While it doesn't appear Tampa Bay's David Price will be one of them -- he just inked a one-year deal for 2013 worth just over $10 million earlier this offseason -- there could be a number of players into their arbitration years and headed for free agency that warrant serious consideration for long-term solutions. Giancarlo Stanton is one of them, though whether or not he would consider such an idea appears slim at best right now. Let's start with the American League Central:
Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale has one more year until arbitration eligibility kicks in, but a multi-year contract could work out for both player and club. Detroit's Doug Fister is eligible this offseason and the Tigers could choose the route of at least a two-year deal. Fister's teammate, Max Scherzer, is in his second arbitration trip and is also worthy of consideration for a multi-year pact.
The Cleveland Indians don't have any obvious candidates boring in on arbitration and clearly worthy of a multi-year contract, and the Royals have many of their young talents locked up already. Two candidates for KC are lefty reliever Tim Collins and right-hander Greg Holland. Both will be arbitration eligible after 2013 and could be pieces the Royals look to lock up for more than one year at a time in hopes of saving some cash down the line.
The Minnesota Twins have already signed impact bullpen components Jared Burton and Glen Perkins to multi-year extensions, and don't have any other key pieces nearing arbitration or in the midst of the process already.
Perhaps the biggest name in the division in a position to cash in early is Tigers centerfielder Austin Jackson, who is coming off a terrific season and is under contract for 2013 after agreeing to a one-year deal last month. Considering the club's high payroll and long-term commitments to Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, as well as the Justin Verlander situation -- he will be a free after 2014 unless he re-signs before then -- it might make a lot of sense to try and gain some cost certainty with Jackson.
The problems, however, run deep. Jackson, like teammate Max Scherzer, is a Scott Boras client, and the price to extend centerfielders continues to steepen, as the Brewers have agreed to a deal with Carlos Gomez on a 3-year, $24 million deal through 2016. Jackson could hit the free agent market at age 29 with a chance at more than $100 million on the open market.
Whether any player could ever price himself out of Detroit is unclear, but Jackson's price goes up daily, it seems.