Another day, another extension for the Cardinals.
Per multiple reports (example, Heyman), the St. Louis Cardinals have come to terms with 26-year-old outfielder, Stephen Piscotty, on a multi-year extension guaranteeing him $33.5 million. The deal will be official shortly, and appears to be for six years plus an option (Rosenthal).
As of today, Piscotty has less than two years of service time. That means that he wasn’t going to enter arbitration until after the 2018 season, and wasn’t scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2021 season.
If the deal is in fact for six years (and kicks in for this season), he’ll have signed away two years of pre-arbitration, three years of arbitration, and one year of free agency in exchange for a guarantee of $33.5 million (plus the Cardinals may get an option for a second free agent year). It’s similar to the deal the Cardinals signed with Kolten Wong last year, though Piscotty gets a larger guarantee.
And for what it’s worth, the Cardinals have a press conference scheduled for 1:00 pm CT today to announce and discuss the deal.
In 2016, Piscotty’s first full season of MLB, he slashed .273/.343/.457 with 22 home runs and 85 RBI. He didn’t add any value with his glove (it was considered a negative overall), but he did improve in the field compared to his debut in 2015. Ultimately, he was just under a 3-win player.
As usual, we can try to parse out the details of this extension to use as a mirror for possible Cubs extensions down the line, but also as always it’s not a perfect fit.
Piscotty, while talented, isn’t quite the same caliber of player as, say, Kyle Schwarber or Addison Russell (at least in terms of upside). He’s also a few years older (26). And although he was a first-round pick back in 2012, he secured a $1.4 million signing bonus. Obviously, that’s still quite a lot of money, but it’s far less than what each of Javy Baez, Addison Russell, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, and Kyle Schwarber all received.
With that said, Piscotty does (essentially) have the same amount of remaining service time as many of the Cubs’ young players. So in that respect, things are somewhat similar. But again, the Cardinals only bought out one year of free agency (guaranteed), so this is as much about cost certainty as extending their control. Even still, it’s hard not to like it for St. Louis.