Blue Jays: Why there’s even more to like about Randal Grichuk’s new deal
Not only does Randal Grichuk’s contract have the chance to be a bargain, it’s front loaded too, which could be very helpful later on for a few reasons.
When I heard the news that the Blue Jays had extended Randal Grichuk for five years and 52 million dollars I was very pleased. Now that I’ve read through the details of how things are being paid off, I’m definitely tipping my hat to Ross Atkins and the rest of the front office.
Grichuk was supposed to be paid five million in 2019, but now he’ll receive seven million instead, and also a five million dollar signing bonus on top. After that he’ll be paid 12 million in 2020, and then $9,333,333 annually from 2021-2023.
I talked about it a bit in my article yesterday, but Grichuk really does have the potential to be a huge steal for the Blue Jays over the next five years, and I really like the way they’ve structured his contract for a few reasons.
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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m quite optimistic when it comes to Grichuk’s future, but I’ll admit that he’s no sure thing. In a worst case scenario where he turns out to be a dud, he’s really not that expensive and won’t handcuff the Blue Jays if they decide to keep him on the roster regardless, or if they feel they need to move him in the future. They’ll give him at least a couple of seasons to show who he really is as a player, and that’s when he’ll be the most expensive anyway. When you consider the reduced payroll the Blue Jays are already working with and the cheap rookie contracts that should flood their roster, that’s a great way to allocate some dollars right now.
Secondly though, the Blue Jays will inevitably start spending money when this team gets back to being competitive, and the best of their young players will eventually cost a little more to keep around. Knowing that they’ve got an outfield spot locked down from 2021-23 for a little more than nine million a year is a bargain, especially if Grichuk ends up producing like I believe he will. Even if he doesn’t, the going rate for a 1.0 win WAR player is around 10 million anyway, and Grichuk earned 2.2 bWAR last year, and a 2.1 fWAR mark according to Fangraphs. This means he’s already well worth his contract already, and could be an absolute bargain if he continues to grow into his potential.
That last part alone is enough for me to like this deal, but it’s what it means for the Blue Jays going forward that is really the icing on the cake for me. They’ve now got themselves an outfielder that is young and talented enough to be a part of the rebuild, and he won’t prohibit them from doing anything else as they put together this roster. Their future infield has the potential to be very impressive, and the investment in his field goes a long way to shoring up the outfield on the same timeline. His nine million dollar salary in two years won’t hinder any extensions they may eventually try to offer the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, or others, and it won’t stop them from signing other free agents either.
It’s the kind of low-risk, high-reward contract that could make or break this team going forward, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction. That’s not to suggest that the success of this team’s future rests on Grichuk’s shoulders, but he’ll be a nice piece of the puzzle at a very affordable rate, and he’s also got the potential to be a lot more too.
As much as I’ve questioned some of the decisions made over the last couple of years by this front office, I don’t know that it’s an overstatement to say that this has the potential to be their best move yet. Here’s hoping I can point to this article later on this year, and again in a few seasons from now and say, “I told ya so”. I have a feeling I’ll be doing just that.