Bo Bichette avoids arbitration with 3-year deal
Blue Jays aware this contract not the mega-deal that awaits Bo in free agency
IN AGREEING TO 3-YEAR DEAL BO KNOWS COMPROMISE
New $33.6M contract was matter of give and take.
Make no mistake, Bo Bichette is now a wealthy young man. Feel good for him. On Thursday evening, the Blue Jays officially announced Bo’s three-year, $33.6 million (all figures U.S.) deal that carries him through a trio of arbitration-eligible seasons towards a still-pending free-agency following the ‘25 season.
The new agreement is worth a hearty handshake and a lifetime supply of Bo flow product, but neither side should be anxious to declare ultimate victory.
The future mega-contract that awaits Bo in time for the 2026 season, a reward connected to his superstar free-agency, is still far off. But this current contract will give both sides the necessary room to breathe and discuss behind closed doors Bo’s next contract and it ends the constant distraction of the fan and media wall-of-sound on social media regarding, not just Bichette’s status, but the other Jays’ young year-to-year stars like Vlad Guerrero, Jr. and Alek Manoah.
If Bo’s huge free-agent payday in three years is not as a Jay, it will be with someone else. That has not changed. This winter’s shortstop bonanza led by Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and others, has set the bar for stud shortstops and Bo now has three years to soar over that.
Let’s put this book-mark contract into further perspective. If Bichette had decided to play out his Jays tenure one year at a time – understanding that the Jays already control him for 2023-24-25 – the three resulting arb decisions would likely have landed at a similar $33-40 million amount. So instead of courting groundhog-day vitriol three times, via the arbitration process, the club reached out to their fan-popular, but sensitive shortstop with a fair market-value offer covering those three more seasons of control. Clearly, Bo knows compromise.
There are other clues pointing to the Jays well-thought-out logic, hoping this stopgap contract will trade off a “handshake-now” moment for victory hugs down the road. This deal with Bo is the means and not the end.
More clues to consider? Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro is forever eager to explain his philosophy on long-term deals with his own young players. He explains that the key to arriving at a multi-year deal prior to free-agency is for player and team to each be willing to take certain amount of risk and then arrive at a sweet spot where both sides can feel they are assuming similar risk and can smile and declare victory.
Historically, when major-league teams look to extend their young players, invariably they will pay fair market value for any remaining arb years, but then, always, they will buy out at least a couple of years of free agency. Otherwise, why bother?
The fact the Jays did not buy out any years of Bo’s free agency indicates that a next deal, venturing into those important seasons, may still, actually, be an ongoing conversation or one that has been promised to Bo and his reps.
Important to remember is when Bichette and the Jays exchanged arbitration numbers, they both knew the club’s set-in-stone policy had kicked in wherein they are mandated to go into the hearing and simply bury the player with every negative analytic out there causing some players to never forgive and never forget. The Jays preferred not to risk that barrier being erected and so did Bo. The logical compromise to circumventing club policy was this three-year deal.
The big picture point to remember is that Bo and Vlad are still not being separated and treated differently. They are both still in the same situation, free agents after 2025, currently building superstar careers that will end in 2026 handshakes and hugs, but that does not necessarily mean with the Blue Jays.
Thanks for reading Griff’s The Pitch! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.