Poll: Has Casas, Duran, Bello done enough to consider extensions?
Few hitters on the planet have been as hot as Triston Casas since the calendar turned to summer. Granted, it makes up for his frigid April and May.
Since June 1, the 23-year-old Casas is hitting .301 with 12 homers and 26 RBI. He was named the AL Rookie of the Month for July and is looking the part of a slugging middle-of-the-order bat.
Jarren Duran has been exactly what the team needed, a sentence I never expected to utter at the beginning of the season. But the 26-year-old has blossomed into a dynamic sparkplug atop the Sox lineup, turning routine singles into doubles, stealing bases and wreaking havoc with his speed.
And on the mound, 24-year-old Brayan Bello has turned into the de facto ace of a rotation that's been patchwork all season long.
So, should Chaim Bloom consider contract extensions for any of the trio? It's something that's becoming more popular in baseball, seeing teams lock up their young talent by effectively buying out a player's arbitration years. At the front of the contract, it's a bit of an overpay, but on the back end it turns into a steal if you can get a cornerstone player locked down early at a cheaper price.
It's how the Atlanta Braves have built their juggernaut of a team that appears set to remain intact for years to come. Ronald Acuna Jr., Austin Riley, Spencer Strider, Michael Harris and Ozzie Albies are all 26-or-younger and each are under contract on deals of at least six years or more, ranging in price from $35mil to $212mil.
Four of the contracts - Acuna Jr., Strider, Harris and Albies - were signed as pre-arbitration extensions.
Casas will remain in pre-arbitration until 2026 and won't be a free agent until '29. Duran is in pre-arb until '25 and won't taste free agency until '28, while Bello is under team control through the 2029 season.
For Chaim Bloom, it's probably still too early to make a call. While the temptation of having each of the players under cheap control on a year-to-year basis is enticing to the penny pinching Sox, isn't this whole thing about building sustainability for the future? Seems like locking up your young talent might be a path to getting there.