Extentions For Players? Depends on Your Perspective

Contract extensions are in the news in our fair city with many debating about Browns’ QB Brian Hoyer’s status and other speculating whether or not the Indians should offer one to Corey Kluber.

Hoyer was offered a deal in the spring by the Browns, one that would have paid the quarterback very handsomely, but with the money based on him being a backup signal caller.  Hoyer would have received more money than he is making now, but he chose, as is his prerogative, to bet on himself.

His gamble so far has turned out to be a great one so far.  He is playing very well, has his team sitting at 3-2 on the season, and has guided the brown and orange to over 21 points in each of the games, the first time that has occurred in Cleveland since 1969.

With every win, his price tag only increases, so while he is still betting on his own performance, he is also making it very difficult for the front office not to take care of him.

Let’s say Hoyer guides the Browns into the playoffs, their first visit since 2002.  Do you really think the team will not do everything it can to reach an agreement with a hometown hero that guided the team to the post-season?

On the other hand, if Hoyer wants to be paid like an elite player at his position, the Browns can’t do that.  We would say it is doubtful Hoyer will make such a demand, he simply wants a deal like a starter.  It’s probably the only opportunity he will have in his career for a big payday.

In the NFL world of non-guaranteed contracts, some sort of compromise will be met. But if the Browns keep winning, the proverbial cash register will continue to say cha-ching for Brian Hoyer.

For the Indians, their fans tremble with fear at losing good players to other teams who can pay more money.  Since winning their last division title in 2007, the organization has dealt two Cy Young Award winners in C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee.

If Kluber doesn’t win that award in 2014, he most certainly will finish second, so fans and media alike have speculated the right-hander will get a multi-year contract this winter.

We say it would be prudent if the Indians simply waited.

Why?  Unlike Hoyer, who has been in the NFL was several years and can be a free agent at the end of the season, Kluber has spent just two full years in the big leagues, and isn’t even eligible for arbitration until 2016.

With the volatility of pitchers, what happens if the Tribe gave Kluber a four-year deal even at modest money only to see him become a back of the rotation starter or worse?

The Tribe should give Kluber another one year deal for 2015 with a good-sized raise and find out exactly what they have.  If Kluber has another excellent season, he still is under club control until 2019, so he can’t go anywhere and the Indians aren’t on the hook for a bad deal.

We understand that doesn’t seem fair after his outstanding season, but he also pitched more innings than ever before and no one knows how his arm will handle the after effects of that.

As much as we all love sports, it still is a business for the owners.  And although we question the spending habits of the Dolans, there is simply no reason to make a long-term deal with a pitcher until you have to or until the pitcher shows a proven track record.

There is no need to be in a rush for either team, but Hoyer’s impending free agency doesn’t afford the Browns that luxury.

MW

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