Extension Candidates: AL West
We don’t actually know whether or not or to what extent extension talks will proceed in the course of the coronavirus hiatus. However as I wrote not too long ago, it appears cheap to assume they’ll be explored. Some could have already got superior almost to completion earlier than the worldwide pandemic intervened.
Whereas we could have to attend to study who the targets are and see what offers get executed, there’s a silver lining: extra time for rampant hypothesis! Okay, we’re not going to take a position right here; fairly, we’ll tick by way of some attention-grabbing prospects on paper. Keep in mind, we’ve seen an rising prevalence of offers with less-experienced gamers (even some with none MLB service) and with new participant varieties (early-career relievers and utilitymen).
Within the current MLB atmosphere, worth is king and the previous varieties are fading. We’ve already checked in on the NL East, NL Central, NL West, and AL East. Listed here are some doable extension candidates from the AL West …
It appears the Halos have some stage of curiosity in attempting to maintain peerless defensive shortstop Andrelton Simmons from reaching the open market. He’d be fairly an attention-grabbing participant to worth after a down, injury-filled yr. If he can proceed producing otherworldly defensive work in 2020 whereas returning to league-average hitting, he’d be an interesting participant to observe in free company.
There are a couple of different guys nearing free company that may very well be thought-about. Tommy La Stella had a breakout in an injury-shortened 2019 season. He’s already 31 and there’ll be questions on sustainability. However maybe the perimeters might share the danger and upside with a comparatively modest accord. Reliever Hansel Robles and starter Andrew Heaney are each two years from free company, although there’s no explicit purpose to hurry right into a dedication in both case.
Issues get fairly a bit extra attention-grabbing whenever you have a look at gamers a lot farther from the open market. Shohei Ohtani put a ton of religion in himself when he got here to the majors for a pittance of a bonus. His two-way capability and near-limitless upside on the mound make him a extremely intriguing extension candidate, although finding out a good worth gained’t be easy. There’s a transparent map for a deal for elite outfield prospect Jo Adell, if either side have an interest, because the White Sox have reached successive pre-debut pacts with Eloy Jimenez ($43MM) and Luis Robert ($50MM). Past Ohtani and Adell, the Angels might take into account way more modest pacts with utilityman David Fletcher and/or reliever Ty Buttrey.
There’s an abundance of star energy to ponder for a Houston group in turmoil. Most urgent: outfielder George Springer, who’s getting into his remaining yr of arbitration. That is the ultimate window to get a deal executed; whether or not that’s a practical chance isn’t recognized. Not far behind him is shortstop Carlos Correa, who is 2 years from the open market. His big ceiling and extra modest current play make this a suboptimal time to work out a deal, except either side are within the temper for compromise.
The ’Stros have a pair of slugging younger left-handed hitters that might conceivably be candidates for aggressive early extensions. Yordan Alvarez burst onto the scene final yr, however he has had a balky knee this spring and is generally seen as a DH. In the meantime, Kyle Tucker is a surefire huge leaguer with star upside, however he’s fairly much less established. On the pitching facet, the Astros might doubtlessly chase worth by holding talks with Jose Urquidy, Josh James, and even Bryan Abreu. It could be early in all of these circumstances, however this group did attain a then-unprecedented take care of Jon Singleton.
The Oakland org has a bunch of candidates that leap off of the web page in nearly each service class. After a monster 2019 season, shortstop Marcus Semien is slated to achieve free company on the finish of 2020. It could in all probability take a franchise-record deal to maintain him from testing the market. Maybe there’s extra room to work out a palatable price ticket with reliever Liam Hendriks, who has emerged as one of many recreation’s only relievers since being designated for task after which referred to as again up late within the 2018 season. Outfielder Mark Canha had his personal current breakout; maybe he’s additionally a candidate with two years left till free company.
What the A’s actually hoped for was a pair of long-term pacts with nook infielders Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. However each weren’t wooed by prior efforts they usually’re each now inside a season of arbitration. There’s actually nonetheless a window, however the Oakland group will actually need to open the pockets. Hanging main pacts with both or each (to not point out Semien) would mark a giant vote of confidence within the workforce’s plans for a brand new ballpark.
Additional down the road by way of service class are a bunch of intriguing candidates. Outfielder Ramon Laureano, catcher Sean Murphy, and prized southpaws Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk all carry eyebrow-raising expertise. They’re additionally already managed for fairly a while. However this can be the optimum level for the A’s to attain huge worth with a couple of of these gamers.
Having already inked lefty Marco Gonzales and pre-MLB first baseman Evan White, the M’s have already accounted for his or her most evident candidates. And the perfect of the remaining aren’t seemingly in consideration this winter. Mitch Haniger nonetheless must get again to full well being; high prospects Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez are in all probability a bit too inexperienced for even an aggressive deal.
However there are a couple of extra to think about. Shed Lengthy and J.P. Crawford every had strong showings final yr and will make sense on the proper value. Maybe the Mariners might even take into account less-experienced outfielders Kyle Lewis and Jake Fraley, although that’d make for a shock in both case. It’s frankly troublesome even to recommend one other candidate; reliever Austin Adams might’ve been of some curiosity however he’s rehabbing a significant knee damage.
You can make a case for a couple of guys right here. Younger slugger Willie Calhoun is perhaps a worthwhile goal after a powerful 2019 displaying, although it took the membership a while to search out him a spot within the majors and he’s now nursing a damaged jaw. Veteran starters Mike Minor and Lance Lynn are nearing free company, with the previous getting into his stroll yr, although the Texas org already took on some pitching threat this winter and should not need to over-extend itself with older hurlers.
Actually, the Texas extension scenario is all about one man: slugging outfielder/first baseman Joey Gallo. The sport’s preeminent three-true-outcomes batter, Gallo is in his first of three arbitration-eligible campaigns, so he has entered the massive incomes stage of his profession however hasn’t but been paid big cash. He was restricted by damage (indirect, hamate) in 2019 however put up monster numbers when accessible, with 22 lengthy balls and a .253/.389/.598 slash over 297 plate appearances. It’s simple to overlook that Gallo is a precious outfield defender and baserunner, making him one of many higher-ceiling all-around gamers within the recreation.