PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Sometime Thursday evening, after word spread that the Cardinals and Paul Goldschmidt had reached an agreement on a five-year extension, manager Mike Shildt called his All-Star first baseman.
The two had talked earlier about Goldschmidt’s plan to play the following day so that he could keep the timing he felt he had found. But with a physical to take Friday morning and an understanding that there could be questions and distractions throughout the day, Shildt deferred the final decision to Goldschmidt.
“Let’s play,” Goldschmidt responded.
And so he did, going 3-for-4 and falling a single short of the cycle in a 15-5 bludgeoning of the Mets that occurred while Goldschmidt’s new long-term contract was being finalized. The deal, which will reportedly be worth a franchise-record $130 million, is expected to be formally announced at a press conference on Saturday.
 
Paul Goldschmidt agrees to a five-year, $130M extension with Cardinals
 
“Something is pretty close,” Goldschmidt said, dancing delicately around the topic on Friday afternoon. “Hopefully something will happen soon.”
While Goldschmidt asked to delay questions about the timing of these negotiations until after the team’s announcement, he did speak about his seamless transition into a new clubhouse this spring.
“It’s been great here -- the whole organization from top to bottom,” Goldschmidt said. “They were very welcoming. Such a great core here, I think, so it’s easy to come in as an outsider and just fit in. There has been a lot of success, guys who have won World Series as players and coaches. Just kind of fall in line and follow their lead.”
What he saw on the field also left a strong impression.
“I think [the talent level] just confirmed what I saw from the outside,” Goldschmidt said. “I remember last year [watching] the Cardinals [and noticing] there was a little bit of a turnover from where it went from being a little older team to a lot of really young guys. This team has the opportunity to be good for the next five or six years, because all these guys have only been in the big leagues for one year or two years. They’re guys who are still under contract for a couple years. The organization has potentially set itself up to be successful.”
That was a selling point, certainly, for a player whose next contract could take him to the end of his career. With one year left to play on his current contract and another five covered with his new extension, Goldschmidt will be in St. Louis through his age-36 season.
It also means Goldschmidt will be one of five players in the team’s Opening Day lineup under contract through at least the 2021 season. Much of the club’s pitching talent is locked in for the long-term, too. Alex Reyes won’t be a free agent until '22. Carlos Martinez, Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks and Dakota Hudson can be under team control even longer than that.
Now the Cardinals are assured that Goldschmidt will be, too.
“It’s a huge deal,” Matt Carpenter said. “Obviously his track record speaks for itself, but his attention to detail in all phases of the game -- he’s very passionate about his defense, his baserunning, and all that stuff has an impact on everybody. He’s a very cerebral baseball player. He has very good insights on the way he sees the game. He’s just been a really good voice and one that we welcomed with opened arms.”
Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com
 
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- After announcing the signing of All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman to a $100 million extension on Friday, the Astros reached a new deal with Justin Verlander, a source confirmed to MLB.com. The two-year deal will pay Verlander $66 million.
The club has not commented, though Astros owner Jim Crane said on Friday that both sides were talking about a contract and that any extension would likely have to be finished before the club breaks camp on Sunday.
 
Justin Verlander agrees to a two-year, $66M extension with Astros
 
“I don’t think anything is final, but if it’s going to get done, it’s going to get done before we get out of here,” Crane said. “He doesn’t really like to do it during the season, but that could change, too. There’s interest on both sides, so we’ll see what happens.”
Verlander, 36, was acquired by the Astros on Aug. 31, 2017, and helped them win their first World Series that year, when he was named ALCS Most Valuable Player. Verlander went 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA last year and led the AL in strikeouts (290) and quality starts (26), finishing second in the AL Cy Young race to the Rays' Blake Snell.
Set to become a free agent after the coming season, Verlander said last month that he wasn’t dwelling on free agency, but he expressed happiness about pitching in Houston.
“The city, the fans, my teammates, the organization from top to bottom -- from Mr. Crane all the way down to the locker room -- stuff has made my transition easy and joyful,” Verlander said. “I felt accepted right away, and I really enjoyed my time here. That’s a testament to all those people.”
Brian McTaggart/ MLB.com
 
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When the Red Sox made a blockbuster trade with the White Sox for Chris Sale in December 2016, the only guarantee was that they'd have the powerful lefty for three seasons. The marriage between the ace pitcher and the defending World Series champions will extend far beyond that.
The Red Sox announced Saturday morning that they had signed their ace to a five-year extension through the 2024 season.MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, citing a source, reported Friday that the deal was worth $160 million. It includes an opt-out clause after the 2022 season, and some of the money is deferred.The contract contains a vesting option for 2025 based on starts, which will be worth no less than $20 million. Sale will also receive a full no-trade clause during the ‘20 season once he hits 10 years of MLB service time.Sale will earn $30 million from 2020-22, and $27.5 million in ’23 and ’24.The 2021-24 seasons have escalators based on Cy Young finishes.Sale was supposed to pitch on Friday night against the Twins. Instead, he underwent a physical.
 
Red Sox, Chris Sale agree to a five-year, $160M extension
 
With a contract extension, Sale joins the many superstars who have already signed lucrative extensions this offseason. This week alone, Mike Trout (Angels), Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals) and Blake Snell (Rays) have agreed to long-term deals with their clubs, with Trout's 12-year, $426.5 million extension the largest contract in baseball history.Sale would have been eligible for free agency for the first time in his career at the end of the coming season, but that now appears to be a milestone pushed down the road.Because the deal hadn't been finalized yet, manager Alex Cora declined to discuss it Friday, but he was able to comment on Sale’s value to his team.“We saw it last year,” Cora said. “He started Opening Day and he started every [Game 1 in the postseason] after that. He’s our Opening Day starter [again in 2019]. Everyone knows how good he is and what he brings to the table, not only on the field but off the field. He’s one of the best.”All spring, the Red Sox and Sale both expressed optimism an extension could be reached.“It makes people want to come here,” lefty David Price said of Sale nearing an extension. "The better we can make ourselves for as long as we can, the more attractive it is to come play in Boston.”Price is under contract for four more years, and so, too, is hard-throwing righty Nathan Eovaldi. Though Rick Porcello is eligible for free agency following this season, the Red Sox have the foundation of a rotation in place that should be strong for years to come.“It makes us better; that’s all I care about,” said Price. “It’s definitely something unique we have.”Getting Sale locked up long term was vital for a team that has several other big contract decisions looming in the coming years. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts will also be eligible for free agency at the end of this season.Superstar Mookie Betts can be a free agent after the 2020 season, and he indicated earlier this week that he expected to reach free agency. Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is also eligible for free agency after ’20.Star slugger J.D. Martinez has opt-outs in his contract after both this season and next.An extension for Sale means that arguably the three biggest headliners of the potential 2019-20 free-agent class are off the market -- Sale, Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, who signed an eight-year, $260 million deal to stay with the Rockies earlier this offseason. Now, with Justin Verlander expected to sign a two-year extension with the Astros, the biggest free agents next winter would include Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon and Astros star pitcher Gerrit ColeSale has dominated for the Red Sox since they traded for him. He has a 2.56 ERA across 59 starts in his two seasons in Boston, with 545 strikeouts in 372 1/3 innings.Sale has been an American League All-Star for the last seven seasons and he's finished in the top five of AL Cy Young Award voting for the last six seasons. He helped lead the Red Sox to a World Series championship last year, including closing out the Fall Classic with a strikeout of the Dodgers' Manny Machado.
Ian Browne/ MLB.com
 
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rick Hahn and Eloy Jiménezwere about to put pen to paper, officially signing the No. 3 prospect in the game per MLB Pipeline to a historic contract during Saturday morning’s news conference at Camelback Ranch, when the White Sox general manager offered up one final question.
“Are you still in?” Hahn said with a smile.
Jimenez nodded his head with an equally big smile. It was a special moment for not just the 22-year-old outfielder, but his entire family, with his mother, father and brother, Enoy -- who is also a player in the White Sox organization -- in attendance. Members of Jimenez’s White Sox family were there also.
 
White Sox, Eloy Jiménez agree to a six-year, $43M extension
 
The two sides agreed to terms on a six-year, $43 million contract, plus two club options that could extend the deal through the 2026 season. Under terms of the contract, Jiménez will receive a $5 million bonus in addition to $1 million in 2019, $1.5 million in '20, $3.5 million in '21, $6.5 million in '22, $9.5 million in '23 and $13 million in '24. The White Sox hold options for $16.5 million in '25 and $18.5 million in '26, with $3 million buyouts for either season.
• Q&A: Meet top White Sox prospect Jimenez
“It’s something I was dreaming when I was a kid,” said Jimenez, sporting his white White Sox jersey with the No. 74. “The dream has come true. And I feel really proud and happy for this moment. This is the moment I am never going to forget. And it feels really good.”
This moment began approximately one year ago, according to Hahn, when they sat down with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to go through the status of the rebuild and update things. They discussed signing Jimenez to an extension even earlier in his career than the ones previously entered into with Mark Buehrle, Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana and Tim Anderson.
In fact, Jimenez’s deal easily is the biggest agreed upon with a player who has never had a Major League at-bat. Phillies infielder Scott Kingery inked a six-year, $24 million deal last March with three club options bringing the value to $42 million. The only other deal of this nature belonged to Houston’s Jon Singleton, who agreed to a five-year, $10 million contract in June 2014.
A deal almost was finalized at the most recent General Managers Meetings, but it wasn’t until they were able to get face to face and talk through some things that an agreement was reached within the last several days. Hahn added this deal really is an extension, literally and figuratively, of what the White Sox sought to do when the rebuild began.
“When we originally sat down with Jerry a little over two and a half years ago to outline the process we were about to undertake in terms of this rebuild, there was a portion of it that dealt with the economics,” Hahn said. “Part of that was continuing to be aggressive with our young players, players we projected to be part of a championship core and trying to get them locked up for the long term.
“Jerry was fully on board. He understood that given the current economic landscape, the importance of doing this early and being aggressive when we did do that.”
Jimenez went 3-for-3 with a homer and a walk in Saturday's Cactus League game against the Dodgers, and he had a locker back on the big league side of camp despite being optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on March 13. There seems to be no reason why Jimenez won’t be in left field for the White Sox on March 28 at Kauffman Stadium, but Hahn stated early on Saturday there would be no announcements about the Opening Day roster.
“Today is about Eloy’s long-term future, the next eight years and hopefully several more after that as part of the White Sox organization,” Hahn said. “Hope you understand that the decision as to the final composition of the 25-man-roster influences a lot of people, not just the man sitting next to me. We’d like to have those conversations face to face before we announce the final roster.”
That statement concluded with Hahn adding, “I know both of us are very much looking forward to Opening Day and Eloy getting started in his White Sox career.”
As the centerpiece of this rebuild, Jimenez now has his sights set on helping the White Sox take the next step in the process.
“I’m not going to put pressure on me,” Jimenez said. “I’m just going to be Eloy. I’m going to play hard and win a couple of championships.”
Scott Merkin/MLB.com
 
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays agreed to a five-year, $50 million deal with reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, the club announced Thursday. The deal extends through the 2023 season and the left-hander could make an additional $2 million in incentives.
“Since being drafted in 2011, Blake’s talent and hard work have enabled him to establish himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the game,” said Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg. “We’re looking forward to seeing him take the mound for the Rays for years to come.”
There are no club options and the deal will cover all three years of arbitration and the first year of free agency. Snell's new deal is the largest contract in Major League history given to a pitcher before reaching arbitration.
En route to winning his first Cy Young Award, Snell finished with a league-leading 21 wins and 1.89 ERA. Snell was only the third AL pitcher to record at least 20 wins and a sub-2.00 ERA, along with Ron Guidry in 1978 and Roger Clemens in '90.
Snell is the second player signed to a contract extension this week, as infielder/outfielder Brandon Lowe completed a six-year, $24 million deal Wednesday. After the deal, senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander said that signing Lowe was a “really good step” in keeping the young core together. Thursday’s deal with Snell is a huge step in that direction.
“We have a group of players here -- and we’ve talked about it for a while -- that collectively we really believe in,” Neander said. “In terms of what else we can do to continue down that path, we’re going to find ways to do it.
Juan Toribio/MLB.com
 
Seattle (2-0) Mariners
at
Oakland Athletics (0-2)
Tokyo Dome - United States
Regular Season
5
Final
4
WIN
Zac Rosscup 1-0 1.0 IP
LOSS
Ryan Buchter 0-1 0.1 IP
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H E
SEA 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 9 1
OAK 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 10 0
Seattle Mariners
Batters AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
D Gordon 2B 6 1 2 0 0 2 0 .300
M Haniger CF-RF 4 1 2 1 1 1 0 .250
J Bruce 1B 5 0 0 1 0 0 3 .111
D Moore 1B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -
E Encarnación DH 3 0 0 0 2 1 1 .000
D Santana LF 5 0 1 1 1 1 5 .200
O Narváez C 6 0 0 0 0 2 5 .000
T Beckham SS 4 1 2 0 1 0 1 .714
R Healy 3B-1B 5 2 2 2 0 0 2 .333
I Suzuki RF 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000
B Bishop CF 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
Totals 43 5 9 5 5 9 19 -

Batting

RBI: Healy 2 (3); Bruce (1); Santana (5); Haniger (2)
2-Out RBI: Healy 2
GIDP: Healy
SF: Bruce
Team LOB: 10

Fielding

Errors: Bruce (1)
Oakland Athletics
Batters AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Semien SS 6 1 3 1 0 1 1 .500
Chapman 3B 4 1 0 0 2 1 2 .222
Piscotty RF 4 0 1 0 2 1 2 .250
Davis DH 5 0 1 2 1 1 4 .222
Pinder LF-1B 6 0 1 0 0 1 3 .300
Olson 1B 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 .200
Canha 1B 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .000
Barreto PR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -
Hundley C 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
Profar 2B 6 1 1 0 0 1 3 .200
Laureano CF 5 0 2 0 0 2 2 .200
Phegley C 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000
Grossman PH-LF 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .333
Totals 46 4 10 3 6 10 24 -

Batting

RBI: Davis 2 (4); Semien (2)
2-Out RBI: Davis 2; Semien
GIDP: Grossman
Team LOB: 12
Seattle Mariners
Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Y Kikuchi 4.2 4 2 1 1 3 0 1.93
R Elías 2.0 2 2 2 1 2 0 9.00
D Altavilla BS (1) 0.1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
B Brennan 1.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
M Festa 2.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Z Rosscup W (1-0) 1.0 1 0 0 2 3 0 0.00
H Strickland S (2) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Totals 12.0 10 4 3 6 10 0 -

Pitching

WP: Kikuchi (1); Altavilla (1)
Pitches-Strikes: Kikuchi 91-58; Elías 39-25; Altavilla 14-6; Brennan 11-5; Festa 26-17; Rosscup 23-14; Strickland 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls: Kikuchi 5-2; Elías 4-0; Altavilla 2-0; Brennan 1-0; Festa 2-2; Rosscup 0-0; Strickland 0-2
Batters Faced: Kikuchi 19; Elías 10; Altavilla 3; Brennan 4; Festa 7; Rosscup 6; Strickland 3
Inherited Runners-Scored: Elías 2-1; Altavilla 2-2
Oakland Athletics
Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Estrada 5.0 5 3 3 0 1 2 5.40
Petit 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
Soria 1.0 2 1 1 1 1 0 9.00
Trivino 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Treinen 2.0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0.00
Hendriks 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 4.50
Buchter L (0-1) 0.1 1 1 1 1 0 0 13.50
Rodney 0.2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00
Totals 12.0 9 5 5 5 9 2
 
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Astros and All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman have agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract extension, a source told MLB.com on Tuesday. The deal is tied for the second-highest contract in club history, trailing only the five-year, $151 million contract extension given to former Most Valuable Player Jose Altuve a year ago.
The club has not confirmed the deal.
Bregman, 24, is coming off a breakthrough season in which he led the Astros in nearly every offensive category and was named to his first All-Star team. He hit .286 with 51 doubles, 105 runs, 31 homers, 103 RBIs, 96 walks and a .926 OPS, becoming the youngest player in franchise history to hit 30 homers. He finished fifth in American League Most Valuable Player voting.
 
Alex Bregman agrees to a five-year, $100M extension with Astros
 
Earlier this month, the Astros renewed Bregman at a $640,500 salary for 2019 in his final year before arbitration, with Bregman disappointed about how that process played out. His extension will cover his three arbitration years (2020-22) and his first two years of free agency (2023-24). Bregman will be entering his age-30 season when the contract expires.
The Astros have locked up two of their core four homegrown players, with Altuve signing a deal last year that will begin paying him $29 million a season for five years starting in 2020. That deal also ends in ‘24. Outfielder George Springer will be a free agent after the ’20 season, and Carlos Correa after ’21.
The club also agreed to a two-year, $17.5 million contract extension with reliever Ryan Pressly, a source told MLB.com on Tuesday.
Before the Pressly and Bregman deals, the Astros had given out only three contract extensions since Jeff Luhnow took over as general manager prior to the 2012 season. They signed Jon Singleton to a five-year, $10 million deal in ’14 and gave Altuve a new deal last year. Altuve also signed a four-year extension in ’13 with two club options that bought out his first two years of free agency.
As salaries among star players explode across MLB, with recent deals to marquee names Bryce Harper (Phillies) and Manny Machado (Padres) in free agency and extensions to Nolan Arenado (Rockies) and Mike Trout (Angels), the Astros have locked up one of the game’s up-and-coming stars at a relative discount.
Trout’s extension is worth $426.5 million for 12 years; Arenado, also a third baseman, signed an eight-year, $260 million extension earlier this year. Harper signed for $330 million for 13 years, and Machado signed for $300 million for 10 years.
The Astros are going to face challenges keeping their current team together beyond this year, though, with starting pitchers Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh and Wade Miley all facing free agency. Cole called Houston “a wonderful place” at spring camp and said he’d be open to anything.
Drafted second overall out of LSU in 2015, Bregman zoomed through the Astros’ system and made his debut in ’16 before a solid first full season in the big leagues in ’17. He hit .284 with 19 homers and 71 RBIs that season and delivered a walk-off single in Game 5 of the World Series.
Bregman’s ’18 season was remarkable. He led the Astros in runs, hits, doubles, homers, RBIs, walks, on-base percentage and OPS and led the Majors in doubles, tying for the third-most in a season in Astros history. He became the first player in MLB history to record 30 homers and 50 doubles in a season while playing the majority of his games at third base. He was also one of three Gold Glove finalists at third base in the AL.
Bregman, who was named the MVP of the All-Star Game, also saw his star grow off the field through social media. He launched his own YouTube channel to give fans a glimpse into his personal life. He endeared himself to Latin American teammates by learning Spanish, and created a Twitter craze last year by leading dugout stares into the television camera following home runs. On Tuesday, Bregman was unveiled as adidas' latest MLB star.
Earlier this year, Opendorse, an athlete marketing platform, proclaimed Bregman’s total social media engagements during the 2018-19 offseason were the highest in the Major Leagues and more than double of the next highest player on the list, Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays.
He’s already challenging Altuve – the former AL MVP – as the most popular player on the Astros, and now the two will be teammates for at least the next six years.
Brian McTaggart/ MLB.com
 
 
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays and infielder/outfielder Brandon Lowe have agreed to a six-year, $24 million contract extension with two club options, the team announced Wednesday.
Lowe’s extension runs through the 2024 season, with the Rays having club options for '25 and '26. With the deal, Lowe will make at least $24 million, but the left-handed hitter could earn up to $49 with options and incentives.
“We believe Brandon has the potential to make a longstanding impact at the Major League level,” Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander said. “He’s shown both an advanced feel for hitting and the ability to drive the ball to all fields, and he’s quickly becoming a versatile defender who can help us in many ways.
 
Brandon Lowe agrees to a six-year, $24M contract extension with Rays
 
Brandon’s development, both offensively and defensively, is a testament to his commitment to his craft, and a credit to all of our staff who have scouted, coached and worked with him. With this agreement, we’re excited to cement his place in our young core for years to come.”
Lowe joins Evan Longoria, Matt Moore and Chris Archer as the fourth player with less than a year of Major League service time to sign a long-term extension with the Rays. Over the duration of the deal, he has elected to make annual donations to the Rays Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization and the official charity of the Rays.
Lowe, 24, got called up on Aug. 4 last season and appeared in 43 big league games. He started his career with an 0-for-19 skid at the plate, but finished with six home runs and an .884 OPS over his last 37 games in the Major Leagues.
In an effort to keep his bat in the lineup as often as possible, the Rays have moved Lowe across the infield and outfield this spring. Lowe has played first base, second base and left field for Tampa Bay over the last month. With the extension, Lowe would be eligible to become a free agent after his age-30 season.
Giving Lowe an extension after 43 games is a risk for the Rays, but they believe the 24-year-old has the defensive versatility and more than enough upside at the plate to make this deal worth it. The team’s No. 9 prospect per MLB Pipeline has continued to display his prowess at the plate, leading the team with 14 RBIs during Grapefruit League play.
It isn’t the first time a team has taken a chance on Lowe. The once 130-pound Lowe had no scholarship offers heading into his senior year at Nansemond River High School in Virginia. After a series of workouts during the summer before his senior season, the University of Maryland extended an offer that Lowe would eventually commit to.
Lowe went on to reward the Terrapins for being the lone school to extend a scholarship. Despite tearing his left ACL during his freshman season, Lowe bounced back to lead the Terrapins in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage as a redshirt freshman. After a couple of strong seasons in College Park, Md., the Rays drafted Lowe in the third round of the 2015 Draft.
Since being drafted, Lowe has shown a consistent ability to hit through the Rays system. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound infielder/outfielder hit 22 home runs in just 100 games in the Minor Leagues last season between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.
“He hits a lot,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He can really hit.”
The Rays are hoping -- and banking -- that he keeps on hitting for at least the next six seasons.
Juan Toribio/MLB.com