Cory Luebke, Padres Reach Long-Term Extension

Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Cory Luebke (52) throws against the Texas Rangers in the third inning at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

Cory Luebke is better than you think, and the San Diego Padres have signed him through 2015, with 2016 and 2017 options.

Over the offseason, the San Diego Padres traded Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds. You might've thought that, in so doing, the Padres lost their only excellent starter. You'd be wrong, because the Padres still had Cory Luebke.

Coming almost out of nowhere, Luebke started 17 times for the Padres in 2011. He had a 3.31 ERA, and more significantly, he had 111 strikeouts to go with 29 walks in 100 innings. His numbers were fantastic, even after accounting for Petco, and Luebke established himself as a big part of the present and future.

Friday, the Padres recognized Luebke's importance and inked him for a good while:

Luebke was under team control through 2016. Now the Padres have an option for his first year of free agency. Luebke's guaranteed $12 million, and here's the complete breakdown:

The Kansas City Royals have gotten a lot of attention for giving long contracts to Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, and Alex Gordon. But the Padres have been right there, too, giving long contracts to Luebke, Nick Hundley, and Cameron Maybin. Everything the Padres do is quiet, like a mouse in baseball's attic, but the Padres right now are quietly building something substantial. They're an organization on the rise and they see Luebke as a big contributor going forward, so they've made a considerable commitment. It might blow up in their faces, but if Luebke pitches the way he did in 2011, this'll look like a hell of a steal.

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