Saturday, February 23, 2013
Next aces in line for extensions
By Jason A. Churchill
With Felix Hernandez now off the market through the 2019 season, aces such as Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander and Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw could be the next to get long-term contracts. Both clubs are run by aggressive ownership and have been known to spend big on free agents and/or have taken on money via trade, suggesting they'll be ready to make sure their best pitchers don't even get to free agency.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said recently that both player and club are interested in getting something done, though it appears negotiations have yet to begin.
MLB.com's Jason Beck reported last month that Verlander and the Tigers had not started talks yet, but that the former MVP and Cy Young winner wants to stay in Detroit for the rest of the his career. Verlander indicated to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan that his goal is to be the first $200-million pitcher.
Tampa Bay's David Price, the 2012 American Leaue Cy Young winner, may be the most likely of the current aces to change teams at some point within the next few years, though the trade route may be more likely than the Rays allowing the southpaw to leave with only draft-pick compensation coming back. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported in January that the Rays have considered the possibility of trying to keep Price on a long-term deal, but that such a financial commitment would make it difficult to field a competitive team with two players -- Price and third baseman Evan Longoria -- taking up such a large percentage of the club's total payroll.
Other high-profile arms that could be the subject of contract extensions between now and the summer include soon-to-be free agents Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum, Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers' No. 1 starter Yovani Gallardo. The Red Sox hold a club option on Lester for 2014, and the Brewers have Gallardo under contract through '14 with an option for 2015. Any of the above could become extension candidates.