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Marlins, Sandy Alcantara are having contract extension talks

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The New York Post reports that there’s mutual interest, and it’s up to the team to take the next step in negotiations.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara (22) pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays at loanDepot Park Photo by Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports

In making the case that the Marlins should be accepting trade offers for Sandy Alcantara as the July 30 deadline approaches, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports they’re in the midst of negotiating a contract extension.

“Miami made Alcantara a contract extension offer that he recently countered, and now the Marlins must decide if they will respond,” according to Sherman.

Interesting! Since current ownership arrived nearly four years ago, the Marlins have only been able to extend one player: Miguel Rojas in September 2019. Because of Rojas’ age and less remarkable skill set, the stakes were relatively low (he signed for $10.25 million guaranteed). However, attempts to lock up more impactful players like J.T. Realmuto and most recently Starling Marte reportedly never got close to succeeding.

Alcantara is much closer to the Realmuto/Marte end of the spectrum. A 2019 All-Star selection, he has posted a 3.55 earned run average in parts of four seasons with the Marlins. He leads the team in innings pitched (393) and strikeouts (325) during that span, and his three complete games are more than every other Miami pitcher combined. Alcantara shows signs of continuing to get better—in 2021, he’s been inducing more ground balls and swinging strikes than ever with career-best fastball velocity.

The Dominican right-hander will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2022. Based on the experiences of comparable starting pitchers who have gone through the arb process, his salary next season should comfortably exceed $4 million if he sticks in the Marlins rotation throughout August and September. From there, he’d remain under club control for two additional years before reaching free agency after the 2024 campaign. One would assume that the framework of this extension includes at least four guaranteed years, pushing back his potential free agency in exchange for eight figures of security.

In 2019, Aaron Nola and the Phillies agreed to a four-year, $45 million extension with a club option at the end, while Luis Severino got four years and $40 million from the Yankees (also with a fifth-year club option). Alcantara’s representatives should be aiming for something in that neighborhood.

Alcantara is currently on the bereavement list and expected to return to the Fish for their next series in Baltimore.

Going back to Sherman’s column, “Miami should only [trade Alcantara] if overwhelmed” by the value of the offers they receive. He names the Dodgers as, hypothetically, one suitor that would be a potential landing spot for the 25-year-old.

This summer’s crop of available veteran starters is unusually weak. Extension or not, I have difficulty imagining Alcantara being moved right now...but the Marlins front office may be tempted to exploit the market’s desperation and at least keep their phone lines open. Considering the organization’s knack for developing all sorts of pitchers into major league-caliber rotation pieces, Sandy shouldn’t be seen as 100% untouchable.