The Blue Jays still have a lot of work to do this offseason, but re-signing Jose Berrios sends an important message to their roster, and the rest of the league.
This week it has been formally announced that Berrios will be sticking around in Toronto for the foreseeable future after signing a seven-year, 131 million dollar contract extension. The deal will buy one his final arbitration season in 2022 and tacks on another six years. It’s not quite this simple, but you can basically look at it Berrios receiving in the neighbourhood of 11 million as he would have through arbitration for next season, and then adding six years with an AAV of 20 million per year.
We won’t know the true value of the deal until several years from now, but at the moment it looks like the Blue Jays have done very well for themselves here, and the front office team of Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro deserve a pat on the back. They took a bit of a risk when they acquired Berrios from the Twins in exchange for two high-end prospects in Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson, but it looks like the gamble is going to pay off in spades. Berrios was quietly one of the most valuable starters in the American League last season, and at just 27 years old this deal will cover the bulk of his prime big league seasons.
Not only have the Blue Jays locked up an important part of their future, but I think they’ve also sent yet another important message to their talented young roster, and what should be a loud proclamation to the fan base. This front office intends to compete and even win a World Series in the near future, and they haven’t shied away from big moves in order to improve the team. They showed that two years ago when they signed Hyun Jin Ryu to a four-year, 80 million dollar contract, and again last offseason with George Springer for six years and 150 million. The Blue Jays aren’t pinching pennies anymore.
What’s even better about this Berrios situation is that the former Minnesota Twin quickly signed up to return and be part of the Blue Jays organization for the long haul. Despite only having two months to see what the Jays were all about, the Puerto Rican-born hurler liked what he saw enough to commit to a new deal and pass on the opportunity to become a free agent. That is a significant development for a number of reasons.
Not only are the Blue Jays proving to be a viable destination for premium free agents, they’re really becoming an attractive option. There is an immensely talented young core in place, and the front office hasn’t hesitated to supplement the roster with high-end veterans. Berrios also spoke very highly of the way he’s been treated since becoming a Blue Jay, how much he and his wife like the city of Toronto, and how easy it was to commit to a new contract and pass on becoming a free agent next winter.
For a Blue Jays team looking to take the next step toward truly competing for a championship, it’s a significant thing to have Berrios sign up for the long haul. Not only will they have the opportunity to benefit from what he’ll bring on the mound, but his commitment may just help the front office to continue finding those finishing touches to become a championship team.