A little over a week ago, I took a look at the likelihood of potential contract extensions for core Cubs position players. In that particular case, we examined which players might make the most sense to be extended based primarily on the age they will be when free agency hits. By the end, I determined that, all things equal, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell might be the most realistic extension targets. Still, all five of the Cubs’ core positional players without long-term commitments (Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler,to an extent) are still candidates for extension.
Each player is an individual case and each presents its unique challenges and specifics, but it can be helpful to compare and contrast each player with each other and to other players around the league. Much like the going rate for a young starter in one trade impacts the rate for the next one, the going rate for contract extensions on young, talented players impacts the ones that follow.
First reported by Ken Rosenthal, Gordon’s five-year extension comes with $50 million guaranteed, in addition to a club/vesting option valued at $14 million for the sixth year. Later, Jon Heyman added that there was not a no-trade clause included in the deal, and that there is a $1 million buyout for the sixth year – which vests if Gordon reaches 600 PAs in year five or 1200 total across years four and five combined. You can see the full run of details over at MLBTR.
Gordon, 27, had three arbitration years remaining (out of four), and figured to make upwards of $6 million in 2016 after his breakout 2015 season.
As for drawing Cubs-relevant parallels, although Gordon is a young talented player, his deal isn’t a perfect match for any of the five Cubs players listed above – at least not any time soon. He is a legitimate talent, with his best years ahead of him, but he is significantly older than the Cubs players we’ve discussed previously. Kris Bryant, for one example, is the oldest of the group, but is still three years younger than Gordon is now. Also, Gordon’s best season – 2015 – was worth roughly two less wins than Bryant’s rookie season and he’s projected to take a significant step back next season, as well. Furthermore, Gordon was already through his first year of arbitration as a Super Two.
And incidentally, another young National League player – Gregory Polanco, 24 – is reportedly open to signing an extension with the Pirates, which could provide us with a much better parallel for the Cubs young players. It would also be of even more direct interest to Cubs fans, being that whatever happens with Polanco and the Pirates will affect the Cubs quite a bit in the coming years.
We’re very much in the time of year where these kinds of extensions will be inked, so we’ll see what else comes up.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.