MLB Players That Earned Extensions for the 2022 Season

By Anthony Haage in Sports
| September 15, 2021 1:01 pm PDT

The end of the 2021 MLB season is near. For some teams, they have some impending free agents who need to be extended. 

Some players have been doing really well for their teams and losing them to free agency would be a major blow. They need to start talking about an extension so that they can get another year or more of production from that player.

Let’s look at the players who are worthy of an extension.

Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves

If there is any one the Braves absolutely need to resign, it is Freddie Freeman. He has been the face of the Braves for a while now and his contract comes to an end at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

The Braves have set themselves up pretty nicely behind Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies team friendly contracts, while Freeman is due for a big pay day. I’m sure Freeman wants to stay with the Braves, but I’m not sure what the Braves are willing to offer him.

Since Acuna, Albies, and Ozuna are all locked up for at least 2024, Freeman could be extended to around then as well.

Freeman is the perfect player to have those other batters around, because of his handedness. Acuna, Ozuna, Austin Riley, Travis d’Arnaud, Dansby Swanson, Adam Duvall, are all under contract for at least one more year and they are all righties (Albies too if you count switch hitters).

Freeman helps balance out the righty heavy lineup with his left handedness as well as his high level of play. He won the NL MVP in the shortened 2020 season and is still at the top of his game. 

If the Braves lost Freeman, that would be terrible for their World Series and even playoff odds for next season.

I doubt the Braves will let that happen, but the question is, how long and how much will they pay him? He is 31, but the contract flexibility of Albies and Acuna can allow the Braves to pay Freeman a big amount and still be fine.

San Francisco Giants (Kris Bryant and Kevin Gausman)

The Giants are dominating this year when almost nobody expected them to. Gausman accepted the Qualifying Offer by the Giants last season and has been amazing since then.

He won’t be eligible for the Qualifying Offer for this season, which means the Giants need to extend him. He has been a big part of their rotation and success and has earned himself at least another season in a Giants’ uniform.

Another player that the Giants should extend is Kris Bryant. Bryant was acquired by the Giants at the trade deadline, and he has been rock-solid for them. Although he hasn’t gotten exactly red hot, he still should be offered an extension by the Giants.

The Giants weren’t supposed to be this good this year, but they are. They also still have a great farm system, which is why Bryant needs to be offered a long-term extension.

The Giants can cement themselves into contention with Bryant under team control for the next couple seasons and get even better when their top prospects are called up (or traded for better pieces).

Bryant makes a ton of sense for the Giants, as he can play a bunch of positions (which helps other players stay healthy and get playing time) and helps balance out a lefty heavy lineup.

Starling Marte, OF, Oakland Athletics

Marte is another player who was acquired at the trade deadline, but this time in Oakland. Marte came over from the Marlins and has been great for the A’s.

He provides amazing outfield defense, and hit for a very high average (.322 in 2021). He is a great player and the A’s would be stupid to not at least consider offering him an extension.

Marte came over at the cost of the A’s and MLBs top prospects, pitcher Jesus Luzardo. Luzardo is very young and has not been exactly great this season (6.72 ERA), but he is still very much a prospect.

The 23-year-old could be a great pitcher very soon, but the A’s gave up on him already.

Marte was only under contract for the rest of this season, so it would be terrible for the A’s to give up such a great prospect for half a season.

If they win the World Series then maybe it was worth it, but they are struggling to even push for the playoffs at this point. They need to extend Marte so they won’t be too big of losers when Luzardo gets better.

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, New York Yankees

The Yankees made a huge splash at the deadline, acquiring two big hitting lefties in Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo.

Gallo is still technically under contract (ARB 3 in 2022), while Rizzo could potentially walk. Gallo and Rizzo do a great job of balancing out the big righties in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

Rizzo has been better than Gallo has, so they should favor a Rizzo extension over a Gallo extension next season.

Rizzo brings great defense at first base, great hitting stats, and something the Yankees struggle with mightily – endurance.

He is on track to play another 140+ games this season between the Cubs and Yankees, which would make it his eighth year in a row (not counting a shortened 2019 season, in which he played 58 out of 60 games).

Rizzo would be a great fit for the Yankees moving forward.

Robbie Ray, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Ray was acquired by the Blue Jays at the 2020 trade deadline from the Diamondbacks. He has been amazing in their rotation this season, pitching to an ERA of 2.69, with an elite K/9 of 11.62.

With the Blue Jays getting closer and closer to the playoffs, their success could be threatened if they let Ray walk in the offseason. Jose Berrios and Steven Matz have been good for the Blue Jays in their rotation as well, but nobody has been as good as Ray.

If they let their best pitcher from this season (ERA wise) walk, they could have a problem with allowing runs in 2022.

We know how good the offense of the Blue Jays is, but they could take it to the next level with their pitching staff and become one of the best teams in the league. If they don’t resign Ray, that would make it very difficult for them in 2022.

Chris Taylor, 2B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Now Chris Taylor isn’t going to make or break any lineup, but he has been a great player for the Dodgers and has earned the right to an extension. The Dodgers have the highest payroll in baseball, and they should find a way to hold on to Chris Taylor.

Taylor is like Anthony Rizzo, a steady and durable player. He can also play multiple positions, which helps with the Dodgers injury issues that they have every year.

Taylor won’t be a super expensive player, but he is the type of player necessary to keep your lineup as healthy as possible for the entire length of the season.

He isn’t just a utility bench player either, he is a quality bat to have hitting anywhere in your lineup. His slash line is an impressive .258/.346/.450 with 20 home runs in 2021.

The Dodgers need to extend Taylor, especially since Corey Seager may be on the move after this season.

Other MLB Players that Could Use Extensions

Here are some other players that these teams could also look to resign.

  • Jorge Soler, DH, Atlanta Braves
  • Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants
  • Mark Canha, 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics
  • Marcus Semien, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

All these teams are ready for contention this year and in the future. If they let these certain players walk in free agency, they could be putting that at risk.

They need to heavily consider resigning these players who have been great for them in 2021 and will be a big part of their future.

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