As Bleacher Report MLB Lead Writer Joe Giglio wrote March 7, big-market clubs that have commonly relied on the free-agent market to fill holes could be at a disadvantage if teams continue to lock up their best young players to long-term contracts.
In a matter of three weeks, the Atlanta Braves recently signed four of their core players—Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel, Andrelton Simmons and Julio Teheran—to contract extensions that will push their free agency back at least one season.
Clayton Kershaw and Homer Bailey could've very likely been the top two starting pitchers on next offseason's free-agent market. Instead, each signed long-term contract extensions this offseason to keep them in Los Angeles and Cincinnati, respectively, for the next several years.
The St. Louis Cardinals have locked up All-Star Matt Carpenter to a six-year contract extension that pushes his free agency back two seasons, as reported by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Despite contrary accounts, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports recently reported that the Los Angeles Angels and superstar Mike Trout were discussing a six-year contract extension that would pay him in the neighborhood of $150 million.
While the aforementioned contracts don't necessarily appear to be the most team-friendly deals when compared to others around the league, they can quickly turn "team-friendly" as long as player contracts continue to rise and these players continue to live up to expectations.
That is already the case for several players around the league who signed contract extensions well before becoming eligible for free agency or, in some cases, who signed a major league free-agent deal after coming over from Cuba, Japan or Korea.
Here are the 10 most team-friendly MLB deals.