The Julio Rodríguez long-term extension by the Seattle Mariners is an example of a popular trend in baseball where teams are extending young players with minimal time. Could the SF Giants follow that same approach with some of their younger players?
3 young SF Giants players who should receive an extension
This is not to say that Rodríguez did not deserve his extension. He has been absolutely fantastic in his rookie season, slashing .267/.326/.467 (130 OPS+) with 20 home runs, 64 RBI, and 64 runs while being worth 4.3 bWAR in 463 plate appearances. He earned an American League All-Star nod and will likely take home the Rookie of the Year award as well.
Simply put, the 21-year-old prospect looks like the face of the Mariners and he will remain in Seattle for years to come. Of course, there is an element of risk that is involved as there is a very small sample with which to evaluate. Nevertheless, Rodríguez has shined brightly in his brief career in the majors.
Do the Giants have any young players that they could follow a similar approach with? Perhaps, it would not be a 12-year extension like the Mariners just did, but rather to keep a young player in a Giants uniform for years to come, including potentially buying out a couple of free-agent years.
Logan Webb is on a trajectory where he is going to make a lot of money in his career. Since the start of the 2021 season, the right-handed hurler has posted a 3.20 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 3.54 SO/W ratio, and a 59.4 percent ground ball rate in 53 appearances. He ranks in the top-10 among qualified National League starters in ERA (7th), FIP (5th), and ground ball rate (1st) during that span.
It is a shame that he was not selected to the National League All-Star team this season because that is an achievement that he could have used to build a case for a raise as he is arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason.
He is going to receive a nice raise regardless of whether he made the All-Star team, but it is a trait that could have strengthened his case. Over the next three seasons after this one, Webb will be in line for a raise, but it will not accurately capture market value. Service time is generally a factor in arbitration that tends to create a ceiling that a player can expect to see in terms of salary in their first trip through arbitration.
The Giants could create some goodwill by rewarding a pitcher, especially a local one, who has been one of the best in the league for the past two seasons. As Webb inches closer to free agency, the question regarding an extension will grow louder.
In a lot of ways, the Giants have become stale due in part to the fact that they do not have enough homegrown players to support. On the other hand, there has been a lot of fan equity invested in Webb since the Giants selected him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft out of Rocklin High School in Rocklin, California.
Giants fans want more players like Webb because he was developed through the farm system and has become a key piece of the future. Plus, the year-to-year approach that the front office tends to take with roster-building makes it more difficult to root for some of the players they bring in because the fans do not know them.
That is not the case with Webb and they should try to extend him in a way that buys out one or two free-agent seasons.