How a Goldy deal affects Rendon, Donaldson, J.D.

Recent contract extensions reshaping next offseason's market

March 22nd, 2019

Another day, another extension. Two of them, actually.

, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, agreed to a five-year, $50 million contract with the Rays on Thursday, a deal that will cover all three of his salary-arbitration years and one of his free-agent seasons.

Later in the day, news broke that the Cardinals and were closing in on an extension of their own, one that would reportedly pay the first baseman around $130 million over at least five years.

Snell's deal won't have any immediate impact on next year's free-agent market, but Goldschmidt's certainly will. The six-time All-Star is the latest in what is becoming a long line of impending free agents to agree to a new deal with his current team, removing another shiny name from next year’s market.

was expected to be the crown jewel of the 2019-20 class, but he inked a massive extension with the Rockies this spring that will pay him $260 million over the next eight seasons.

' breakout 2018 campaign had put him in a position to cash in next offseason, but the Yankees' 29-year-old center fielder signed a seven-year, $70 million extension with a club option that could keep him in pinstripes through his age-35 season.

Here's a look at how Goldschmidt's deal affects the rest of next year's free-agent class.

What does this mean for next offseason's suddenly shrinking free-agent market?

For starters, arguably the two biggest power bats -- Arenado and Goldschmidt -- have been taken off the market, meaning teams looking for middle-of-the-lineup help will have to either turn to the trade market or place a free-agent bet on other players, some of whom are on the wrong side of 30.

There are still a number of impact 30-and-under position players slated to become free agents next fall, especially on the left side of the infield, where , and are all entering their final year of club control. Of course, there's been plenty of talk about the Nationals, Red Sox and Yankees trying to extend their respective players, so it remains to be seen whether any (or all) of them actually reaches free agency.

Rendon, 28, is now the top position player in next offseason's class, but the Goldy deal probably doesn't affect him that much. He's a third baseman, and the market for top third baseman was just set by Arenado and Manny Machado. Whatever deal Rendon negotiates will work off those deals as the benchmark. And since the Nationals didn't re-sign Bryce Harper, it's fair to say they could use some of the money earmarked for Harper and put it toward a Rendon extension.

Other position players who could be available include (27), (28) and (28). (31) is a bit older, but with 133 home runs over the past three years, another season of 40-plus homers should make him a popular target for power-hungry teams, especially in the AL. There has been a lot of buzz about Davis hoping to sign an extension with the A's, so stay tuned on that front.

Which hitters stand to benefit most from these extensions?
Not including the extended players, who are enjoying further riches thanks to their new contracts, a pair of veteran sluggers could find themselves as hot commodities if they're able to post bounce-back seasons in 2019: and .

Donaldson, who signed a one-year, $23 million pact with the Braves after missing all but 16 games last season due to injuries, had long been expected to be one of the biggest bats on this offseason's free-agent market. A big year from Donaldson -- who, in case you forgot, had a 36.3 WAR (per Baseball-Reference) between 2013-17 and was considered one of the top players in the game -- could put him in position to command a short-term, high average-annual-value deal next offseason. He is 33 years old, so his next deal probably won't exceed three guaranteed years.

Abreu, 32, averaged 154 games, 31 home runs, 102 RBIs and a 142 OPS+ during his first four years with the White Sox, but he missed 34 games in 2018, hitting 22 homers with 78 RBIs and a 118 OPS+. He'll be entering his age-33 season as a free agent, so while he might not be looking at a lengthy deal, a return to his pre-2018 form could make him one of the more attractive power bats available.

What about the pitchers?
This is the one area of next winter's market that still feels flush with talent, especially at the top. and are set to become free agents, and as we saw with Patrick Corbin this offseason, front-line starters are still getting paid.

The Red Sox have extended Chris Sale, according to a source, which takes the lefty off the market heading into his age-31 season. But Cole (29 next year) and Bumgarner (30) would be among the more highly sought-after players in baseball, with Zack Wheeler (30), Rick Porcello (31) and Justin Verlander (37) also likely to garner attention to varying degrees.

Are there any X-factors to consider?
There are a few notable players who can opt out of their deals and become free agents next winter. If they do, that could shake up the market in a big way.

, for example, can opt out of the final three years and $62.5 million of his deal with Boston. Should he post another MVP-type season, Martinez could decide to capitalize on the less-than-stellar market and take another shot a free agency, especially with some of the other big bats now off the board.

-- who is the highest paid player in MLB this year -- also has an opt-out, but given that he hasn't pitched more than 176 innings since 2014 and will make $45 million in '23, it seems unlikely he'll go that route. (He also has an opt-out following the '20 season.)

is another bold-faced name with an opt-out. However, with his recent health woes -- coupled with the more modest deals that relievers have gotten since Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon and Jansen all topped $60 million following the 2016 offseason -- it's hard to see him walking away from the $38 million he is owed for 2020 and '21.