What would it cost to sign Bo Bichette to an extension?

Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Georges
1 month ago
Bo Bichette has got off to an ice-cold first month of the season, wrestling with a .577 OPS through the first 28 games of the year. It’s important to note that it’s early, as the 26-year-old shortstop’s numbers are bound to improve as the weather warms up. Regardless of the slow start, the Blue Jays would be wise to explore an extension, as 2025 will be his last year of arbitration before hitting free agency in 2026.
Fangraphs recently looked at seven players who are ideal candidates for early extensions, with Bichette being mentioned as a possible option. The projected contract that was put forward was seven years, $151 million, which would be a bargain that Toronto should be jumping at the opportunity to sign. It would be a bit silly for Bichette’s camp to pull the trigger on a lowball extension offer, considering his early-season struggles and some of the recent deals that free-agent shortstops have signed.
This past offseason was absent of high-priced shortstops, but the winter of 2023 offers a sneak peek at what numbers the Jays may need to reach to sign the former Arizona State Sun Devil to an extension. Trea Turner (11 yr, $300M), Carlos Correa (6 yr. $200M), and Dansby Swanson (7 yr, $177M) signed big deals that may be the best comparison to what a contract may look like. It appears likely that Bichette will at least hit the AAV of these contracts, the lowest being Swanson at around $25 million per season. The Fangraphs projection has Bichette earning $21 million per year, which doesn’t seem like it will be good enough to get a deal done. If the Blue Jays want to get an extension signed before he hits free agency, it appears that they’ll have to at least hit the $25 million AAV mark.
In the current landscape of MLB contracts, a team’s only real chance of signing a young player to a big extension is if it’s a homegrown player. Bo Bichette (and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) offer this opportunity for the Jays, making it increasingly likely that they’ll do everything they can to keep one in the fold long-term. The way free agency is currently constructed forces teams to shell out big money for players at the end of their prime, as they end up paying for years when their skills have started to decline. Some of the best (or worse) examples of these types of free agents are Albert Pujols, Anthony Rendon, and Kris Bryant.
The Atlanta Braves may be the best example of what wise teams should be doing: locking up their young stars to team-friendly long-term deals. Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Michael Harris, and Spencer Strider have all signed deals that already look comically low compared to what they may have made on the open market, or if they had just waited a year or two.
As for Bichette, we’re talking about a player who has had an fWAR over 4.0 for the last three seasons, with his defence steadily improving as well (just two errors so far this season). Ignoring the slow start to this season, it’s not very often you see a shortstop put up the kind of offensive numbers that Bichette is capable of. Perhaps the biggest downside to his offensive game is his lack of plate discipline. His career BB% rate of 5.5% leaves a lot to be desired, which puts added importance on his high contact ability. As long as he’s hitting for a high batting average, the lack of walks won’t be a huge issue going forward.
Bo Bichette is certainly worth the projected contract that Fangraphs is proposing, and the Blue Jays are likely to up the ante to get a deal done. Shortstops tend to get paid on the open market, so there’s no telling how much he may get. The Blue Jays would be wise to get a deal done relatively soon so they never have to find out.

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