With spring training games starting up this weekend, baseball's offseason is coming to an official close. With that in mind, Fanrag's Jon Heyman handed out grades for every team.
He gives the Milwaukee Brewers a C for their offseason moves, but the most interesting thing about the column is in the 'Around the Majors' notes at the end, where he reports the Brewers tried to sign Jonathan Villar to an extension following his breakout 2016 season:
The Brewers floated an extension in the $20 million range for Jonathan Villar, but he passed for now.
Villar hit .285/.369/.457 last year with 38 doubles and 19 home runs, while also leading the league in steals with 62.
For what it’s worth, Tom Haudricourt says neither side is publicly addressing the report.
Neither #Brewers GM David Stearns nor Jonathan Villar would comment on this report of extension talks. https://t.co/Loif97DhKR— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 23, 2017
Villar will make close to the league minimum this year in his final season as a pre-arbitration player. He'll be arb-eligible for the first time next season, so any extension talks likely would have included buying out at least a couple of those seasons, offering the team a bit of cost control.
However, considering Villar's performance, he could end up commanding salaries totaling much more than $20 million over a two, three or four year deal (Heyman doesn't mention what the length of the offer was) if he stays on his current trajectory.
If you're wondering what Villar might command past this season, for the sake of (very loose) comparison, Scooter Gennett will earn more than $2.5 million this year after signing a deal to avoid his first arbitration hearing. Former Brewer Jean Segura made $2.6 million last year in his first year of arbitration eligibility, and will make $6.2 million this year in Seattle. In an interesting side note, Segura was offered a similar early contract extension offer in the spring of 2013.
Needless to say, if Villar keeps stealing 50+ bases a year with good on base skills and power, he'll be worth a lot more than what the Brewers reportedly offered this winter. You can't fault the Brewers for trying to lock him into a very team-friendly deal, but you also can't fault Villar for betting on himself.
The "for now" included in Heyman's note would seem to indicate he'd still be open for future extension negotiations. Stay tuned.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference