2. White Sox SP Dylan Cease
Even though the White Sox are having a rough year, Dylan Cease has been a bright spot for the team. So much so, that he is in the Cy Young conversation. The White Sox have a solid foundation of young talent, so it makes sense to lock up their Cy Young hopeful as they continue to try and get to a competitive level.
Cease has put up amazing numbers in 2022, appearing to break out with a 1.96 ERA (201 ERA+), 2.75 FIP and 1.142 FIP while striking out 12.2 batters per 9 innings.
When a player is extended, it is for how they are going to perform in the future, not the past. So, it only makes sense to look at expectancy stats to see if the way he is pitching will hold up.
Spoiler alert, they do. According to Statcast, Cease is in the top 6% or better in the league in expected ERA, batting average against, slugging% against, and weighted on-base average against. All signs point to his excellent numbers not being based on luck.
The White Sox appear to have a legitimate ace on their hands, and if they can get an extension done now, it could benefit them for many years to come.
1. Marlins SP Sandy Alcantara
The current front-runner for the NL Cy Young award, it may seem like a long shot for the Marlins to be able to lock up Sandy Alcantara long-term, especially since they do not seem to want to spend a lot of money. However, Alcantara is exactly the type of player to take a gamble on with a long-term deal.
Alcantara is not a free agent until 2027, so the Marlins could benefit greatly in terms of locking up a core member for years to come if they sign him right now, but also could save money with rising inflation every year. He has technically been extended already being on a 5-year, $56 million deal with a team option for 2027.
Although the Marlins have locked him up through 2027, he is going to cost significantly more in free agency if he keeps pitching like he is this year. It could greatly benefit them if they can re-work the deal and extend him out even further with more guaranteed money.
Typically, players favor guaranteed total money over AAV, so this could be a situation where they extend him out further than 2027 while giving him a raise and more guaranteed money, all the while gambling that they could get him well below market value for the years of free agency that they bought out.
Of course, Alcantara would need to agree to an extension, and the money would need to be right, but it makes sense to lock him up now before he has another excellent season and his market value goes up in terms of dollars.
Sandy Alcantara currently leads all starting pitchers in WAR (6.8) with a 211 ERA+, all while facing more batters than any other pitcher in the league. He owns a 2.81 FIP, 0.942 WHIP, and 7.9 strikeouts per 9 innings.