Announcement: Vladimir Guerrero Jr all smiles as he reaches an extension contract with Blue Jays worth $25.2 million

Announcement: Vladimir Guerrero Jr all smiles as he reaches an extension contract with Blue Jays worth $25.2 million

Blue Jays, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. discussed long-term deal

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays have discussed a long-term contract extension but the all-star first baseman says the negotiations find common ground.

In a brief interview ahead of the club’s home opener Tuesday, the 24-year-old slugger reiterated that he “would love to be here my entire career” but talks “have reached the point that there’s something serious about it.”

“We’re good right now,” he continued through interpreter Hector Lebron, adding later that the discussions not leading to a deal “isn’t going to cause me any stress. I’m going to take care of what I’ve got to take care of, which is on the field, and the rest I’m going to leave to my agents to work with. I know who I am. I know my value. We’re going to keep having conversations, but all my focus every day is here on the field.”

Guerrero, the 2021 runner-up for AL MVP off to a hot start batting .439/.510/.610 heading into Tuesday’s play, is earning $14.5 million this season in his second year of arbitration eligibility.

The Blue Jays have him under contract for the next two years following this one, so there is plenty of time for the two sides to reach an agreement. However, as players approach free agency, it becomes more difficult to keep them off the open market, especially given that Guerrero’s current trajectory predicts salaries in the $20 million range next year and $25 million in 2025, if not higher, in his final two years of arbitration.

Another consideration for the Blue Jays is that Guerrero, Bo Bichette, Jordan Romano, and Chris Bassitt, among others, are due for free agency following the 2025 season.

This last off-season, the free agent market was exceptionally strong, with Aaron Judge signing a contract worth $360 million over nine years with the New York Yankees after competitive offers from the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres.

The Blue Jays should take note of how close Judge was to departing. Another example is how the Boston Red Sox lost Xander Bogaerts to the Padres on a staggering $280 million, 11-year contract before regrouping to sign Rafael Devers, who would have been a free agency this fall, for $331 million over 11 years.

Teams have moved aggressively in recent years to lock up their franchise players increasingly earlier in their careers, the latest being the Arizona Diamondbacks guaranteeing Corbin Carroll $111 million over eight years despite the outfielder having played in only 43 career games.

Guerrero, with two all-star appearances, a second-place MVP finish and a Gold Glove under his belt, is obviously far more accomplished and would command a much larger guarantee, especially given that his free-agent years begin at the peak-years age of 27.

“Everything is different. Every front office is different,” he said of seeing his peers get extended. “I know who I am. I know my value. Hopefully it’s here because I want to stay. But business is business. We’ll see. I hope I stay here.”



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