The value of extensions are often distorted by unfair comparisons to free agency. When a guy signs a pre-free agency extension, the reaction is usually that the team got a huge deal, due to the low cost in comparison to the outrageous free agent contracts.
Take Andrew McCutchen as an example. That extension -- $51.5 M for six years -- is seen as a massive value, especially when guys like Jacoby Ellsbury are getting $150 M contracts. McCutchen's deal is a value, but only because he's living up to the deal and exceeding the deal. At the time he signed the deal, it just looked like it was market rate for a guy with his service time and his production. The reason $51.5 M was considered market rate for guys like McCutchen, and others who signed similar deals (Jay Bruce, for one), is because of the risk involved.
Teams control a player's rights until that player has six years of service time. In most cases, the team will get a player for six full seasons, plus one partial season. Until...
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.