Gyorko gets contract extension from Padres
Deal for second baseman, who slugged 23 homers as rookie, is for six years, $35M
SAN DIEGO -- Mere minutes after the press conference that announced his contract extension concluded Monday, Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko scanned the room and the people in it before reaching a conclusion that befitted his utterly uncomplicated persona.
"I don't think this would have been my idea," Gyorko said sheepishly.
But when your employer, the Padres in this case, offers you a contract extension for $35 million, one that could keep the 25-year-old in San Diego through 2020, you gladly smile for the cameras.
"You do anything you can do to help," he said.
At this rate, the Padres would be perfectly content if Gyorko keeps improving on the statistics that made him one of the top rookies in the National League a year ago, when he drilled 23 home runs and showed that he could handle a new position more than adequately.
Gyorko went into Monday's game against the Rockies with a .163 average in 12 games with one home run, which came in Sunday's victory over the Tigers.
"I think he's built for the long term to perform," said Padres manager Bud Black of Gyorko, who was the Padres' second-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of West Virginia University.
Gyorko's contract, which technically begins in 2014 though his "new" money won't begin until next year, is the most money the franchise has paid a player with as little service time as he has -- one-plus year. Pitcher Cory Luebke (2012) and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (2009) had one-plus year of service time, but had more days when their deals were consummated.
Gyorko's salary for 2014 ($510,000) remains the same. He'll make $2 million in 2015, $4 million in '16, $6 million in '17 and $9 million in '18 and $13 million in '19. The club holds a $13 million option for '20 that includes a $1 million buyout. The deal buys out his first year of free agency (2019) and possibly a second (2020).
The option and buyout can escalate based on Most Valuable Player and All-Star Game appearances, but not more than $2 million on the option and $750,000 on the buyout.
Gyorko, who is from Morgantown, W.Va., was asked how we would spend his newfound fortune. He blushed, smiled and gave an honest answer in his usual self-deprecating way.
"Newborn diapers and [baby] bottles," he said, smiling.
Gyorko's wife, Karley, is 33 weeks pregnant with twin boys -- Brody and Kadin.
"Obviously, the kids are going to be first in line," Gyorko said.
San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes said he had discussions with Gyorko's agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, for several weeks, trying to navigate some tricky territory -- finding a deal that fit both sides, a deal that provided both insurance for a player low on service time while also rating as club-friendly.
In the spring of 2012, Byrnes, working for then-CEO Jeff Moorad -- did similar deals with Luebke, outfielder Cameron Maybin and catcher Nick Hundley.
"I don't know if anyone has a crystal ball; it's a long ways to look for both sides," Byrnes said. "But these models do work for both sides. It's a big commitment but I think Jedd is worth it.
"He answered all the criteria we looked at. He's always hit and he has handled a lot of stuff that's been thrown at him."
The Padres no doubt looked at a handful of recent extensions for players with less than two years of big league service time, including Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (seven years, $58 million), Pirates outfielder Starling Marte (six years, $31 million) and D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (five years, $32 million).
"I've never been a guy who worried too much about anything [other than baseball]," Gyorko said. "This was a no-brainer for me. Ownership, when they came to me, it's something I wanted to be a part of."
The Padres are counting on improvements from Gyorko, who terrorized Minor League pitching on his way to the Major Leagues. He had a .321/.386/.530 slash line with 62 home runs in parts of four seasons in the Minor Leagues.
"I still have a long way to go," Gyorko said.
One thing is for certain: Gyorko won't have to worry about money for a long time, though he made it sound Monday like he didn't need much to get by in the first place.
"With my lifestyle, I'm not going to need much more than I already have to live on for the next 100 years," Gyorko said.