MLB Rumors: Mike Minor, the Texas Rangers lefthanded starting pitcher who is in the final year of his contract, is open to discussing a contract extension this spring, per the beat guys.
This is not unexpected — Minor was vocal about not liking hearing his name in trade rumors last summer and not wanting to be dealt — and heading into his age 32 season, I am sure he would like some security about his future. Minor was a former #7 overall draft pick in 2009 and appeared to be a future top of the rotation starter for the Atlanta Braves in the early teens, but saw his career get de-railed by arm issues. After not pitching in the majors in 2015 and 2016, Minor had a terrific 2017 season as a shutdown reliever for the Kansas City Royals, then signed a 3 year, $28 million deal with the Rangers, who were one of the few teams offering him a chance to start again.
The deal has been great for the Rangers, who have gotten 11.5 bWAR and a 3.84 ERA in 60 starts from Minor in the first two years of the contract, and one has to assume that there’s going to be interest on their part in extending the relationship with Minor. The same things that are going to make Minor more inclined to extend now, however — his age, injury history and lack of an extended track record — are going to make the Rangers hesitant to go big to keep Minor around.
Its also hard to find a real good comp for Minor in this past offseason’s deals — Hyun-Jin Ryu, a lefty starter who was 32 at the end of 2019, has an extensive injury history, and who has been great when he’s been healthy, got 4 years, $80 million from the Toronto Blue Jays, while Dallas Keuchel, a lefty entering his age 32 season in 2020, signed a 3 year, $55.5 million deal with a vesting option with the Chicago White Sox. Keuchel has a better track record of health than Minor, but hasn’t been as good the past couple of years.
If I’m Minor’s agent, I use the Ryu deal as the benchmark for what I want on an extension, though I tend to think there’s little chance Texas does that. Keuchel is getting $18 million per year for three years, and then has the 2023 vesting option (it vests if he passes a physical at the end of 2022 and hits inning benchmarks at the end of 2021 and 2022) for $20 million, with a $1.5 million buyout. So would Texas do something similar to what Keuchel got?
There’s an argument to be made that the Rangers have found a rotation member who has pitched well for them, and it would be foolish not to lock him up, even with the injury and age issues. The counter to that, though, is that the Rangers have committed a lot of dollars to the other four rotation members, who are all under team control through at least 2021, and have several quality starting pitching prospects in the upper levels of the minors...and do they really want to be on the hook for almost $20 million per year for a mid-30s Mike Minor?
If the Rangers and Minor work out a deal, my guess is that it would be something in the 3 year, $50 million range with no-trade protection — the Rangers commit to keep him here long-term, and Minor gets less than what he would likely get this offseason if he has another strong season as a hedge against the possibility of injury or decline in 2020.
What the heck, let’s do a poll...would you extend Minor for 3 years, $50 million right now?
Would you give Mike Minor a 3 year, $50 million contract extension right now?
This poll is closed
Yes, I’d happily do that
Yes, but I wouldn’t be thrilled about it
No, but I’d be tempted to do so
No way on earth I’d do that