By: Noah Wright
This past offseason we saw a ridiculous amount of extensions. Everything from under the radar extensions to record breaking contracts were signed. It even has kind of depleted a once near-legendary 2019-2020 off season. So how have some of these extensions worked out?
- Ryan Pressley:
I’d argue that Pressley has been the best extension out of all the extensions given out. The Astros had acquired Ryan through a near-deadline trade with the Twins. Before the trade, Pressley had a respectable 3.40 ERA, 2.95 FIP, and 1.364 WHIP in 47 and two thirds innings. That went along with pretty good strikeout (13.0 K/9), walk (3.6 BB/9) and home run (.9 HR/9) rates. After the trade to Houston, Pressley turned on the jets, producing an outstanding .77 ERA, 1.49 FIP, and .6 WHIP through his final 23 and a third innings of 2018. He had reduced his walk rate to 1.2, while also increasing his K rate by 1.3 K/9.
Pressley was given a 2 year, $17.5 million extensions, and it he has far out-played his 2019 salary of $8.75 million. Pressley started out 2019 with an unbelieveabe streak of 21 straight innings of not allowing a single run. That lasted from March 28th, his first game of the season, to May 20th. Although he has given up runs since then Pressley still has an outstanding .93 ERA, 2.25 FIP, and .724 WHIP. He has carried over a walk rate of 1.2 per 9, a K/9 rate of 9.9, and HR/9 rate of just .6.
- Nolan Arenado:
If Arenado didn’t sign the 7 year, $234 million extension, he would be a free agent after the 2019 season. Nolan Arenado has continued his success, but now to a greater degree in 2019. Through 269 plate appearances, Arenado has basically reached career bests in almost every offensive category. Currently, he has a slashline of .337/.387/.617. He has blasted 16 home runs, has a 140 wRC+, and 142 OPS+. Although he is below average in sprint speed, Arenado has actually been an above average base runner this year with 2.2 baserunning runs above average. Nolan is striking out less in 2019 as well. Currently, he has a K% of a miniscule 10.4%. That’s 2% better than his previous low. Again, Arenado is showing off the glove. While he had a bit of a down year last season, Arenado is on pace for a better defensive season with 3 DRS, 4.7 UZR, and a .4 dWAR.
- Kyle Hendricks:
Hendricks, like Pressley, was a fairly under the radar signing,and the Cubs have gotten their return on investment. This 4 year, $55 million extensions came off the heels of a strong 3 year stretch that included a 2.86 ERA, 3.60 FIP, and 1.097 WHIP in 528 and two thirds innings. He had shown great control in those 3 seasons, having a 2.2 BB/9, and HR/9 rate of just .9. While he wasn’t a big strikeout guy, Hendricks still had a solid K/9 rate of 7.7 and a K/BB ratio of 3.55 This stretch was highlighted by a 3rd place finish in Cy Young voting in 2016.
Hendricks yet again is putting up another strong campaign as one of the Cubs’ best rotation arms. Through his first 77 innings, Hendricks has a 3.16 ERA, 3.19 FIP, and 1.104 WHIP. Hendricks has seen an increase in strikeouts with 8.1 per 9 (which would be a career high) while also seeing a decrease in walks with 1.6 per 9 (which would be a career low). He has also given up just 7 long balls.
- Paul Goldschmidt:
Goldy would have been a free agent like Arenado if it weren’t for his 5 year, $130 million extension by the Cardinals. The longtime Diamondback first baseman had put up an outstanding .299/.400/.534 with 201 home runs, 120 stolen bases, and a 146 OPS+ between his breakout 2012 season to 2018, his last season as a Diamondback (a total of 4531 plate appearances). Goldy had also showed off his defensive prowess, having 53 DRS at first base in the same time span. Goldschmidt had just come off another MVP level season with the D-Backs in ‘18. In 690 PA’s, Goldy had put up yet another strong slashline of .290/.389/.533 with 33 long balls, and 145 wRC+. He was also worth 6 DRS at first to add on.
While Paul hasn’t been elite like he was for the 7 year run with the D-Backs, he has been solid to say the least. Currently with the Cardinals, Goldschmidt has a .271/.358/.445 line with 12 home runs, and a 115 wRC+. He has also been average with the glove having just 0 DRS.
- Blake Snell:
The Rays gave Snell a 4 year, $49.42 million extensions fresh off a Cy Young season. During his ‘18 breakout year, Snell pitched to a fantastic 1.89 ERA, 2.95 FIP, and .974 WHIP. He had struck out 11 batters per 9 over a 180 and two third inning stretch, while walking just 3.2 batters per 9. Hits were almost a non-issue for Blake as he led the league with a 5.6 hits/9 rate. He had led the AL in ERA+ with 219.
Although Snell is still putting up good results in 2019, he’s seen a bit of regression, which is expected. I don’t think anybody was expecting him to repeat a 1.89 ERA. Through 66 innings, Snell has a 3.68 ERA and 1.2 HR/9, but still has a strong 3.07 FIP, 1.106 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, and a xFIP of 2.67. Snell was placed on the IL for a short amount of time this season, so his decrease in performance might be caused from an injury. Regardless, Snell is still a young starter with a very bright future.
- Jose Leclerc:
Leclerc seemed like a fine extension candidate. The flamethrowing right hander was only going to be 25 for the entirety of the 2019 season, and he had just come off a strong 2018 year where he took over closer duties after the Rangers had sent Keone Kela to the Pirates. In his breakout ‘18 season, Leclerc had a miniscule 1.56 ERA, 1.90 FIP, and .850 WHIP in 57 and two thirds innings. He was very impressive in terms of control. Control is something Leclerc had always lacked. Combined in 2016 and 2017, Jose had a BB/9 of 7.9. In 2018, he had a BB/9 of just 3.9. What hasn’t been an issue is home runs and strikeouts, which he gave up just 1 long ball last season, while striking out 85 batters.
Leclerc got off to a rough start to 2019. Through the first month of the season, Leclerc had a 8.44 ERA, and an opponent OPS of 1.055. That was through 10 and two third innings. But after a IL placement and being removed from the closer role, Leclerc has bounced back the past month or so. In his last 17 and a third innings, the righty has a 2.76 ERA, and opponent OPS of just .433. The Rangers have recently stated that if he keeps this up, Leclerc could regain the closer role.
- Whit Merrifield:
Merrifield silently put up a great 2018 season. In 707 plate appearances, Merrifield hit an for a fine slashline of .305/.367/.438. Merrifield showed he could hit for some power with 12 long balls, but also showed great speed and baserunning ability with a league leading 45 stolen bases. He ranked 6th among all second basemen in wRC+ with 120. Merrifield is was also a top defensive infielder too. At second, the speedy Royal had 8 DRS, 1.1 UZR. While he wasn’t as good in the outfield as to second, he could still hold his own. In total, he was worth 1.1 dWAR.
Merrifield received a 4 year, $16.25 million extension for his efforts, and it’s paying off for the Royals. Whit has, again, been putting up very good numbers. Currently, he has a .295/.346/.487 line with 7 long balls, 8 stolen bases in 283 plate appearances. Merrifield has been worth 118 wRC+ as well. While Merrifield was mainly a 2B in 2018, he has seen a lot more time in the grass in ‘19. He has almost evenly split time between the infield and outfield. Overall, he’s been about average defensively with 0.0 dWAR. The extension is helpful for all parties involved. It is a very team friendly extension, which could attract teams looking for an elite 2B. The Royals might be looking to shop off Merrifield at the deadline this season, and they could get a very good haul for him if he is traded.