MLB Rumors: Jose Leclerc and the Texas Rangers have agreed to terms on a contract extension, per Evan Grant. Leclerc, 25, has just over two years of service time, and was slated to make close to league minimum this year, and would be eligible for arbitration after 2019.
Leclerc established himself as one of the best relievers in baseball last year, putting up a 1.56 ERA and a 1.90 FIP. He has always had closer stuff, with the question being whether is control would ever allow him to fully harness that stuff. He showed last year he could do that, and was identified by Jon Daniels in the offseason as part of the team’s core going forward.
Theres no word yet on terms, but I would wager this will be a four or five year deal with a team option or two on the back end. Leclerc gets financial security, and the team gets cost certainty on a really good young player.
As a side note, while this indicates the Rangers aren’t trying to move Leclerc, an extension doesn’t make him less tradeable. If the Rangers aren’t contending in July and a team wants to offer the type of package that, say, Brad Hand and Adam Cimber brought last summer, I’m sure the Rangers will listen.
UPDATE — Evan Grant says it is $14.75 million for four years guaranteed, with two option years that could make it worth $27 million. That means the remaining team control years are bought out, and the team option years are for his first two years of free agency.
UPDATE II — The team has officially announced that Leclerc has signed a four year extension with team options for 2023 and 2024. If, in fact, the team options are for roughly $6-7M per year, as the initially reports indicate, and if Leclerc replicates his 2018 success in 2019, this is an incredibly cheap contract that would make him one of the most valuable assets in baseball.