Michael Conforto. But he’s probably going to cost you 4 years or more and $60-100M. If you had a Conforto for two years and $30M, you’d take it in a second.

    Extensions almost always benefit the team, which is why they’re eager to do them. As we’ve seen with the Cards, almost all the pre-FA extensions have been good and many of the veteran extensions have been mediocre or worse.

    #178313
    gscottar
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    One aspect of extensions that rarely gets talked about is the fact that the player has guaranteed money regardless of performance, therefore, slippage can be a concern. Making a player go year to year might cost more but it also might increase the motivation to perform, which is worth the extra cost.

    #178315
    CariocaCardinal
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    I would say if you are worried about a player’s performance slipping with a long term contract you should not go year tô year. You should dump the player.

    #178316
    1982 willie
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    Well stlcard25, I see your point but it could be he ends up not worth that much money. True some players would be a bargain at a lower price but Cardinals generally aren’t going after those guys anyway. But for every player that goes on and gets rich on the market there are lots more that have a great year or two then flame out. Personally I think most players want to know where they are going to be for a couple of years or so and at least know they are getting paid. I get your idea though but the team needs to feel they know they are getting their money’s worth down the road. Far as veterans players getting extensions, I have no problem with it cause a lot of times that money is a reward for what they did when the team was paying them less. The thing is the Cardinals sometimes will way over pay someone like Matt carpenter. Sure he deserved a nice contract for his previous services but they went a year too long and paid way too much, just didn’t read the tea leaves well with him.

    #178317
    jj-cf-stl
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    If you lose a valuable CF’r to free agency, there needs to be a replacement in-house the FO is committed to.

    CF positional scarcity on the FA market requires a truckload of cash, or calling a utility player an everyday CF’r.

    Bader deserves extra consideration on an extension or the pipeline better have a CF’r ready.

    #178321
    1982 willie
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    Well bader I believe still has some time before free agency. Though not sure. Either way, I don’t see bader leaving voluntarily unless the Cardinals just get stupid. He seems to really enjoy being a cardinal. I’d like to see that spirit out of more guys.

    #178372
    PadsFS
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    It’s hard to find a career similar to that of Bader. Best I can find of an age 27, above-average, but not great bat, with elite defense, is Corey Dickerson, Josh Reddick, Will Venable, and Kevin Kiermaier.

    Josh Reddick and Dickerson are really close. Also, they both had a big year in age 30, then the hard fall-off. Venable was similar to those two. Kiermaier fell off offensively after his age 27 season.

    With OPS+ from 24-27 in parentheses – Reddick (107 OPS+), Dickerson (118 OPS+), Venable (106 OPS+), and Keirmaier (107 OPS+) all followed their age 27 seasons with 3 seasons of this:

    Reddick (118 OPS+)
    Dickerson (121 OPS+)
    Keirmaier (82 OPS+)
    Venable (114 OPS+)

    All of them fell off hard by age 31 and on.

    Given Bader’s career thus far and these contemporaries, it might be smart to sign Bader to a 3 year deal, getting one extra year of FA (through age 30).

    #178374
    PadsFS
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    We have a very strong base of position players with elite prospects coming up as well. I see no issues there.

    Pitching-wise, we have a big hole coming up with Wainwright, Mikolas, and Flaherty all being FAs by 2024. Assume you replace one of the three with Liberatore, you still have just Matz, Hudson, and Liberatore in house with no real prospects behind them (McGreevy and the like)

    It’s a shame he’s so into the players association too, because Flaherty is the perfect candidate to sign a long-term extension. Wrap him up through his 31-32 seasons and our entire staff looks way more competitive.

    Fact of the matter is that signing free agents, like Matz, instantly puts them into the negative trade value category. Adding FA starters for 2024 ends up being payroll-neutral moves at best. (Matz: -2.9, Jon Gray: -3.5, Eduardo Rodriguez: 0.5, Stroman: -3.5)

    #178377
    kscardfan
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    Flaherty is the only candidate for an extension. Doubt that is gonna happen. Extensions with young players that haven’t established themselves would be foolish. Carp ruined that route.
    .

    #178378
    stlcard25
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    Extensions with young players that haven’t established themselves would be foolish. Carp ruined that route.
    .

    What about Carp’s 2014 extension (when he was young) ruined that for anyone else? That was one of the better extensions that Mo has signed. You could say he ruined the veteran extension route with his later deal, perhaps.

    #178379
    jj-cf-stl
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    It’s necessary to look at each player and decide if they should be offered an extension. But it’s also necessary to consider our depth in case a player chooses to test the FA market.

    What does our farm have coming as a true CF’r behind Bader? I like O’Neill and Carlson where they are at the corners.

    What does the FA market offer if Bader becomes a FA? Two offseasons ago Pillar and Dyson were the top choices, if you can call them that, with both signing for under 5mil AAV.

    #178380
    jj-cf-stl
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    Last offseason Springer, Jackie Bradley jr. and Kiki Hernandez were the top three choices. Springer signed long-term for 25 aav. JBJ signed for 12 mil AAV and cratered, and utility Hernandez for 7 mil AAV. Now BOS wants a true CF’r and reacquired JBJ.

    This offseason Marte at 19.5mil AAV and utility Chris Taylor for 15mil AAV are really the only two choices.

    Nimmo, Kiki and JBJ look to be the top choices next offseason.

    At CF, quality replacement value is limited, which drives the cost up. Maybe there is an up and comer on the farm?

    #178381
    blingboy
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    What does our farm have coming as a true CF’r behind Bader?

    No worries, I’m sure Edman played CF at some point in his life, so that’s covered.

    #178382
    mudville
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    IMO, Bader is Hall of Fame material if he can improve his offense a little. He did hit 16 HR’s in 2021. But it would help if he could get his BA up although he did hit .267 in 2021 which isn’t half bad by today’s standards. If they can extend Bader for 5 or 6 years, they should do it now.

    #178383
    kscardfan
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    Hide the weed.

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