Under team control through 2025, the Toronto Blue Jays would do well to consider a long term contract for Bichette.
July 29, 2019. 21 year old Bo Bichette made his long awaited MLB debut. This might have come sooner if he hadn’t suffered a broken hand after being hit by a pitch on April 22.
He did not disappoint! He began his big league career with a 17 game hit streak. He was red hot at the plate in July and August, slashing .462/.500/.769 in July and .325/.357/.617 in August. He cooled off a bit in September, still his numbers were respectable at .254/.333/.444.
Overall for the season he hit .311/.358/.571 with a wRC+ of 142 and fWAR of 1.7 in 46 games, before his season ended early due to a head injury.
As it stands, the Jays have six more years of team control with Bichette, until he would be eligible to test free agency.
It would be a great move for the team to sign Bichette to an extension, to keep him in a Jays uniform for a few years beyond 2025.
It wouldn’t be unprecedented in MLB for Toronto to offer Bichette a long term extension, even with his relative lack of major league experience. Just this past spring training, the Chicago White Sox signed Eloy Jimenez to a six year contract with two club options before he had ever played a regular season game in MLB. Other examples include Evan Longoria in 2008 who signed a six year deal with Tampa Bay with a mere 24 days of service time under his belt.
Of course, it takes two sides to complete a deal. Even if the Jays offer Bichette a contract extension, there is no guarantee he will take it.
This past off season and early in to the regular season, it seemed like half the players in MLB were signing extensions. Yet there are lots of players who are unwavering in their determination to test free agency once they are eligible. That, of course, is their right.
Bichette has stated that he wants to be the best player on the field. Some guys, as part of being among the best in the game, want to be paid accordingly. In addition to the actual money, it may be partly a matter of pride.
He has also stated that he wants to be on the best team. To do so, you need a talented roster, 1-25 and there has to be enough money to go around and pay those players.
Might he be willing to take a “home town discount” to stay with the Jays, IF he believed they were going to be that team in the future?
Only he knows what he would do, if and when that opportunity comes his way. The rest of us can only speculate.
As the son of Dante Bichette, who played 14 years in MLB, Bo’s family doesn’t have to worry about money. Players like this might be more likely to turn down guaranteed term and money if they believe they can get a bigger payday later on. Again, we can only speculate at this point.
If I were Blue Jays management, something like the Jimenez deal would look very appealing, though the Jays might need to go bigger in terms of money and guarantee the two extra years for Bichette to sign on the dotted line. Sure it’s all risky, he could regress or miss significant time due to injuries. But if the Jays are serious about building a contender for the future it may just be a risk worth taking.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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