Players who need contract extensions now

Earlier this week, Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he’s already talked to the team’s new ownership about a contract extension for outfielder Andre Ethier. At 30, Ethier is a two-time All-Star, has earned Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards and is in the prime of his career. He currently leads the majors in RBIs with 23. He also leads a list of seven players who should be signed to contract extensions now. Most of these players are in or are entering their most productive years, or perhaps are talented young players whose stardom is easily projectable. So it might behoove teams to stay ahead of the market and lock them in now.

1. Andre Ethier, RF

With the Dodgers’ $2 billion sale from Frank McCourt to the group led by Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten and Mark Walter -- the CEO of Guggenheim Partners -- officially closing in less than a week, one of the team's first orders of business should be to extend Ethier. He is the only legitimate protection for Matt Kemp the Dodgers have in the middle of their lineup. And with a farm system that will offer very little offensive help, this is an important signing. Further, the Dodgers’ new ownership might also want to have a conversation with Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. They control his rights through 2015 but might want to start talks with him to stay ahead of a rapidly ballooning market for starting pitching.