Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Extending Yordano Ventura makes sense for the Kansas City Royals

Yordano Ventura has exactly three starts in the major leagues, totaling all of 15.1 innings. Add in his time in the minors, and Ventura has pitched a total of 430.2 innings as a professional since being signed out of the Dominican Republic at age 18 as an international free agent. Despite his limited experience, it would be in the best interest of the Kansas City Royals to look to extend Ventura as soon as possible.

Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

It may seem premature to offer Ventura an extension based on his three outings at the major league level, or based on his dominant form during Spring Training thus far. Long term extensions to pitchers, especially those who are still extremely young, such as Ventura, are fraught with risk. There is no guarantee that the player will develop as expected, and the risk of injury is certainly great.

Yet, for a team like the Royals, Yordano Ventura is exactly the type of player they should look to extend. Ventura has already been compared to a young Pedro Martinez, extremely high praise for a 22 year old. Scouts have marveled at not just his 101 MPH fastball, but at the way his curveball has been performing thus far in the spring. Already, some people are wondering if Ventura can put together a season similar to the one the Jose Fernandez had for the Miami Marlins last year.

The Royals should not wait around to find out. Should Ventura become the type of pitcher that he is expected to be, perhaps as soon as this year, the Royals may not be able to afford an extension. The best plan of action, in that case, is to emulate what the Tampa Bay Rays did with Matt Moore and extend Ventura as soon as possible.

Dayton Moore has already extended one young player that is expected to be a key to the future in Salvador Perez, locking him in until after the 2019 season if all the team options are picked up. With one important piece of the equation already locked in, the Royals should look to signing other players that could be vital to the long term success of the franchise to long term contracts. Yordano Ventura is one such player.

Even if Ventura does not turn out to be Pedro Martinez, he is still expected to develop into a solid second starter for the Royals. Given the way that the market for pitching has changed over the past few years, with teams locking in their starters, signing Ventura would be another way for the Royals to save money over the long term. Ventura, meanwhile, would have the certainty that he will be getting paid even if the worst was to happen. Signing Ventura to an extension is the type of move that the Royals need to make.

Yordano Ventura could be a part of the Royals success for quite some time. It just makes sense for the Royals to extend Ventura and maximize that time frame.

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  • jimfetterolf

    Absolutely agree and this is one reason I had little interest in re-signing Ervin Santana and probably wouldn’t re-sign James Shields, that kind of money for older vets on the wrong side of the curve could be much better spent extending Ventura and Hosmer, later maybe Duffy and Moustakas, possibly Zimmer, in a few years Dozier and Almonte.

    A similar deal to the Perez or Escobar signing is almost demanded for the Royals consistent with long-term sustainability in a small market. Take the $14m Santana would have gotten and extend Ventura through 2021 or ’22. Take that $14m and the projected $20m for Shields and lock up Hosmer and consider Zimmer. Royals can get ahead of the curve by taking some risks and acting aggressively.

    • unclejesse40

      Completely agree Jim. If you feel these guys truly are that good, then sign the ones that want to be here, and show them your faith with money.They will still have motivation to play hard because they will have one big payday left and that one will be late enough in their career it would be fine to walk away from them at that point. I have been saying this for a long time now, but holy cow Latin America is important for the future success of the Royals. I mean Bubba can sign for 7 million and have the money in his pocket to wait out until he can sign a big mega contract later (hope that happens because it means he goes crazy pretty soon), Ventura doesn’t have that luxury, his contract was mere peanuts compared to bubba’s. the draft is important but the international stage is probably going to lead to more long term success than the draft, in my humble opinion. in the Draft 4 million bucks only goes so far, in Latin America you can sign a lot of kids for 4 million dollars. I don’t know maybe its not more important but they are at least on equal ground!

      • jimfetterolf

        Rany made a good point a few years back, that the most important million dollars to anyone is their first one. That’s what takes care of the family back home, makes a comfortable life for the wife and kids here, takes a lot of pressure off a young player and allows him to let his talent flow.

  • moretrouble

    The team must have a player WILLING to sign an extension. It’s a reluctance by the player, advised by his agent, that prevents it. Why would a good player lock himself up like that? It’s not as if he’s desperate for money right now. A 500G MLB minimum ain’t peanuts. And, there are significantly higher salaries down the road. If I were a good young player, I’d listen to my agent and avoid an extension.

    • Dave Hill

      It’s a double edged sword. An extension protects the player in case he gets hurt, but he could forfeit a higher payday down the line. It’s a matter of having security now based on gambling on his future. If nothing else, the Royals should see how willing Ventura would be to discuss an extension.

      • moretrouble

        You don’t think players, agents and clubs realize that, Dave? With all due respect, everyone knows that. But, how many injuries actually ruin careers to the point where players can’t play anymore? Most good young players want to keep their options open, Dave. That’s just a fact.

        • Hunter Samuels

          It’s not necessarily about injuries that ruin careers, just that injuries can hamper a player’s ability to the point of limiting their future earnings potential. There are tons of examples of young players signing extensions before hitting free agency right now, too. Martin Perez, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, Chris Sale, Matt Harrison, Julio Teheran, Andrelton Simmons, Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, and Brett Gardner are just some of the young players who’ve signed pre-FA deals since the start of 2013. They may want to keep their options open, but if they can get tens of millions locked up now, in most cases, they would be wise to take it.

          • moretrouble

            I suppose if you weighed those guys you mentioned, Hunter, all at the same time, it would be tons. Remember, I said “most,” not “all.” Each situation is different and my advice, again, to a good young player would be DON”T sign an extension — especially with a small market club. Play well and the money takes care of itself. And, I think you’ll find that I’m factually correct about the word “most.”

            In “most” cases, either the team doesn’t want to offer one, or the player doesn’t want to accept one. And, I don’t know how in heck anyone would assess the value of a Ventura, who is a rookie, is 22 years old, and has only played slightly more than 15 innings of MLB ball. What’s he going to be worth in seven years? Who would know that right now?