What do Matt Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Stephen Piscotty, and Paul DeJong all have in common aside from being former Cardinals? Each player was given an extension to buy out his arbitration years.
Buying out arbitration years is like watching two double-edged swords meet head-to-head. For the teams, it's a bit of a gamble; they may save money in the long run if the player continues to develop well and beat out market value, but the team will be paying more than if they had continued to go through arbitration with that player.
For the player, he gets financial assurance for many years, but he could be sacrificing some money down the road if he were to continue to rise in performance. With Paul DeJong's extension having expired and Tommy Edman recently getting his contract extension, I wanted to take a look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly of arbitration extensions during John Mozeliak's tenure.
Unsurprisingly (possibly), John Mozeliak has actually done quite well in the aggregate when it comes to extending players during their arbitration eligibility. Players such as Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, and Matt Carpenter paid dividends after having their arb years bought out.
The chart below includes players who were given extensions, the year in which the extension was given, the terms of their contracts, their fWAR totals during their extension, and how many years of arbitration were bought out at the time. I'm only including extensions since Mozeliak's promotion to the head of baseball operations in October of 2007.
Year of extension
# of Arb years
fWAR during contract
Mozeliak has given out eleven contract extensions to players during their arbitration years. Some have been extremely beneficial for the team, others have been so-so, and a couple have been ugly. Let's take a look at each of these and break down the after-effects of the arbitration extension.