Who would you lock up this off season? Why? And for how much? Simmons is signed through the 2018 season I believe. Minor is signed through the 2017 season. Freeman, Beachy and Kimbrel locked up through the 2016 seasons, and Heyward, Medlen and Venters locked up through the 2015 season. That's at least three years with that entire core of youth. Uggla is also locked up for those three years. So not only is Uggla likely to be part of that core, but the relief of his salary can be expected in the first year Heyward would become a FA. O'Flaherty, Prado and McCann are signed through the 2013 seasons.
To me, the most obvious player to extend is Eric O'Flaherty. Buy out his arbitration year and extend him two more. He just posted back to back sub 1 then sub 2 ERAs, and if you're going to call that regression GFYS. It may be that he wants to pitch out his contract, hit the open market, and try to serve as a closer. God knows he's earned that right. If that isn't what he wants to do though, I think money should be used to lock him into that 8th inning role with Venters as our fireman.
Next is Prado, I absolutely believe he should be extended through the 2016 season (+3 years). For being able to stabilize our primary backup to the position he plays (because he can play everything) is invaluable, whether he starts at LF or 3B. Give him the money he deserves, and extend him for one more year than Uggla.
I'm not going to talk about McCann, because I personally think we should extend him mid season next year, after he has a strong first half, and I think that extension should be three more years after next.
Personally, I would not entertain extending anyone else. The reason for me is that I would rather spend every dollar we can these next three years complimenting this core of player and winning championships. If we win championships, and loose the 30+ mil in contracts for Uggla, McCann and Hudson (+ the FA we are about to sign), we should be able to retain the players that make sense to retain in 3-4 years.
WS or bust in the next 3 years.