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The next Aaron Nola? These stars could look to cash in now

The way free agency is going, the rush to sign early-bird contract extensions could become the norm. But at what cost? Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Mike Trout's dad taught history, his family happily middle class in Millville, New Jersey. Carlos Correa's father worked at construction sites in Puerto Rico, barely scraping together enough money so he could send Carlos to a school where he could learn English. Francisco Lindor remembers the long hours his mother worked at an office in San Juan and how she deferred his requests for a new piece of equipment by saying, "Maybe my next paycheck."

Very few players, an agent remarked this week, come from moneyed families, and of course, very few among them will make the kind of money Trout will earn in his career. Any wealth they have could feel temporary because of how quickly a playing career in professional baseball passes, particularly with the way the game is trending young. Yoenis Cespedes got a lot of attention for his fleet of custom cars, for his loose luxury, but he is an outlier. Most others might feel the anxiety of financial pressure -- of cashing in on opportunity built on how hard they can throw, or how far they can hit a ball.

This is why some agents and older players fretted this winter over the impact of another slow free-agent market and the early talk of looming labor strife. Some players are listening closely to union chief Tony Clark when he suggests they should save their money.

And some may be taking it a step further, and out of that concern -- maybe you can call it fear -- they might be looking to make as much money as possible, as soon as possible, and in the eyes of some agents, taking deals that don't reflect their actual market value.