Ranking the Extensions
Given what we know about each player’s abilities and the structure of their deals, we’ll attempt to rank the value of each deal from best to worst. It should be noted, however, that the length of the deals makes such a prediction largely speculative – three years from now, each player could change in any number of ways to make each deal look better or worse. Additionally, the financial landscape of the league will certainly change to some degree, making the future values of the contract lower or higher than they stand now. Nevertheless, an initial ranking of the four contract extensions follows (again, from best to worst). Also included is a grading of the contract as they stand now, on an A-to-F scale.
#1: Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals – B+
While Wong’s track record isn’t as long or as successful as the other players on this list, the value of the contract and Wong’s age make this a very good deal for the Cardinals. Should Wong continue to produce at the level he did in 2015, he’ll provide good offensive and defensive value at a position that doesn’t often see many good bats. However, at just 25, Wong has plenty of room to improve in both aspects and make this deal quite worth the Cardinals’ while.
#2: Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants – B
Although Crawford is the oldest of the players on this list, and is signed for the longest, he’s the most proven defensive performer, and at a premium defensive position no less. He’s shown consistent offensive improvement for three years running now, culminating in his winning the Silver Slugger award for NL shortstops in 2015. While the dollar value and player-age of the contract are high, Crawford projects to be a leader at the plate and in the field for the Giants for many years to come.
#3: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals – C
Perez’s World Series performances and his likable personality have endeared him to the Royals fan base, but his regular-season offensive numbers of late are not up to par with what you want from an everyday player. While his defensive performance has made up for the offensive struggles (if you don’t look at pitch framing), Perez will need to do more than just be a catcher to earn the $54.5 million he’s owed over the next six seasons. Especially if his body wears down so that he can no longer catch 130 games a year, Perez’s offense must improve to make this deal worthwhile for the Royals in the long run.
#4: Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins – C-
Looking at just 2015, this deal seems like it should top this list easily. However, Gordon’s ability to reproduce his eye-popping statistics from last season (or something close to them, at least) remains to be seen. Skating by on a high BABIP is a risky play for anyone, even with the speed that Gordon possesses. Defensively, he’s been a negative-run player every year leading up to 2015, so he has something to prove with his glove as well. Without the value of a premium position like Crawford and Perez, Gordon seems like too risky a bet to have been gifted $50 million dollars after a couple good seasons.