The recent moves in MLB Free Agency have showed that the upper end of the league will get paid and the Blue Jays have two All-Stars that are growing closer to becoming free agents themselves. According to Spotrac, both Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette have three seasons left before they can test the open market, so at what point do you lock up the pair?
The Blue Jays and Bichette's camp would have three recent signings to compare against, the first being Carlos Correa who signed a 13 year, $350M which worked out to around $26.9M per season and carries him into his early 40s.
The second contract is Trea Turner who signed an 11-year deal worth $300M that works out to $27.3M per season and carries him until he is 40.
The final comparable contract was signed by Xander Bogaerts who is already on the wrong side of 30, but still got an 11-year deal worth $280M which works out to the lowest annual salary of the three at "only" $25.5M per season.
While Bichette has some recent contracts to compare to, he has one thing on his side compared to the other three and that is his age. All three of the star free agents are in the 30-year-old range while Bo is still just 24 years of age.
Through his age 24 season, Turner was establishing himself as a future star, but had played in just 198 games, had yet to be a full-time player, however had a slash line of .304/.349/.491 and had stolen 81 bases in just 97 attempts.
At the same age, Bogaerts had a similar route to Bichette as he had already played in well over 600 games, won two Silver Slugger awards and been named to an All-Star game, but had not quite yet established himself as a power hitter as he had just 51 home runs over 623 games.
Finally, Correa had the strongest start of the four shortstops as he already had a World Series ring, was named to an All-Star Game and had a Rookie of the Year Award in his trophy case.
So far to start his career, Bichette has been named to an All-Star Game and has led the league twice in hits, has the best slash line of the four shortstops at .297/.340/.491 and already has 69 home runs in just 393 games. Bichette did run into the unfortunate COVID season early in his career to limit his games played and had the Blue Jays holding him back early in his career when he was likely ready to make the jump.
So, what would the Blue Jays have to do to give a fair extension offer to get Bichette locked up? Spotrac and MLBTR have Bichette projected to earn between $5.7M and $6.1M this offseason during his first eligibility for arbitration.
To start the deal off, I would offer him the upper end, follow it up by doubling the contract in his second season and then finishing it off with $20M in his final season of arbitration. His first year of free agency, I would up the contract to $25M, followed by a couple years at $30M, a couple years of $28M and then $27M for seven seasons. If you haven’t had a calculator, this is a 15-year deal worth $368.3M which has an average annual salary of $24.6M. While I recognize this is lower than each of the three comparable, over his 12 years of free agency it averages out to $27.5M which puts him slightly higher which would hope to entice Bichette to sign.
Initially when I tried to work out the deal, I was looking at giving him a 12-year deal, however that would expire when he was 37-years of age and after watching similar colleagues signed until at least 40, I thought you would have to do one of two things. You offer the 15 years or you offer a 12-year deal with an player opt out after six years which would make him a free agent at 31. The question is if my numbers are in line with a fair offer, if you are Bichette could you risk an injury over the next three seasons to hit the open market or would you take over a third of a billion dollars now?