Blue Jays: Who should the front office look to extend first?
If you’re committing to Batman, you’ll need Robin too
I know it doesn’t have to be this way, but it kinda feels like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette should be a package deal when it comes to long-term planning for this franchise. Bichette is also under contract for four more years and won’t be a free agent until after the 2025 campaign, but he’s actually not arbitration eligible until after next season.
As much as Vlad Jr. has had a bigger spotlight in 2021, what Bichette has been doing has been pretty impressive in his own right. The 23 year old was a first-time All-Star this year, and deservedly so as he leads American League shortstops in the majority of offensive categories. He’s been overshadowed a bit at times by Vlad Jr., Marcus Semien, and George Springer, but there’s no denying that Bichette is the real deal.
I’m willing to bet that making a long-term commitment to Guerrero Jr. would go a long way to getting Bichette to stick around as well, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the two will consult with each other before making that kind of decision. They’re as exciting as any young duo in baseball, and it’s not an exaggeration to think that the Blue Jays could build their team around the pair for the next decade or more.
Where it gets complicated is the financial situation that I alluded to before, and that’s the simple fact that you can’t keep every high-salaried player that you want to. Look no further than the Yankees to see a team with several big dollar commitments that may have limited how aggressive they were last winter.
I’m not suggesting that the Jays won’t be ready to pay and commit to Bichette if they have the opportunity, but that’s where their decisions with others will become a factor as well. For example (and to keep things ridiculously simple), if the Jays were to re-sign Semien and Ray for roughly 20 million per season, that would mean they’ve invested 85 million on four players between those two along with Springer and Ryu. Add a desire to keep Berrios a year later and now you’re easily over 100 million on just five players. I’m sure you catch my drift.
So if the Blue Jays let Semien walk this winter I hope fans will understand that it’s probably more about Bichette and Guerrero Jr. than it is about saving money. There won’t be easy decisions to make, but it’s a good problem to have so many stars on your team.