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Update on extensions around MLB

Opening Day is also the unofficial deadline for teams to sign players to long-term extensions

New York Yankees v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

MLB Rumors: Contract extensions are generally either done by Opening Day or put on hold until at least the All Star Break, and more often the end of the season. That makes today the unofficial “soft” deadline for teams to ink players — particularly players in their last year prior to free agency — to extensions. This post updates the state of contract extensions so far, and will be updated throughout the day as more news comes out.

Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford have agreed to a five year, $51 million deal, per multiple reports on the Tweetbox. Crawford, acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in the Jean Segura trade, had a career best 3.8 bWAR in 2021, putting up a career best 102 OPS+. He’s a quality defensive shortstop whose bat has come along, and this deal covers his age 27-31 seasons, from 2022-26.

The structure on the Crawford deal is interesting — he had three years of team control remaining, and he and the team had already settled on a one year, $4.85 million deal for 2022 to avoid arbitration. Under the new contract, Crawford gets a $5 million signing bonus, a $5 million 2022 salary, and then $10 million per year for 2023-25, with 2026 being for $11 million. There are no option years, though Jon Heyman reports he has a full no-trade for 2022, and a limited no-trade for 2023 and beyond, with a $1 million assignment bonus.

Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees have been talking extension, and Judge has said he has a hard deadline of first pitch on Opening Day — if there is no deal by then, he will hit the open market after 2022. Judge and the Yankees also haven’t agreed to a 2022 contract — with the lockout, arbitration cases will be taking place in the early part of the season — so if there is no extension, it would seem more likely Judge and the club will go have an arbitration hearing.

Brian Cashman just indicated, per writers on Twitter, that no deal with Judge was reached, and that the Yankees offered 7 years, $213.5 million. It is surprising to me that Cashman would go public with the Yankees’ offer, though I guess they are expecting blowback on not extending him. Given Judge’s injury history, I’m somewhat skeptical he will beat that deal this offseason.

Normally I would say that there could still possibly be a deal reached in the next few days — sometimes when something is close the sides keep talking, even with a “we are done when the season starts” declaration — but Cashman going public with the offer like that would seem to suggest that’s not the case.

The Judge situation is somewhat worth following for Rangers fans due to the fact that Joey Gallo is, like Judge, a power hitting corner outfielder who is eligible for free agency after the 2022 season. While the Yankees have been talking extension with Judge, there’s been no such rumors of extension talks with Gallo. In addition, should the Yankees end up extending Judge at some point this season, it would seem to make it much less likely that the team would look to keep Gallo long-term, given that they would already have big dollar, long term deals with a pair of COF/DH types in Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

So if you’re hoping for Gallo to come back to Texas for 2023, root for a Judge extension to come down.

In a deal that came down a couple of days ago, the Tampa Bay Rays extended center fielder Manuel Margot through 2024. Margot would have become a free agent after 2022, but instead, will receive $7 million in 2023 and $10 million in 2024.

Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes has reportedly agreed to an 8 year, $70 million contract extension, with a club option for a ninth season. That would be the biggest deal in Pirates franchise history. Hayes, 25, was a first round pick out of Concordia Lutheran in Houston, and has a career .279/.339/.431 slash line in 121 career games. He’s a terrific defender at third base with a bat that is seen as having upside.