Blue Jays: Top five extension candidates on the current roster
I’ll admit it, I considered taking this article down to a “Top 4”, mostly because I only see there being four legitimate candidates that the Blue Jays could extend right now, and even that might be a stretch. I considered putting someone like Vlad Jr. in the 5th spot because I’m sure the front office will inevitably approach him about an extension at some point, but it’s probably not going to be for at least a couple of seasons. For now, Ken Giles comes in on my list as the 5th most likely to be here beyond his current contract.
As of now, Giles has two years remaining of arbitration before he hits free agency after the 2020 season. He agreed to a one year, 6.3 million dollar deal this winter, and will be eligible for arbitration for one final time next winter.
The hard-throwing righty has a big season ahead of him in 2019, as right now it’s hard to say what the Blue Jays have in their current closer. He’s shown great flashes of talent in the past with the Astros, and even at times with the Blue Jays as well after the trade last season, but he’ll need to find consistency in order to be paid like a premium closer when he’s a free agent, or to still be considered a high-end reliever at all.
Other than an ill-fated contract for B.J. Ryan, the Blue Jays have never been a team to spend big on closers, which is part of why I could see Giles being a candidate to stick around. If he takes a step forward he could establish himself as a legitimate part of this rebuild, and the team could afford to keep him around for more than just the next two seasons, especially as their young players are still playing on their rookie contracts. If he’s still a bit questionable at times, he could be the type of low-cost reliever the Jays have favoured as well. There are scenarios where an extension could work out either way.
More likely though, Giles will either pitch the next two seasons in Toronto and then negotiate a new contract, or he could easily become a trade chip for the front office to play with sometime over the next two summers. As I said at the beginning, I don’t necessarily see Giles as an extension candidate, just as the fifth most likely. That’s not saying a lot, but it could happen.
Likelihood of an extension right now: 1/10