As the New York Yankees can probably tell you right now, it’s important to lock up young talent in MLB before it is too late.
The Yanks had a stellar rookie hit 52 home runs and compete for the AL MVP award in 2017, but could never sign him to an extension, probably worried about some minor health issues.
Now, because they didn’t sign him before, he stands to make at least $320 million in free agency.
The Atlanta Braves and the Seattle Mariners, on the other hand, did their homework and locked up impressive rookies before his cost was prohibitive.
The two Rookie of the Year winners, Julio Rodriguez and Michael Harris, signed $191.3 million in base contract extensions during the season.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 15, 2022
Harris, who just won the NL ROY, put pen to paper on an eight-year, $72 million contract.
For young players making around $700,000 for their first three seasons, setting themselves up for life with $72 million guaranteed is a great opportunity.
Atlanta And Seattle Secured Their Assets
Of course, at the end of the day, it’s a team-friendly deal because Harris, if he plays like he did this year, could have aspired for more than $20 million per season in the open market.
The Seattle Mariners gave the AL ROY Rodriguez $119.3 million in base value.
The amount of guaranteed money is $209.3 million if we include his player option in 2030.
Based on escalators and other variables, his deal could earn him as much as $470 million in a best-case scenario.
The Mariners covered themselves with a club option, but Rodriguez also covered himself with a five-year player option if the club declines its side after the 2028 campaign.
The important takeaway here is that both the Braves and the Mariners recognized value when they saw it and acted in consequence.
It’s a cautionary tale for the rest of the league.