The San Francisco Giants have done a good job of locking up their young pitchers where they felt appropriate. Last year they signed Matt Cain to a six-year, $127.5 million contract extension and Madison Bumgarner to a five-year, $35 million contract extension with options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Teams will discuss contract extensions with players for numerous reasons. Long-term deals give a team financial stability as they don’t have to worry about arbitration cases raising a player’s salary out of their budget range. Long-term contracts also can create a real bargain for a team if they signed a young player to a relatively inexpensive deal at the right time.
Players benefit from long-term contracts for similar reasons. If a player decides to sign a contract, like Bumgarner did, he establishes financial security for himself with a guaranteed contract. If he gets hurt over the length of the contract or his skills or production diminish, he will still be paid the amount that was agreed upon.
There is risk for both parties, of course. A team may be stuck paying an injured or underperforming player a large amount of money. A player may sign a team-friendly contract for the security and then perform at a much higher level. In this case, the contract that he signed would have caused him to leave money on the table.
The Giants have become fairly adept at determining when and how to approach these delicate contract situations. Here are four players that could possibly be looking at contract extensions if they play well in 2013.