According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Seattle Mariners and Julio Rodriguez have agreed on a massive contract extension that will keep him in Seattle for potentially his entire career. This has intrigued Blue Jays fans, mostly because of the similar position they have with one of their young stars.
Rodriguez has played in 108 career MLB games and has inked what could end up being the richest deal in professional sports history.
The deal is set to guarantee Rodriguez $120 million dollars through eight years with the Mariners having a club option after the 2028 season for additional years and a set level of money depending on MVP votes he earns over the life of the base guarantee mentioned above. Rodriguez also has a player option should the Mariners not pick up the club option that has a $210 million floor with an additional five years (for a total of 13) or he can also decline and become a free agent.
That is an insane amount of money for someone who hasn’t even played a full season, yet he’s probably going to be worth every penny and then some.
The 21-year-old can make up to $470 million dollars in a potential 18-year deal. That is massive and hard to even wrap my head around.
The Toronto Blue Jays can and should do the same thing with their young phenom, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., after the Seattle Mariners extended Julio Rodriguez.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is just 23 years old and already has two all-star appearances and an MVP runner-up on his resume. Vladdy would’ve won MVP last season if the modern-day Babe Ruth wasn’t a thing in Shohei Ohtani on the Angels.
This season, in what’s considered a down year for Guerrero Jr., he’s slashed .284/.352/.504 with 26 home runs and 78 RBI. He’s ninth in the AL with a 143 WRC+, just seven points shy of fifth place Rafael Devers. He’s going to finish in the top ten in AL MVP balloting, especially if the Jays make the playoffs.
The Jays have one of the most exciting cores in the game but outside of George Springer, Kevin Gausman, and Jose Berrios, the Jays don’t have anyone locked up on long-term deals. Hyun Jin Ryu’s contract will be off the books following next season and most of their core is already in arbitration or close to the end of their deals like Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, and Matt Chapman. They likely won’t be able to keep everybody, but Guerrero Jr. is the guy they must keep for the long term.
He is the face of the franchise and their best position player. I don’t care that he is not a shortstop or a center fielder, even at first base Vladdy is their most valuable player.
An extension for Vladdy would look different since he’s a lot more proven than Rodriguez. I don’t even know what it would look like, but a deal that keeps him in Toronto for his entire career makes a lot of sense to me and most likely a lot of Blue Jays fans. Doing this would hopefully keep the AAV lower so they can have a better shot at keeping their other young stars long-term as well.
At his age, Vladdy will likely be productive for most, if not all of a long-term extension. He’s already proven to be one of the elite hitters in the American League if not all of baseball. This contract extension should get done this offseason as he will only become more expensive as time goes on.