Baseball contracts are a hit or miss in this game. Some contracts don’t turn out so bad but on the other end, there are some horrible contracts out there. About a decade ago or so, there were many heavy contracts given to players who were 30 or 31 years old at the time: Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano, and the list goes on and on. We are seeing super max contracts given to players younger than 25. Just look at Fernando Tatis Jr, Julio Rodriguez, and soon Juan Soto will join them. It’s not a bad idea just as long as they stay healthy. As for the Blue Jays organization, who deserves to get a big contract first: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, or Alek Manoah?
The question is fascinating because all three of those young studs have been nothing short but sensational for the Blue Jays.
If it comes down to elimination or selection, I think it would have to be Vlad Jr. first. Although it should be both Guerrero and Bichette at the same time, I’ll give the slight edge to the Dominican product to get the big contract before giving it to Bichette and Manoah. It’s safe to say that Guerrero is a must-have on your team and his bat speaks for itself. He’s perfect for Toronto; he has an infectious personality, brings a healthy emotion and flare to the baseball game, and brings fear to the pitcher’s eyes when he gets in the box.
One would argue that Vlad should’ve won the American League MVP last season. He put up triple crown numbers. No disrespect to Shohei Ohtani. He had an exceptional season. Guerrero was an unreal player last season, and the Blue Jays were in a better position to go to the playoffs than the Angels. But then again, baseball is not like the NBA. Baseball writers judge things differently and Ohtani is also an outstanding two-way player. Without him, Guerrero would have easily won.
The Blue Jays have quite a few young stars on their roster. Who should the club extend first: Guerrero, Bichette, or Manoah?
After you take care of Vlad Jr, you have to take care of Bo Bichette. What he has done last season, and especially the past two weeks of this season, it is clear that you have to pay him. Just like Vlad Jr, I can’t see Bichette playing for another franchise. It would benefit the team if you had his offense and defense to help you win. When Guerrero and Bichette were both rising through the Blue Jays organization, I knew that the future of the AL East would change at some point because their talent is that good, and they want to win NOW.
Alek Manoah reminds me so much of the late Jose Fernandez. They pitch with passion and know how to work the strike zone. Manoah is having an incredible season with the Blue Jays. If he keeps this up, he could be the No. 1 ace for their rotation. I wouldn’t give him a big contract now because he still has a few years before reaching free agency and not many teams across the league lock up their young starters to long-term contracts early in their careers. We need to see if he can do it again next season. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Manoah is easy to like and has leadership skills, but you must be a little more patient to see more from him, especially because pitchers can hit a rut early in their careers. I am sure Manoah won’t, but the Jays have some more time before he hits free agency anyway compared to the other two.
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins has a lot of work to do with negotiation talks. It will be exciting to see how he will handle it once he gets into these discussions during winter meetings with the players and their agents, as the clock is ticking and the subject will need to be approached sooner than later.