Sad News: As Adley Rutschman is not ready for contract extension after following……

Sad News: As Adley Rutschman is not ready for contract extension after following……

The Baltimore Orioles’ ascension from the ashes of irrelevance has rejuvenated a once moribund franchise who were regular cellar dwellers in the American League East. Ebullience best describes the ethos of the Orioles at the outset of spring training due in large part to catcher Adley Rutschman. Besides Rutschman and a plethora of talent on the major league roster, the Orioles’ farm system is bursting with prospects that could transform how baseball is played in Baltimore over the next decade. Amid recent developments regarding Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt, Jr. and his 11-year, $288.7 million contract extension, does Rutschman deserve to be Major League Baseball’s next young superstar who secures a contract extension that can change the trajectory of his career and life?

The answer is yes, but patience will be required due to the Orioles’ ownership change to private equity billionaire David Rubenstein and his group of investors for 40% of the franchise at a purchase price of $1.725 billion. While Major League Baseball would love to expedite the sale over a period of several weeks, don’t be surprised if official confirmation doesn’t occur until the middle of the summer. Rubenstein’s tenure as control person of the Orioles should begin at some point during the 2024 season. In the interim, he will have an opportunity to carefully study Rutschman as arbitration eligibility awaits the 26-year-old switch hitter for the first time at season’s end.

In terms of length of years and value, don’t expect a contract extension for Rutschman that is similar in nature to Witt, Jr. given their differences in age and position. As both were selected in the 2019 draft, Rutschman was the first pick out of Oregon State University as a 21-year-old catcher while Witt, Jr. was the second pick as a high school shortstop who was days away from turning 19-years-old. When it comes to identifying a top priority for negotiations with Rutschman, an emphasis must be placed on maximizing value as a catcher during his age-27 through age-31 seasons.

A contract extension of nine figures is a logical assumption for Rutschman, but there have only been three catchers whose contracts have surpassed $100 million in value according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts: Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, and J.T. Realmuto. A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024, Mauer holds the record for the largest contract awarded to a catcher thanks to his eight-year, $184 million contract extension with the Minnesota Twins over the course of the 2011-2018 seasons. While the contract extension covered his age-28 through age-35 seasons, Mauer served as a catcher in 201 out of the 1,022 ball games he had played in over the course of eight seasons according to Baseball-Reference. He transitioned to being a full-time first baseman over the final five years of the contract extension. Realmuto’s, five-year, $115.5 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies has the highest average annual value for a catcher’s contract at $23.1 million and covers his age-30 through age-34 seasons.

Regardless of Rutschman’s accomplishments, there are still questions as to how he should be compensated based on being a catcher. How long will Rutschman catch before it is deemed necessary for him to move to another position? How do you quantify intangibles such as leadership, character and integrity? What value is placed on being the face of the franchise and possibly Major League Baseball? Are there hesitations in granting an extension to Rutschman due to the depth of talent on the current roster and in the farm system as evident in teammate Gunnar Henderson and the top prospect in Major League Baseball, Jackson Holliday? Rutschman is represented by Dan Vertlieb of Beverly Hill Sports Council, the same agency that just negotiated outfield prospect Jackson Chourio’s eight-year, $82 million contract extension with the Milwaukee Brewers before he has appeared in a major league ball game. Chourio is represented by Cesar Suarez and will be turning 20-years-old in less than a month. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Chourio’s extension has two club options at $25 million per season and incentives based on where he finishes in the Most Valuable Player Award voting. Rutschman must seek a contract extension that aligns philosophically with the one recently secured by Witt, Jr. and how center fielder Julio Rodríguez collaborated with the Seattle Mariners in terms of creativity and flexibility.

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