Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Berrios contract extension comes at right time

Jose Berrios #17 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Jose Berrios #17 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The MLB off-season is in full swing and the Toronto Blue Jays got important business done by getting Jose Berrios signed to a massive contract extension.

Toronto Blue Jays fans woke up to exciting news Tuesday morning with the team getting Jose Berrios locked in with a new seven-year, $131 million contract.

The news was first reported by Jon Heyman and Jon Morosi with the terms then confirmed by Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith.

This is a massive commitment made by the Blue Jays as this will contract will end when Berrios is 34 and he will be the longest player signed until 2028. Before we look at the long-term implications of this deal, let’s look at what the deal means for Toronto and Berrios.

When the Blue Jays traded for the 27-year-old from the Minnesota Twins, it was a hefty price they paid giving up top prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson. At the same time, it was made known that this was not a deal for a rental player and the team wisely used the opportunity to make sure they got a high-end rotation player around for the long haul.

Last season, it took some time for Berrios to settle in with the Blue Jays and he finished the season with a 3.52 ERA, 204 strikeouts in 192 innings pitched. Berrios was also scheduled to be a free agent after the 2022 season and if he pitched to his abilities this season, he could have sought out a more lucrative deal in free agency.

What the Jose Berrios deal means for the Toronto Blue Jays off-season plans

By getting Berrios signed now, the Blue Jays can move forward with their pursuit of other free agents. It’s important to note that Berrios will earn $11 million this season since he was in the final year of arbitration then his salary averages $20 million over the next six years.

The Blue Jays still have Hyun-Jin Ryu signed for two more years at $20 million and are paying George Springer $28 million in 2022. Those are the only two players who are making more than $20 million going into this season.

When it comes to the rest of the roster the team will have to get Teoscar Hernandez signed. The silver slugger winner has two more years of arbitration before he is set to be a free agent in 2024.

Hernandez is just one of about 11 players who need new deals in arbitration and some will be tougher than others to get done. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. figures to get a hefty raise after an MVP calibre season, while relievers like  Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards and Tim Mayza will get a bump as well.

The question remains as to whether the team decides to free up some money by trading someone like Randal Grichuk who makes close to $10 million. For someone who has been in and out of the starting lineup, that’s a pretty penny to pay.

Of course, there has been a lot of chatter around Lourdes Gurrierl Jr. who has two more years before he heads to arbitration in 2024 and free agency in 2025. It might make more sense to keep Gurriel around considering how little makes and how productive he is.

The Blue Jays still have much work to do as they try to improve their chances to compete by going after some quality players in free agency. This deal for Berrios shouldn’t change that and if anything, it provides some assurance that the team can sustain their window to compete even longer.

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What are your thoughts on the Blue Jays signing Berrios? Did they give too much money and term? What should they address next? Let us know in the comments below.