According to multiple reports, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed starter Jose Berríos to a seven year, $131 million dollar extension.
As per Hector Jose Torres Donato, who was the first to report the pending deal on Tuesday morning:
Although Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that it is valued at $131 million, pending a physical. That’s an AAV of $18.7 million per year which looks like a relative bargain for the 27-year old potential ace that would run through his age-34 season.
Jose Berrios signs 7-year extension to stay in Toronto
The early starter’s market appears to be heating up with the Detroit Tigers signing free agent Eduardo Rodriguez to a five year, $77 million guaranteed deal. Including incentives, that deal could work out to a $16 million AAV.
Noah Syndergaard also appears to have signed a one year, $21 million deal with the Angels.
The Berrios deal makes sense given the cost to acquire him, with Toronto trading away two top 100 prospects at the time in 2020 fifth overall draft pick Austin Martin (who they’d given a $7 million signing bonus), and right-handed pitcher Simeon Wood Richardson, who’d been acquired in the Marcus Stroman trade in 2019.
Berrios went 5-4 with a 3.58 ERA, 3.28 FIP and 1.095 WHIP over 12 starts after the Jays traded for him, tossing 70.1 innings with 78 strikeouts versus only 13 walks on the back of an outstanding control. That added up to an ERA+ of 123 and a bWAR of 1.4.
For the full season, he went 12-9 with a 3.52 ERA in 32 starts and 192 innings pitched, posting a solid 3.2 bWAR with 204 strikeouts. In six MLB seasons, Berríos has a 60-47 win-loss record with a 4.04 ERA in 147 starts covering 851.2 innings. In others words, he’s an ace in waiting just entering his prime, similar to E-Rod, who is now with the Tigers.
That means the nucleus of the Blue Jays rotation for the foreseeable future – and the remaining arbitration years of the young positional player core – will be Jose Berrios, Alek Manoah and Nate Pearson, with top prospects like Gunnar Hoglund, Adam Kloffenstein and CJ Van Eyk likely working their way through the farm system over the next few seasons.
Since his rookie year in 2016, Jose Berrios has put up an fWAR of 15.0, which ranks him 25th amongst qualified starters. Some of the names ahead of him on that starter’s ranking remain free agents this offseason, including Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Kevin Gausman, Marcus Stroman and Jon Gray.
Can Jays fans dare to dream that one of those starters might be signed together to round out the 2022 rotation if neither of Robbie Ray or Stephen Matz return?