The Arizona Diamondbacks are betting big on Corbin Carroll.
The top prospect has agreed to an eight-year, $111 million contract that could keep the centerpiece of the Diamondbacks’ future in Arizona for the majority of his career, according to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. The deal reportedly contains a ninth-year option worth $23 million plus salary escalators in the final three years.
The deal’s value is reportedly a record among players with fewer than 100 days of service time and no experience in a non-US league, breaking the mark set by the $72 million contract signed by Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Harris last season.
The nine-figure investment comes after only 32 career games in MLB for Carroll, who got a cup of coffee in the final month of the season last year. The 22-year-old impressed in that limited opportunity, hitting .260/.330/.500 in 115 plate appearances with four homers.
That success has continued into this spring training, as he was 6-for-18 with three extra-base hits and seven walks in 25 plate appearances entering Saturday.
Arizona drafted Carroll with the 16th overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft and have since watched the speedy outfielder blossom into a future star. rookie eligibility remains intact for 2023 and is ranked by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline as the No. 2 prospect in baseball, behind only the Baltimore Orioles’ Gunnar Henderson.
The latter scouting service praises Carroll as a true five-tool player, highlighted by a maximum 80 grade on his speed, a 70 grade on his glove and a 65 hit tool.
Carroll is one of three top 15 prospects for the Diamondbacks as ranked by MLB Pipeline, as 2021 sixth overall pick Jordan Lawlar and 2022 second overall pick Dru Jones are both waiting in the wings, but not expected to debut this year.
Why did the Diamondbacks extend Corbin Carroll, and why did he agree?
As reportedly constructed, Carroll’s contract will tie him to Arizona through 2031, and potentially 2032 if the Diamondbacks exercise that team option.
Before the deal, Carroll would have been set to hit free agency after the 2028 season, so he has effectively traded up to four potentially lucrative seasons he could offer as a free agent for the immediate security of a contract that should be able to support him and his family for the rest of his life.
These deals, in which a young player who isn’t even arbitration eligible signs a long-term extension for less money than they would likely have received years later in free agency, have become increasingly in vogue in MLB, as they’re usually a fantastic values for teams. The Washington Nationals did one just one day earlier, signing young catcher Keibert Ruiz to an eight-year, $50 million deal.
A promising young player can always disappoint or get injured, but it usually hurts teams more to see them leave after six or seven years for much more money. Carroll going bust would be rough for Arizona now, but the odds of him not even being an MLB-level player seem low, and especially lower than the odds of him becoming a person who could command over hundreds of millions of dollars in free agency.
As for Carroll, $111 million is still life-changing money, and he could get even more if he becomes great and stays great by age 32. The MLBPA has never been happy about these deals, but players take them for a reason.