Blue Jays extension with Bichette sets the stage for a mega deal

A huge payday looms for Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette.  (Getty)
A huge payday looms for Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette. (Getty)

Bo Bichette reportedly signed an extension with the Toronto Blue Jays. But before you get on with yourself, let him shut you down—no, it’s not the mega-extension fans were hoping for.

As first reported by Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson Smith, the Jays and Bichette have agreed to a three-year agreement that will buy out the shortstop’s remaining years of arbitration (the official terms of this agreement have not yet been released). The reported extension would bypass the arbitration process between the player and club, but has no impact on Bichette’s free agency. It will still hit the open market in late 2025.

On the surface, this seems like a minor development: Bichette gets some steady cash and both sides avoid the headache of using an umpire for the next few seasons. There are, however, a few more hints from this quiet three-year deal.

Blue jays make Bichette happy

Bichette has always known his worth, so it’s no surprise that he submitted his offseason officiating value at $7.5 million. The Jays are down (which clubs always do) to $5 million, with the $2.5 million gap tied to the biggest discrepancy in MLB.

To understand Bichette, though, you have to rewind a little further. Last spring, Bichette, a pre-umpire player, was eligible for a slight raise for 2022 that would have raised his salary from $706,200 to $723,550. He declined the $23,550 pay raise.

The rejection was symbolic: a proverbial middle finger to the system. Bichette told Sportsnet he disagrees with how the pre-arbitration process evaluates players. The rejection of that cooked rise clarified Bichette’s views on arbitration’s strictness and underlined that the 24-year-old was ready to fight for what he believes he deserves.

That’s why it’s a big deal that the two sides have come to an agreement. Bichette was more stubborn than the average player during the negotiations—as he should, it’s his right—putting the Blue Jays in a potentially difficult position. This reported three-year extension gives Bichette an early payday and proves both sides Candies find common ground, an important element to remember as talks about a superextension escalate.

The Blue Jays gain confidence and avoid further headaches

As I mentioned earlier, there is the intangible element of avoiding the umpiring dance for upcoming offseasons. Does Bichette hate the way teams rate players? Well, he skips all those value-estimating minutiae and make your star happy in a low-risk hands-on negotiation before the real deal.

From a front-office perspective, the Jays make sure they’re not absolutely butchered in arbitration should Bichette blossom into a top three player of MVP caliber. Again, it’s hard to gauge without exact terms, though a source told Sportsnet that a deal in the $33.5 million range has been floated.

By the standards of other sports, $33.5 million over three years is a steal, especially for a shortstop (the top position on the diamond) with unholy batting-against-ball skills who are entering his prime. Unfortunately, that’s how the market works. The system is fractured; serve time is king and players have to work extra hard for their undisputed shot on an open market payday.

What could Bichette’s mega deal look like?

This three-year extension is worthy of a few pats on the back and perhaps a drink or two to acknowledge the occasion, but it’s hardly the celebration of the pop that will come when Bichette hits the jackpot. I see Bichette online for a contract worth nearly $300 million, but let’s check the background to refine this estimate.

We need to find a base for Bichette production. In 2022, he’s amassed 4.5 wins over replacement (fWAR), so let’s repeat that for the next three seasons. Using our generous calculation, he will have amassed 25.3 WAR through parts of seven MLB seasons and achieved free agency after the 2025 season.


fWAR before free will

Possible contract (AAV)

SS BoBichette

25.3* (7 seasons)

to be defined

SS Corey Seager

21.7 (7 seasons)

10 years, $325 million ($32.5 million)

SS Trea Turner

31.6 (8 seasons)

11 years, $300 million ($27.3 million)

SS Dansby Swanson

16.2 (7 seasons)

7 years, $177 million ($25.3 million)

SS Trevor History

21.3 (6 seasons)

6 years, $140 million ($23.3 million)

SS Javier Baez

21.8 (8 seasons)

6 years, $140 million ($23.3 million)

Xander Bogaerts was also paid this winter, although his situation is complicated as he initially signed a nine-year, $180 million contract with the Boston Red Sox but opted out after six seasons. Subsequently, he earned a wicked payday with the San Diego Padres, worth $280 million over 11 years.

Only at WAR, you can see why Bichette belongs on this list. Also, when he enters free agency after the 2025 season, Bichette will be younger than any shortstop on that list when they got paid. As such, I expect a contractual commitment of around 10 years.

There are also uncertainties, though. The payday will depend on whether clubs see Bichette as a long-term shortstop or a future second baseman. His hitting profile also raises questions, as his hack-and-slash approach to the pot relies heavily on club speed, which decreases as players age.

No matter, the Blue Jays will be in long-term contract discussions with Bichette down the road. For now, both the player and the club have done well to reach an agreement to avoid arbitration sooner.

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