Let's Talk About Extensions: Homer Bailey, Jeff Samardzija, FA Starters, Atlanta Braves

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Let’s Talk About Extensions: Homer Bailey, Jeff Samardzija, FA Starters, Atlanta Braves

Chicago Cubs

jeff samardzija gatorade shower

You get an extension and YOU get an extension and YOU GET AN EXTENSION! EXTENSIONS FOR EVERYONE!!! … oh, except you in the back with the long hair …

  • When I survey the landscape that is the near-term future for the Chicago Cubs, I see a combination of things that suggest a .500 or better team in 2015 is a strong possibility: (1) a core of young positional talent that could be producing well by then; (2) hoped-for financial flexibility after this season; (3) a need for impact starting pitching to pair with the young positional talent; and (4) an exceptional free agent market for starting pitching after 2014. Against that backdrop, whenever I see things like reports that the Reds and Homer Bailey are nearing an extension, I grabz a sad. Comments from Bailey today, who would have been a free agent after this season, make it sound like an extension is going to happen. The deal figures to be in the six-year, $100+ million range, and it’s a real kick in the nuts. Bailey figured to be among the most likely of the to-be free agent starting pitchers to reach free agency. Jon Lester is a near-lock to be extended, the Tigers have made moves that imply they really want to extend Max Scherzer, and if the Reds can lock up Bailey, then maybe the Indians can lock up Justin Masterson. Only James Shields looks to be a certain future free agent. At least there’s still interesting guys like Chad Billingsley and Kenta Maeda, but if Bailey goes off the market, and if the Cubs were planning to binge in the pitching market next year, things could start to look grim quickly. No. More. Extensions.
  • Well, maybe not no more extensions: Bruce Levine was on with Dave Kaplan discussing the possibility of an extension for Jeff Samardzija, and he said that he believes if a deal isn’t done by Opening Day, then Samardzija is firmly on the trade market from that point on, and would ultimately be traded.
  • Interestingly, Levine suggested that Samardzija might be willing to take less money in an extension if he were getting a no-trade clause. The problem there, obviously, is that the front office has a policy against no-trade clauses, and if you make an exception for Samardzija, that probably pisses off guys like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, and sets a bad precedent going forward. As much as you’d like to lock Samardzija up, and as much as you might feel like the Cubs won’t want to trade him, the no no-trade clause policy is ultimately a good one. As we’ve seen in recent years, not having the flexibility to make the best move at the best time can be a real noose.
  • And, in case you’re wondering: yes, I do think a Homer Bailey extension would impact negotiations with Samardzija – the two are generally in the same range of ability, and the market moves along with these kinds of extensions. That said, Samardzija isn’t eligible for free agency after this season, Bailey’s advanced and traditional stats outpace Samardzija’s, and Bailey is almost a year and a half younger than Samardzija. This will not be an apples-to-apples kind of translation.
  • Speaking of Bailey’s extension and the outwardly extending influence, Paul Hoynes – who broke the Bailey news – writes about whether such an extension would impact the Indians’ efforts to retain Justin Masterson beyond this year.
  • Speaking of extensions, generally, the Braves locked up Craig Kimbrel to a long-term deal this weekend, capping off a run of extensions (Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran, Jason Heyward (just arb years), and Kimbrel) that guaranteed more than $220 million. That these extensions came soon after the announcement that Cobb County would be building a publicly-funded stadium for the Braves is probably not a coincidence. Must be nice.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.