If the SF Giants and Mike Yastrzemski wanted to sign a long-term extension, what could a deal look like?
The star of the SF Giants this season, outfielder Mike Yastrzemski chatted with KNBR earlier this week. In his interview, the emergent star stated his desire to remain in San Francisco with the Giants for the foreseeable future. Of course, the left-handed slugger is not hitting the open market anytime soon. Yastrzemski is not slated to hit free agency until after 2025.
Given that he did not break out until his age-28 season, Yastrzemski is in a bit of an odd position because he will likely never experience an expensive foray into free agency. With that being said, the Giants and their star outfielder could work out a deal that is mutually beneficial.
The Giants are in a bit of an odd position too because they are not necessarily in a position where they need to work out a deal since he is under team control for the next several seasons. However, it would be a move that reflects favorably on the Giants organization as it shows that they are still interested in taking care of their own players. Furthermore, it would give them some cost certainty as they plan for the next championship core.
It bears mentioning that Yastrzemski’s contract is one of the best bargains in baseball. Since he is still pre-arbitration eligible, he is on a minimum salary contract. Before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Vanderbilt University product was slated to earn just $569,750. After pro-rated pay cuts, he ended up making less than 40% of that number in a campaign where he finished eighth in National League MVP voting.
There comes a time during a player’s rookie contract where the production vastly outperforms the contract. The Giants and Yastrzemski may be reaching that road where it makes sense to engage in good-faith negotiations that gives the player stability and the team cost certainty.
There is some recent precedent of this occurring, and the Giants do not need to look any further than the division-rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Following a strong season in which he earned a National League All-Star nod, Max Muncy agreed to an extension that bought out his remaining arbitration years. This was a three-year, $26 million with a $13 million option for 2023 that could delay his free agency by one year.
Similar to Yastrzemski, Muncy will likely never have an expensive trip through free agency, so this contract gives him a lot of stability over the next several seasons.
Still, a major difference between the two is service time. Muncy had three years of team control remaining at the time of the extension, whereas Yastrzemski has five years remaining.
Yastrzemski is potentially a Super Two candidate meaning that he will have four trips through arbitration instead of three. At that point, he will see his salary move closer in line with his on-field production.
However, this could all be avoided with an extension. I have put together what an extension might look like for the left-handed bat:
In total, it would be a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $43.25 million with an for a sixth year to add an additional $15.65 million.
Yastrzemski is slated to earn around $575,000 in 2021, so the extension would give him a sizable raise next year. Then, the following year, when he would otherwise take his first trip through arbitration, he would see his salary increase to $6.5 million.
The next three years after that, I have estimated roughly 25-35 percent annual salary increases. Finally, the option year would buy out one year of free agency for the Giants if they were willing to accept his club option.
The Giants are not in a position where they need to make this type of move. However, Yastrzemski has come out of nowhere to quickly and quietly become one of the better players in baseball.
This move gives them cost certainty as they will know exactly what Yastrzemski will earn over the next several seasons.
Of course, this would be a good move for Mike Yastrzemski as well because it gives him the type of financial stability that he has never experienced in his professional career. Despite the fact that the SF Giants do not have to meet any immediate deadlines for this, it would be a win-win move for the team and one of their best players to come together.