You rarely get perfect comparables when it comes to contract negotiations, so you kind of have to take stock of all the deals as they happen, and incorporate it into market expectations for deals (be they free agent or extension).
So, then, put this Max Muncy extension in your back pocket when you think about possible deals for Cubs players:
Infielder Max Muncy in agreement with #Dodgers on three-year, $26M extension, sources tell The Athletic. Deal also includes a $13.5M option for a fourth year or $1.5M buyout.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 6, 2020
Muncy gets that $26 million guarantee for his three arbitration years – ages 29, 30, and 31 – and then he gives the Dodgers the chance to buy out his first free agent year, age 32, for just $13.5 million.
It looks like a mighty team-friendly deal when you consider that the versatile slugger has been worth a whopping 10 WAR for the Dodgers over the last two years. But you do have to keep in mind that Muncy was a late-bloomer, so his arbitration years were already going to take him into his 30s. Moreover, that first arbitration year might’ve netted him only $4 million if he’d lost his upcoming arbitration case. Locking in a $26 million guarantee, when you consider he might’ve received much less than that through arbitration even if he stuck around for three years, isn’t that bad of a deal for a 29-year-old.
I have to believe, by the way, that this deal is related in timing to the Betts/Price trade and the Pederson trade, because there are luxury tax implications for the Dodgers – by inking Muncy to this deal now, they just increased his AAV by about $5 million for luxury tax purposes. They wouldn’t do that if there was any chance it would put them over the threshold.
Thus, I’d expect the Betts/Price deal to get done with plenty of cash coming their way, as expected.