AL East Notes: Guerrero, Sale, Rays
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays “I haven’t had the conversations yet” this winter over a multi-year extension, the slugger explains Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi and other journalists. Guerrero didn’t seem too concerned about the lack of talks, saying “I will stay focused on working hard and let my team take care of it“. The idea of a long-term deal between Guerrero and the Jays has been a topic essentially since Guerrero arrived in the majors as baseball’s top prospect, and even though the first baseman is heading into his fifth season of MLB, the clock isn’t ticking yet. strong under the control of Guerrero’s team. Toronto still has arbitration control over Guerrero through the 2025 season, and the two sides already agreed to a contract for Guerrero through 2023, as will earn $14.5 million for next year.
With Guerrero set to become a free agent before his age-27 season, this relatively early entry on the market likely means a particularly big payday awaits the first baseman, either from another team or extension form of Blue. Jays to lock down Guerrero as the face of the franchise. As Davidi points out, the huge long-term contracts handed out this winter certainly caught the attention of both the Jays and Guerrero’s representatives, and now both sides can get a better look at what it might cost the Blue Jays to retain the services of Guerrero Since most extension talks typically don’t begin until spring training, it will be interesting to see if Guerrero and the Jays have substantive negotiations or if any real progress is made toward an extension.
More from the AL East…
- After three injury-riddled seasons, Chris Sale told reporters (incl Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe) that he is “very very excited” about being healthy and heading into his first regular spring training since 2019. Between Tommy John surgery, a broken rib and broken fingers and wrists, Sale has pitched just 48 1/3 major league innings since the start of the 2020. season, which was also the first season of a five-year, $145 million contract extension that Sale had signed with the Red Sox the previous year. Given the lack of performance from this extension, Sale believes that “I owe my teammates the starting pitcher they thought they were going to get. I owe the front office the starting pitcher they paid for. I owe them the performances of the fans who pay to come see them“. Looking for a silver lining to his injury woes, Sale noted: “that three years ago [pitching] that’s not on my arm” as he enters his age-34 season. “This does not appear on the odometer. I have stayed in very good physical shape. My arm feels good. I have no doubts about moving forward with pitching“.
- September rays players are scheduled for arbitration hearings, which is (according to the MLB.com) is the third highest number of hearings for any team in the history of the arb process. President of baseball operations Erik Neander considered the lack of agreement in negotiations with the seven before the arbitration filing deadline to be “much more about the uniqueness of various players’ careers leading to a slightly more difficult experience for both sides to find common ground” said the executive Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “But I really believe that everyone worked to find it; we just didn’t get there“. As Topkin points out, the differences between the salary figures submitted by the Rays and the figures for the seven players total just $2.85 million. That said, it doesn’t seem likely that any deal will be worked out before the sides present their cases to an arbitrator unless a player signs a multi-year contract. [RELATED: the full list of the 33 players who are heading for arbitration hearings]
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