On what started as a quiet Tuesday morning, reports started to come in that Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jose Berrios had reached an extension with the club on a seven-year term worth $131 million dollars.
This deal essentially buys out the last year of Berrios’s arbitration while also adding an extra six years that avoids seeing the right-hander head to free agency after next season and locks him down during his prime years. The deal reportedly includes limited trade protection and an opt-out after the fifth year but has yet to be made official pending a physical, most likely happening sometime today.
Acquired at the trade deadline this past season, the Blue Jays front office gave up two top prospects, Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson, to get the Minnesota Twins to part with their star pitcher. After joining the Blue Jays, Berrios was an absolute stud in the rotation, pitching to a 3.58 ERA through 12 starts while racking up 78 strikeouts through 70.1 innings pitched.
For his career, the Puerto Rico product has amassed a 4.04 ERA through 147 starts while posting a 2.8 BB/9 and a 9.1 K/9 through 851.2 innings. The right-hander also earned a Gold Glove nomination for his defensive work on the mound this past season.
While the price tag was huge to acquire Berrios, the Blue Jays were able to convince the starting pitcher that the future of the club was heading in the right direction and was able to get a pretty reasonable deal down for a pitcher who could have hit the open market looking for a big payday next offseason. The deal essentially works out to $11 million next year and then $20 million over the next six years, similar to what Hyun Jin Ryu got two offseasons ago but for four years. The average per year salary comes out to roughly $18.7 million without including signing bonuses and all that jazz.
Extending Berrios is a massive win for this club, especially since he was kind of the safety net if Robbie Ray leaves this offseason after the Cy Young caliber year he put up with the Jays. The Berrios deal combined with the deep pockets of Rogers should still allow the front office to be active in this free-agent period in order to shore up some other areas on the roster or to bring back some pieces like Ray, Steven Matz, or Marcus Semien. While the front office may not be in line to spend $300 million on Carlos Correa or Corey Seager, adding additional depth like Ray or Kevin Gausman to the mound or Kyle Seager to third base should still be within reason when it comes to overall salary.
The Toronto Blue Jays reportedly locked up starter Jose Berrios to a seven-year, $131 million dollar contract that is an absolute win for the franchise.
Another reason this deal is a big win is because of how quickly it took place. Berrios only joined the club at the trade deadline in late July and over the course of the next two months was convinced to sign a seven-year deal to stay in Toronto when he could have had a pick of the litter next offseason during free agency.
In a time when it was perceived that players did not want to sign in Canada, Ross Atkins and co. have made some pretty sizeable acquisitions over the past few years while also developing a young core of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Alek Manoah (amongst others) that should only continue to get better while still being under contract control years to come. The Berrios pact combined with the George Springer deal last offseason also bucks the trend of the Blue Jays being unwilling to give deals past the five-year mark, a notion that was put in place prior to the Ross Atkins/Mark Shapiro era minus a few deals that turned sour (and will not be named).
Overall, I cannot see a single person in the Blue Jays fanbase being upset with this extension (minus maybe some of the Austin Martin fan club members). This deal keeps a solid pitcher like Berrios in the rotation for years to come while also allowing the organization to continue improving towards creating a championship-caliber team over the next few seasons either through free agency or trade.
Feel free to get your Berrios jersey’s now. He’s here to stay.