There’s nothing like a sexy, attention-grabbing headline, right? Anyway, the news has been out for a little bit that the Reds are thinking about signing extensions with the arb-eligible starters Bailey and Latos, though there hasn’t been a lot of progress on that front. As I’ve said before, Walt hates arbitration, so I’m confident that there will be deals done with this guy – but for one year, or more, who knows?
I was curious though, to look at the extensions that teams have signed with pre-free agency pitchers in the last few years, and came up with a few examples – specifically, I narrowed the list to starting pitchers with extensions starting in the first (Latos) or second (Bailey) season of arbitration eligibility.
The sample size isn’t huge, but the times, they are a changing, so I didn’t want to go back much farther.
The salary numbers for the arb years when you’re starting with Year-4 are a little more consistent. Latos obviously isn’t a Clayton-Kershaw-already-got-a-Cy-Young-award type – but he does compare pretty well to Matt Cain , and I would say that Cain’s 3 year, 27 million dollar contract is probably out of our range. That contract was signed three years ago, and there have been a lot more reasonable extensions signed since then – but none of those guys have quite the impressively consistent numbers that Latos has.
Bailey is a little more out there. First, though WAR isn’t perfect, Homer clearly has been a level below a lot of the guys who have signed these extensions recently. Obviously Verlander, Lincecum and Hernandez are not relevant comparisons – and Johnson and Greinke are probably out too, since they signed right after having a ~5 WAR season. Bailey was better this year, but he’s not nearly there, no-hitter or not. I think Jackson/Feldman/Morrow are closer cases than Ricky Nolasco, too, and only one of those guys signed a deal that went into free agency. Still, a little payroll predictability would be beneficial, if we can get Homer to sign for the next two years.
So… man, Johnny Cueto’s extension looks awesome now. Well done, there, Walt-O-Meal.