The Blue Jays Will Need to Pay BIG for Berrios

The Toronto Blue Jays are not in a position of strength when considering an extension for durable starter, Jose Berrios


Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase


 


The Toronto Blue Jays are in a position to build on their 2021 success and push for a division title. They have money and prospect capital they can use to field a championship team. Much of the ‘Hot Stove’ conversation will be around free agents and trades, but one of the biggest priorities for the club will be to address an extension for their mid-season acquisition, Jose Berrios. Unfortunately for the team, they are not in a strong position and Berrios will cost a lot…maybe more than we might think.

 

 

This past summer, Toronto gave up Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson in a surprise trade with Minnesota. And, what they got in return made us forget all about the talent given up. Berrios started 12 games to a 3.58 ERA, a BB% of 4.5% and he would end the year with a FIP of 3.47 and 4.1 fWAR. Needless to say the fact that Toronto made a push for the postseason is, in part, thanks to Berrios.

 

He has one more year of team control, which almost certainly made the Blue Jays feel better about giving up Martin/SWR. And, looking ahead to the 2022 season, it has to be a comfort knowing that they will have such a reliable starter already in the fold. However, he’s only in uniform for one more season and Toronto should be rushign to solve that problem. Looking at their roster, they’ll be good for a few years and only have George Springer on the books (guaranteed salary) for 2023 and beyond. Sure, they have young stars who will get more expensive, but there is lots of money for them.

 

However, if Toronto is going to keep Berrios beyond 2022, they will have to pay…and pay big. Firstly, as Seth Stohs of Twins Daily made very clear when he joined our post deadline podcast episode, Berrios is looking forward to free agency: “[I will have been] waiting six years, almost seven, to get where every player wants to be — a free agent, able to maximize our value….We are in a good position, and we’ll see what the best deal is going to be” (via The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Phil Miller). And, Berrios will absolutely know his worth. Effective, front of the rotation pitchers who are never hurt are somewhat of a unicorn, so he can start licking his chops and deservedly so.

 

At MLBTR, Mark Polishuk, suggested that Berrios could be looking at a $120M deal in free agency. If the Blue Jays are going to convince him that free agency is not worth the wait, they are going to have to look to fork over something in that neighbourhood. Berrios is 27 and will be hitting the open market at 28, which is prime time for any player. That means, he could easily be looking at a 5yr deal, possibly even 6. 6 years and $120M sound like a lot, but $20M per season works out to approximately 2 fWAR per season. Berrios will surpass that, particularly in the first couple years. Contracts are always paying more for the immediate value a player brings rather than that of the 6th year and if Toronto is serious about a championship in the immediate future, they’re going to have to look north of $120M.

 

Playing in Toronto’s favour is the (potential) free agent crop next winter. There are quite a few quality names set to become available. Lots can change due to extensions, options, etc but right now, Berrios is set to be joined by Mike Clevinger, Sean Manaea and Joe Musgrove with others like Trevor Bauer, Luis Severino, Taijuan Walker, Aaron Nola, Jacob deGrom and Sonny Gray potentially joining them by using opt outs or options. It could be a very talented pool and Berrios could find himself with a lot of company. Toronto might want to emphasize this point.

 

Another thing playing in Toronto’s favour is the talent this team has. How many teams in baseball can boast the lineup Toronto can? The lure of playing for a team positioned to give you a good chance to win every start has to be appealing. Depending on what happens this winter – all signs point to a big, exciting offseason – it could go a long way to showing Berrios that he could win a championship in Toronto. That has to be tempting.

 

It is always unclear just how much the “playing in Canada with Canadian taxes” element plays into signing players. But, with Hyun Jin Ryu and Springer signing, it is clear that, if it is an obstacle, it can be overcome. Of course, with these two, the obstacle was overcome by overpaying in one way or another. For Ryu, it was that 4th year. For Springer, it may have been both the term and the dollar amount. But, when you’re playing at the high roller table, the difference between a year or $10M may not mean as much and Toronto prioritized winning.

 

They may have to do this again. Berrios is not going to stay in Toronto beyond 2022 at a discounted rate. He holds all the power in the negotiations and, if we’re being honest, the Blue Jays need him more than he needs them. Their chances at winning for the next few years depend on bringing him back. This is something Ross Atkins would have taken into account when trading for Berrios. Now, it is something he will have to try and navigate. Extending Jose Berrios will not be easy. It’s possible, but the Blue Jays will need to pay a significant price to do it. 6yr/$140M? 5 yr/$140M? Who knows. But, what we do know is that Toronto is at the high roller table and they will need to pay up to stay there.

 

 

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

*****
HEAD ON OVER TO THE JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS STORE AND GET SOME GREAT SWAG THAT YOU WILL LOOK GREAT IN AND YOU CAN FEEL GREAT ABOUT.
YOU CAN ALSO HEAD TO OUR JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS FUNDRAISING PAGE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION DIRECTLY TO ALS CANADA.
*****

THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO

 

 

 

Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.