Thursday, January 12, 2012

Extension Talk

At this point in time baseball talk is at a bit of a calm before the storm - Fielder hasn't signed yet, the trade market is at a stand still, and players are into their last month of the off-season. And over the past few weeks there have been several extension discussions (both local and national media) about some of the Nats upper-caliber players. Let's dig into a few of these and see if they make sense for the ballclub.

Michael Morse: MLB Trade Rumors
- Morse is a unique candidate with no real comps in recent memory, MLBTR makes this point more than anything because it would be extremely difficult for both agent and team to see what exactly the player is worth. His 2010 and 2011 campaigns are well documented, but what he lacks is a long track record of success - working into the teams' favor. The fact remains that Morse will be 30 in March and is still under team control for another two seasons. Tim Dierkes of MLBTR suggests a 3-year/$18.5 Million deal, with the Nats trying to get a $10 Million option for the next year. Morse is pretty much at the tail of his peak, but looking at his value the past two years (tied to WAR) this would be a very team-friendly deal.

John Lannan: Adam Kilgore - Washington Post
- This is kind of awkward... John Lannan has been the Nats Opening Day starter in both 2009 and 2010 - only to get the yips and need a little time at Harrisburg to work out some kinks. Coming into the 2012 season however, Lannan is going into Spring Training in competition for the 5th spot against fellow lefty Ross Detwiler. Kilgore argues that Lannan's durability is just a valuable to the club as his numbers; he isn't necessarily wrong. It should be noted that Lannan has two more years of club control before reaching free agency. Adam Kilgore suggests that something around 3-years/$20 Million to be an appropriate deal. I can't see a player that might be the odd man out come Opening Day (love the options game) getting a $20 Million dollar extension.

Tyler Clippard: MLB Trade Rumors
- Like Michael Morse, Tyler Clippard poses a very rare case in terms of potential future earnings due to a variety of factors. Working in the teams' favor, Clippard isn't a closer and therefore he doesn't have saves to pad his resume in an arbitration hearing - saving the ballclub money. Although he has been one of the top relievers in all of baseball, closer or not, the market doesn't really reward non-closer relievers top dollar or multi-year deals. We have written in this space several times about how Tyler Clippard is not human; citing durability and freakish stats. Rizzo and company usually don't do multi-year deals for relievers, but Dierkes writes that Clippard's numbers have only improved - and that he is only 27 years-old. Based on his projected 2012 Arbitration amount, MLBTR suggests a 2-year/$4.5 Million or 3-year/8$ Million deal for the bespectacled reliever.

For the record - I would take the Clippard and Morse deals and hold off on Lannan.

Which of these deals would you take? Who else would you extend on the Nats (be more creative than Zimmerman(n))?

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