In The Mood For Big Contract Extensions

This off-season the Colorado Rockies have given out around $230 million in contract extensions to players, extensions that will have the team on the hook for guaranteed salaries for the next decade. These moves to wrap up two young players and keep them under team control can be debated for their sanity when it comes to length and money, but the Rockies are making a bold statement that the players they consider essential will be taken care of.

Whether these were good moves remains to be seen, and may not be known for many years. The trend in baseball seems to be to sign good young players long term at a younger and younger age. The Braves did this with Brian McCann after just one and half years of Major League service, giving him a six-year deal. They tried to do this with Jeff Francoeur as well, but everyone except for Francoeur is glad he didn't accept.

The decision to sign McCann long term has been a good one, and with three more years remaining on his contract, the team still has him under control through the prime years of his career. So should the Braves be making a move to sign some of their other young players to long term deals?

Both Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens enter their first year of salary arbitration this off-season. The Braves control them for three more years, but should the team make an attempt to keep them around longer? Prado has been a valuable and flexible player for the Braves, and if the team is willing (as they seem to be, though they are taking their time) to sign Dan Uggla to a multi-year extension, why not sign Prado? Actually, should the Braves sign Prado to an extension over signing Uggla to an extension? Or can they sign both players (both primarily second basemen) when they still have Chipper Jones under contract through at least 2012, and possibly 2013?

How about some of the younger pre-arbitration eligible players? Tommy Hanson certainly has ace-type stuff. Wouldn't it be wise to sign him to a long-term contract now, rather than wait until he has a couple of really great years under his belt and can demand more? And what about Jason Heyward? He certainly seems to be the future of the organization, and as a Super-2 arbitration player he has four years of arbitration ahead of him, so signing him to a long-term contract could save both sides from the pain of multiple arbitration hearings.

We're in the part of the hot stove season where arbitration cases will get resolved and teams and players will agree to all sorts of contracts. It will be interesting to see which players the Braves choose to sign to long term deals, and which players the team will be content to go year to year with. Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Are you in the mood for the Braves to be giving out huge long-term deals?

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