Extension candidates for the Arizona Diamondbacks to consider

The Arizona Diamondbacks have a handful of extension candidates. from young players that they could secure long term, and veterans approaching free agency.

World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Three
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Three / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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Feb 21, 2024; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll catches a fly ball
Feb 21, 2024; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll catches a fly ball / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY

Some of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ players could receive an extension in the near future. Many of their key players are nearing free agency. The last big-time extension the D-Backs handed out was to second baseman Ketel Marte, who signed through 2027 at $76 million right before the start of the 2022 season. But the Diamondbacks have a handful of young players that they could secure to long term deals now, as well as veteran players who are within eyeshot of free agency. There are plenty of players that the Diamondbacks should try and lock down now.

Position players

If the Diamondbacks do not sign Christian Walker to another contract, he will be one of the best free agents on the market next off-season. Over the last two seasons, the first baseman is batting .250/.330/.487 with 69 home runs, and a 122 wRC+. Walker has a quality 9.9% walk rate and 19.4% strikeout rate while having a .237 isolated slugging percentage. Walker is a two-time Gold Glove winner, and deservingly so. Over the last two years, he has +26 defensive runs saved and +26 outs above average. He’s not just the best defensive 1B in baseball, but ranks top five among all players in baseball in both stats.

Signing Walker to an extension could be an extremely good move. But one thing to keep in mind is that he turns 33 in about a month, and his first year of a new contract will be his age-34 campaign. A new contract for Walker could look something like what Josh Donaldson signed with the Minnesota Twins a few years ago, who signed a four-year deal at $92 million. Donaldson had a similar 131 wRC+ in his age-33 season. The length seems about right, but Walker’s total salary might be slightly lower, given he’s a year older than Donaldson was. As of right now, there's reportedly not been "too much" talk between the two parties, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

It would be nice if the D-Backs could tie catcher Gabriel Moreno down to a long-term deal now. Moreno’s first full big league season went great, as he batted .284/.339/.408 with a .325 wOBA and 103 wRC+. Moreno did not hit for much power, with only seven homers and a .123 isolated slugging percentage. His 7.6% walk rate was slightly below average, but he struck out less than 20% of the time at 19.7%. Moreno showed off some good defensive prowess with +20 defensive runs saved, +10 blocking runs, and a 1.90 pop time, but -3.9 framing runs. He was even better in the second half of the season, batting over .300 at .313 with an OPS approaching .900 at .894.

Moreno just turned 24 earlier this month and is still a whole two seasons away from arbitration. But you probably wouldn’t find a Diamondbacks fan opposed to buying out his arbitration years, along with some of his free-agent years. Signing him now could give the D-Backs a major bargain. However, Moreno could also be waiting it out for the same reasons, as he could try to bet on himself.

But if there was any young player that you’d love to see the Diamondbacks secure to a long-term deal now, it would be outfielder Corbin Carroll. Carroll is coming off the best rookie season in Diamondbacks history, as he batted .285/.362/.506 with a 133 wRC+. However, his power/speed was nearly unparalleled by anyone as young as him. He went yard 25 times with a .221 ISO and stole 53 bases, making him the only rookie with 20+ homers and 50+ SBS. Carroll’s glovework received solid reviews. While DRS had him at -3, OAA pinned him at +4. His best defensive work came in the outfield corners.

Securing Carroll to something like a ten-year contract would do wonders for the Diamondbacks. This is their most talented player since Paul Goldschmidt. It might not be cheap to extend Carroll, but the Diamondbacks should totally consider it sooner rather than later. He’s definitely someone you want to build around long-term.