Every year FanGraphs does a countdown of the top 50 players in baseball, based on their contract (meaning a good player signed for a cheap contract probably ranks higher than a great player signed to a gigantic contract). It's always one of my favorite series, and today the first entry for this year is out, counting down players 50-41, and mentioning a few guys who just missed.
I'd have been happy to read it anyway, but it was especially exciting to see not one, not two, but three Indians on the board.
At #50 is Yan Gomes, whom the Tribe recently signed to an extension that keeps him under team control through 2021, with $21 million guaranteed to him from 2015 through 2019 (an average of $4.2M a season), and team options that could keep him here for $9 million in 2020 and $11 million in 2021.Pretty good for a great defensive backstop who's also an above average hitter.
At #41 is Corey Kluber, who isn't even up for arbitration yet, and is under team control through 2018. He's become the ace of the staff and one of the ten best starters in the American League this year. Dave Camerson says that of the ten guys on today's portion of the list, Kluber is the one he'd pick as most likely to rank significantly higher next year.
At #40 is Michael Brantley, who also signed a big extension earlier this year, and is under team control through 2018, with $19 million guaranteed to him from 2015 through 2017 (an average of $6.33M a season), and a team option for $11 million in 2018. Cameron says that when the deal was signed, it didn't seem like anything special, but that if you buy into what Brantley has done so far, there's a case that his contract belongs in the top 25.
There's more on each of the players within the post, and of course you should check out who else is ranked.
I would guess the Indians won't have anyone else on the entries of the countdown that are still to come. Carlos Santana has been there the last couple years, but with his early slump holding his numbers down him down and the cheapest years of his deal already in the books, his contract is still very good, but probably not quite good enough for the list. There's also Lonnie Chisenhall, who's having a great year and is ultra-cheap, but I doubt he's done enough yet to be ranked.
Still, even if these three are it, to have three of the top 50 contracts in baseball is a good sign for the Indians.