With player movement as popular as ever in baseball, it's never been more pressing for MLB franchises to lock down their top assets for the foreseeable future, especially before they're ready to hit free agency.
We've seen a number of deals go down over the last few years, most notably with Alex Bregman and Ronald Acuña, but here are a few others that teams need to make sure they take care of this offseason.
6. DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees
In his debut season in pinstripes, DJ LeMahieu proved his worth in the field and at the plate. The 31-year old was a consistent force at the plate in the regular season and playoffs, and tried his hand at multiple infield positions throughout 2019. Entering his contract season, the Yankees won't have to worry about LeMahieu walking if they can extend him early enough and make him a fixture in the infield.
5. J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies
It's so hard to find a premier, two-way catcher these days, but J.T. Realmuto fits that mold. Philadelphia traded for him last year and you can bet it was with the intention of keeping him around for more than just two seasons. The Phillies' backstop was reliable in 2019 and could have a long future in Philadelphia. He's in his contract year and needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.
4. Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics' run to the 2019 Wild Card game ended with a home loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, but that's not to take away from Marcus Semien's breakout season. The shortstop continued his remarkable play in the field but also upped his offensive numbers from .255 with 15 home runs to .285 with 33 home runs. After finishing third in American League MVP voting, you'd have to imagine Oakland is working quickly to extend Semien's deal.
3. Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are dealing with a complicated situation in regards to their payroll, but any move to extend Javier Baez should be very much separate from those issues. He's the face of the franchise, especially with the Kris Bryant situation growing more and more tense. Give Javy a blank check and figure everything out later.
2. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
Christian Yelich was on his way to a second consecutive MVP award last season before he fouled a ball off his kneecap on Sept. 10 and was ruled out for the remainder of the year. He still managed to win the NL batting title despite that. The Brewers are a different team without Yelich in the lineup even though they went on an admirable run to snag an NL Wild Card spot in 2019. Prioritizing a long-term deal for the heart and soul of this team is a must for GM David Stearns.
1. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
No contract extension is more imminent in baseball right now than the Yankees' expected deal with Aaron Judge. The 6-foot-7 phenom hasn't exactly been his MVP-like self from 2017, but that doesn't take away from his value and potential. After this season, it's all arbitration for Judge through 2023. Do the Yankees really want to go through all that? As important as it is to also extend LeMahieu, this takes precedent considering he's a fan-favorite and arguably the face of the franchise.