First Pitch

First Pitch: The Death of Free Agency

First Pitch: The Death of Free Agency

Yesterday the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to an extension with right-handed pitcher Chris Archer, getting control of two of his free agent years in the process. Archer becomes the 15th player during the 2014 calendar year to sign an extension that buys out control of at least one free agent year. The Pittsburgh Pirates made one of those deals, extending Starling Marte two weeks ago.

There have been a lot of extensions of this nature around baseball this off-season. In total there have been 19 extensions that bought out control of at least one year of free agency. In total, MLB teams have combined to guarantee $1.018 billion dollars since the start of the off-season on these extensions. That doesn't include the potential amount of the option years, which are usually the most expensive part of the deal if they're picked up.

This isn't a new trend in baseball. Here are the extension counts, per year, that bought out at least one year of free agency.

2014: 15 (through 4/3)

2013: 19
...

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Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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