As easy as it is to get distracted by the free-agent megadeals procured by Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez and Max Scherzer, perhaps the most important contract signed this winter was an extension.

Namely, the 11-year, $182 million deal that the Tampa Bay Rays did with wunderkind shortstop Wander Franco. That nearly doubled the previous record for a player with less than a year of service time, which pretty much confirms that young talent is still the most valuable currency in MLB today.

And so we ask: Who's next?

We've rounded up eight young stars—i.e., stars who won't be older than 25 for most of the 2022 season—who are next in line for contract extensions. We also ranked them according to how much pressure their teams should be feeling to get something done.

But first, some honorable mentions who all happen to be pitchers.

 

Honorable Mentions

RHP Ian Anderson, Atlanta

He boasts a 3.25 ERA through his first 30 career starts, which isn't even counting his 1.25 ERA in eight postseason outings. All he really needs to do is prove he can handle a full season's worth of starting assignments.

     

RHP Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers

The No. 1 pick from the 2018 draft probably hasn't broken all the way out yet, but he took a good first step with a 3.71 ERA this season. Once he does show proper ace-caliber upside, the Tigers shouldn't wait long to lock him atop their rotation for the long haul.

    

LHP Trevor Rogers, Miami Marlins

The Marlins just extended Sandy Alcantara, so Rogers is next in line for his own deal. After posting a 2.64 ERA and finishing second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2021, he's another guy who just needs to pass the workload test.

    

LHP Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers

Inasmuch as a guy can ever rack up a 20-3 record in quiet fashion, Urias sure did this year. Yet the Dodgers are strangely averse to long-term extensions, and it's hard to imagine them breaking from that habit unless Urias takes still another step toward proper acehood in 2022.

     

RHP Logan Webb, San Francisco Giants

He was a delightful surprise during the regular season, and even more so in the playoffs as he fired 14.2 innings of one-run ball in two outings. If he stays on this track into 2022, an extension will go from a good idea to a must-have for the Giants.

 

8. 2B Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds

Age: 24

Service Time: 1.000 Years

Free Agent: 2027

Even before Jonathan India captured the NL Rookie of the Year for 2021 in November, one of his former teammates was calling on the Cincinnati Reds to lock him up.

"The Reds better shape up and extend this man very quickly, or he's going to become too expensive," said Nick Castellanos, per Adam Baum of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Jonathan India is a very, very good baseball player, and he's going to get better."

Clearly, Castellanos saw what everyone else saw this year. Especially after India moved into the leadoff spot on June 5, after which he posted a .382 OBP with 17 home runs in 105 games. Even if this is his ceiling and not his floor, that's still a guy to build a lineup around.

The most relevant precedent for a possible extension for India is the seven-year, $35 million deal that Ozzie Albies signed with Atlanta in 2019. Maybe the Reds like the sound of that, but India would be justified if he doesn't want to sell himself short.

It is, of course, possible that the Reds will pay him his proper market value. It's just unlikely while the team is in the middle of a payroll crunch.