Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro is no stranger to negotiating long-term contracts, so why hasn’t Aaron Sanchez signed one yet?
Yesterday, Shaun talked about Blue Jays handling of Aaron Sanchez‘ contract renewal. In this piece, Shaun dropped the ‘multi-year deal’ bomb. Locking up young talent with long-term deals is an excellent way to avoid arbitration years, control costs, and provide the fanbase with a core to get behind.
Toronto’s President Mark Shapiro is no stranger to negotiating long-term contracts. As Cleveland’s GM, Shapiro locked up three of Cleveland’s young stars to team friendly deals. Toronto’s president locked up Corey Kluber, Jason Kipnis, and Carlos Carrasco.
Using Corey Kluber as an example, Shapiro signed Cleveland’s ACE to a 5 yrs/$38.5 million contract with a $4M escalator in 2019. The contract even has a $1M buyout in 2020-21 in case Kluber didn’t pan out, which he has thus far.
This contract achieved everything that the Blue Jays now need to do with its young talent. It locked a young ACE, after a Cy Young season by the way, while allowing Cleveland to avoid messy arbitration years and some of Kluber’s free-agent years. Locking up a pitcher of Kluber’s caliber until he is 34-yrs-old for an AAV of $7.7M is a no brainer.
So why aren’t Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins doing this for Aaron Sanchez?
Who says they aren’t?
In 2015 Kluber and Cleveland originally agreed to a contract renewal of $601k before inking the 5-yr deal a month later. Despite Sanchez’ contract renewal, it’s possible the Blue Jays front office are in contract talks with Sanchez’ agent, Scott Boras, right now, hammering out a multi-year deal.
The discussion about locking up young talent shouldn’t be exclusive to Aaron Sanchez. The Toronto Blue Jays will have several core players heading into their first arbitration year in 2018. If Marcus Stroman‘s offseason arbitration win is a harbinger of what can be expected, the Blue Jay’s payroll is expected to spike in 2018. Stroman, in his first taste of arbitration, went from earning $515,900 in 2016 to earning $3.4M in 2017.
Stroman’s settlement is a good baseline of what Aaron Sanchez can expect to earn in 2018; however, Stroman is due for another bump and Kevin Pillar, Roberto Osuna, Devon Travis, and Ryan Goins should all get substantial increases.
To further complicate the Blue Jays budgetary picture, Josh Donaldson is entering his final arbitration year. Two key rotation pieces, Marco Estrada and Francisco Liriano, will be free agents at the end of 2017. Melvin Upton Jr. Darwin Barney, and three members of the bullpen will all be entering free agency.
If you think that Toronto will head into 2018 without a rotation similar to the one they currently have in the final year of Josh Donaldson in Blue Jays uniform you’re crazy.
This means Toronto will need to trade for, or sign, a pair of established starting pitchers, a LF, half a bullpen, and semi-regular 2nd baseman prior to the start of the 2018 season.
The time is now for Shapiro and Atkins to lock up Sanchez, Osuna, and maybe Travis.
If only it were simple as that.
In order for a multi-year deal to be struck two parties must be able to come together with the same goal in mind. The team has to be willing to accept a risk. A risk of injury. A risk of regression or seeing their development stall. The player must be willing to sacrifice some earning potential down the road for security and immediate gratification.
If both parties can find some common ground, then a deal can be struck. Otherwise, the player and team will go through the processes of contract renewal and arbitration hearings until the said player reaches free agency looking for security and to cash in.
With an agent like Scott Boras in Sanchez’ corner, I just don’t see a team friendly deal in the future. In case you were wondering, none of the three players listed above that Shapiro locked-up while the Cleveland Indians GM were represented by Scott Boras.
What would be a fair contract offer Aaron Sanchez could expect?
Heck, feel free to comment on what a fair contract for Pillar, Osuna, and Travis would be.
Featured Photo Credit: C Stem JFtC
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