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 ...

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