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The Giants' arbitration-eligible players and extension possibilities

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Six Giants players have an uncertain contract status for 2015. Are any of them candidates for an extension?

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It's arbitration season! Everyone you know probably has arbitration plans, running around to arbitration parties and making huge chip-and-dip platters in the shape of arbitration. Oh, it's a grand time to be alive, and the Giants have six players who will be eligible for arbitration. It's time to poke around and guess what the Giants will do with them.

Note: Travis Ishikawa was eligible for arbitration, considering that he literally played in the same starting lineup as Randy Johnson five seasons ago, but he agreed to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.

Ishikawa, not Johnson.

Gregor Blanco

MLB Trade Rumors estimate of arbitration award:
$3.5 million

Chances of an extension
Note that the methodology behind all of these extension guesses is kept in the same place of my brain as my Bergman criticisms and insight. It'll all get me through a polite conversation at a cocktail party, but if the questions keep coming, everyone will figure out that I'm a fraud. Please, don't ask too many questions.

Also, note that I'm talking about Dave Bergman criticisms and insight, not the Swedish filmmaker. Subtitles make me sleepier and sleepier as I get older.

Fair. I'll guess the chances of a Blanco extension are fair. This is for a simple reason: Next year, he probably becomes too expensive to be a super-fourth outfielder. There are teams that furrow their brow and keep those players around -- the Brewers and Gerardo Parra come to mind -- but the Giants will be tempted to find a trade parter if there's a threat of a fourth outfielder getting $5 million. They might even release him.

On Blanco's side, he might have designs on taking the starting job that keeps falling into his lap and making a lot of money in two years. That's a dangerous game, though. He'll be 33 when he's a free agent, and while we have an idea that he's been more valuable than, say, Nick Markakis, Carlos Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, Michael Cuddyer, and Curtis Granderson over the last three seasons, that doesn't mean he'll get the same kind of contract after he plays two more seasons.

Which means a two-year deal, buying out the potential for a big final payday in exchange for a comfortable guaranteed 2016 salary would make sense for everyone. Super-fourth outfielders come and go so quickly -- think of Chris Denorfia and the one-year deal he got -- that it might make sense for Blanco to sign for next year, too.

Casey McGehee

MLB Trade Rumors estimate of arbitration award:
$3.5 million

Chances of an extension
Oh, dear. Not good, I would think. He's 31, and he's only just returned from the Ryan Vogelsong Tour of the Damned. No one really knows how good he is, including his agent.

Brandon Belt

MLB Trade Rumors estimate of arbitration award:
$3.4 million

Chances of an extension
Slim. He can make Freddie Freeman money with a strong 2015 season. Signing after his concussion-fraught, bone-shattering 2014 season would make sense for him only if he secretly knew he still had bone shards the size of his car keys in his wrist. That's probably not the case. With every dinger he hits next season, he should make cartoony cash register sounds as he rounds the bases.

Brandon Crawford

MLB Trade Rumors estimate of arbitration award:
$2.5 million

Chances of an extension
Good. Maybe not before the Friday deadline to exchange numbers, but you see that possible arbitration award? It's kind of insulting. Matt Swartz's model has been accurate over the last few years, so it's probably not far off. But it's still kind of insulting. That's two-time World Series cog Brandon Crawford, whose stable-to-fantastic defense and just-enough bat have been a very valuable piece for the Giants.

Here's a list of shortstops over the last three seasons. Crawford is comfortably in the second tier, and he's surrounded by shortstops who are making a lot more than $2.5 million next season. Jimmy Rollins is making $11 million. Elvis Andrus is making $15 million. Jose Reyes is making $22 million. Jed Lowrie will make about three times as much as Crawford next year, despite entering free agency after one of the worst seasons of his career.

The Giants could pay Crawford a lot more than $2.5 million next year. All it would take is an option here, maybe an option after that, some cost certainty for every involved. Considering the Giants' recent history and the situation, I'd be pretty surprised if this doesn't happen.

Hector Sanchez

MLB Trade Rumors estimate of arbitration award:
$1 million

Chances of an extension
Zero. The Giants aren't sure if he's going to stick at catcher because of his concussion problems, and he's struggling in the Venezuelan League (in a small sample, of course).

Yusmeiro Petit

MLB Trade Rumors estimate of arbitration award:
$1.6 million

Chances of an extension
Poor, considering he's not very expensive and around for a year after this one. I'd go seven years, $126 million, but that's because he's the best and I'm bad at business. The Giants will probably be content to take the next two years and thank him for his Hall of Fame performance (if the Hall of Fame made it a point to take swingmen and long relievers). A strong full season in the rotation could change that, of course.

Apropos of nothing, here's the time Petit made Baseball America's top-100 list:

"I just can’t hit him. You just can’t pick the ball up off him."
–Red Sox outfielder Brandon Moss

Notable players behind him: Ian Kinsler, Russell Martin, Cole Hamels, and Merkin Valdez.

I'll guess that Brandon Crawford has an extension before March, and that the Giants will avoid arbitration with all of the players on the list.