All at once the San Francisco Giants front office took care of two critical player arbitration signings in preparation for the 2013 season opener.
San Francisco announced today they have avoided arbitration with MVP catcher Buster Posey and right fielder Hunter Pence.
Posey signed a one year $8 million contract for 2013, leaving his status over his three remaining years of arbitration and team control to be determined. It is obvious the Giants should be thinking seriously about signing Posey to a long-term deal along the lines that Tampa Bay recently worked out with Evan Longoria or the Mets completed with David Wright.
An excellent overview of a Buster Posey extension was done here by Steve Adams of MLB TradeRumors. The essential question is how many of Posey's free agent years beyond 2016 do the Giants want to purchase?
Even a six year deal would easily pass the $100 million point, but that shouldn't be a problem for a big market top 10 payroll team like the Giants. The smart play here would be to lock up Posey for 6-8 years before Brian Sabean finds himself paying for a series of year-to-year arbitration settlements, and then have to deal with Posey's impending free agency at 2016 prices.
The other big move this week was the team's arbitration settlement with Hunter Pence.
Pence signed a one year $13.8 million deal to remain San Francisco's starting right fielder. Pence will become a free agent at the end of the season and speculation about a deal extension obviously depends on what Pence does the first half of this season as well as the ongoing development of several potentially outstanding Giant outfield prospects.
The big name left on the arbitration tote board is Sergio Romo who made $1.575 million last season and is looking at free agency in 2015.
Romo is an excellent candidate for a multi-year extension that would eat up his last two arbitration years and maybe two free agent years. Even though the Giants' payroll may be nearing its 2013 ceiling, locking up key players for a period of years now will create significant cost savings in payrolls for years to come.
Joaquin Arias, Clay Hensley and Gregor Blanco are also standing in the arbitration line but there's little doubt the San Francisco front office will work out contract deals with all three before they come close to sitting down in front of an arbitrator.
Of course the signing (or not) of closer Brian Wilson will end up being the biggest story between now and Spring Training. I can't wait to see him standing next to Mr. Met in that parking lot centerpiece known as Citi Field.