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5 MLB contract extension candidates teams need to lock up now

CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 03: Andres Gimenez #0 of the Cleveland Guardians plays against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Progressive Field on August 03, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

MLB teams can still make big moves with contract extensions to shore up their futures and these five players fit the bill as the obvious candidates.

Recently, we saw Atlanta Braves star slugger Austin Riley sign a massive 10-year, $212 million extension that could ultimately end up being team-friendly over the life of the contract with the way he is performing, while also factoring in inflation.

NL Rookie of the Year candidate Michael Harris II also signed an 8-year, $72 million extension with the Braves on Tuesday night that gives him a raise in his pre-arbitration years that guarantees himself life-changing money, while potentially being team-friendly since it will buy out two years of his free agency that could be a greatly reduced cost to the team.

Other teams take the approach of extending players early as well, offering guaranteed money to add some stability to young players, while potentially getting a discount in the long run.

Players like Luis Robert, Fernando Tatis Jr. (although that one is not off to a good start), and Ronald Acuña Jr. are just a handful of players that have taken these types of deals that ensure that they get paid, while their respective teams have a piece of their core locked up for the foreseeable future.

One of the main reasons teams were able to sign these players to extensions so early is they were able to buy out arbitration years and taking a gamble that a player will stay healthy and out of trouble.

The longer teams wait, the lower their possibility of signing these types of extensions because players get closer to free agency having potentially built a solid résumé. We’re excluding the likes of Max Fried or even Rafael Devers as they might be past the point of getting an early, savvy extension.

MLB: 5 next big contract extensions that need to happen

5. Guardians IF Andrés Giménez

Andrés Giménez has been excellent for Cleveland this year. He has made an appearance in 3 different seasons but has just over 1 year of service time, which means he will not be a free agent until 2027.

Giménez currently has a 4.9 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with a slash line of .312/.377/.503 which equates to an OPS+ of 153 (53% above league average). He has been no slouch with the glove either, having accumulated 0.9 defensive WAR (dWAR) already. For reference, Jeremy Peña leads the AL with 2.0

From a WAR perspective, only Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani have accumulated more than 4.9 in in the AL.

The Guardians may have a hard time locking him up. We have seen that the Guardians are not shy at offering early extensions like they did with José Ramírez. The time is now.

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