Thursday, January 31, 2013
NL East Extension Candidates
By Jason A. Churchill
While it doesn't appear Tampa Bay's David Price will be one of them -- he just inked a one-year deal for 2013 worth just over $10 million -- there could be a number of players into their arbitration years and headed for free agency that warrant serious consideration for long-term solutions. Giancarlo Stanton is one of them, though whether or not he would consider such an idea appears slim at best right now. Let's tackle the rest of the National League East:
The Atlanta Braves could head down extension avenue with a number of key pieces, including right fielder Jason Heyward, right-hander Kris Medlen and relievers Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty, all of whom have hit arbitration and will continue to get more expensive as the years pass until they qualify for free agency.
It's conceivable that the club broaches the subject with the agent for newly-acquired outfielder Justin Upton, too, who is under contract through 2015, two fewer years than his older brother and teammate, B.J.
The defending division champion Washington Nationals have already extended the contract of third baseman and leader Ryan Zimmerman, but shortstop Ian Desmond, who took big strides in 2012 in all areas, could be next. Desmond will earn $3.8 million in 2013 and will get two more cracks at arbitration after this season and next.
The club may also see fit to discuss the possibility of extending ace Stephen Strasburg at some point in the next year, but it may be more pressing to take care of Jordan Zimmermann, who is currently unsigned as a second-year arbitration-eligible player. He earned $2.3 million in 2012.
Catcher Wilson Ramos, who will not be arbitration eligible until after this coming season, also could be a candidate for a multi-year deal to avoid the pricey offseason process. Drew Storen and Ross Detwiler are already in that category and could get the chance to ink deals beyond the coming season.
The Philadelphia Phillies are void of the obvious candidates, but Carlos Ruiz could warrant a short-term extension.
The New York Mets have already taken care of Jonathon Niese and David Wright, and Bobby Parnell may be next. First baseman Ike Davis could join that list with a strong 2013.
The Marlins, aside from Stanton, aren't likely to dole out too many extensions, despite having just $1.5 million committed to 40-man roster members for 2014.