From the MLBTR mailbag...
"Manny Machado recently told beat reporters he would ?hope they keep me here long term.? What kind of contract extension would Machado be looking at if the O?s moved on it before this season? During the season? Waiting until after the season? ? Carlos O.
Machado is earning $5MM after avoiding arbitration for the first time this winter, and he?s statistically close enough to Josh Donaldson that I don?t mind using the two for a rough comparison. Donaldson signed his second and third arbitration years away for a combined $28.65MM, and also had the benefit of qualifying as a Super Two to boost his starting point. Machado doesn?t have an MVP or 40-homer season under his belt, and he hasn?t played his first full arbitration season yet, so we can probably discount Donaldson?s deal somewhat when looking at the arb years. That being said, I don?t think $26MM for Machado?s final two arbitration seasons is outlandish, and from there you have to look at pricing him as an elite talent ? something along the lines of $25MM+ per season ? who is set to hit the market in advance of his age-26 season.
Quite honestly, I don?t even see how an extension is possible without the Orioles caving on their stance against opt-out clauses. The way the game is trending, especially in terms of long-term contracts for young players, an opt-out would seem almost like a requirement. Giancarlo Stanton, Jason Heyward, Clayton Kershaw, Masahiro Tanaka, Elvis Andrus, and Justin Upton all represent players that signed long term contracts at young ages (whether via free agency or extension), and each secured an opt-out clause in his deal. If the 2015 season, or even 90 percent of that production, becomes the norm for Machado going forward, he should have an easy case for $300MM or more in free agency. Given that, an extension for him right now should easily top $200MM and include an opt-out clause after his second and/or third would-be free-agent year. Given his age, and with two 6+ WAR seasons already under his belt, Machado?s agents could be looking to the Stanton contract as a comparable (though it was signed one service year later in his career)."