TORONTO — The Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with 11 of their 12 eligible players — including a significant raise for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — but were unable to reach an agreement with Bo Bichette at this time.
Guerrero and the club agreed to a salary of $14.5 million for the 2023 season, an increase from the $7.9 million he earned last year. The 23-year-old hit .274 with an .818 OPS, making his second All-Star Game and winning his first career Gold Glove at first base. With two more arbitrations for Guerrero, who won’t be a free agent until after the 2025 season, that number will continue to rise.
Bichette, on the other hand, can still continue to negotiate his 2023 salary in the coming weeks. If the Blue Jays and Bichette’s camp cannot reach an agreement, however, his case will head to an arbitration hearing before the season, where a panel will hear the cases from each side and select the salary proposed by one or other. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Bichette would win $5.75 million in arbitration.
With the young core becoming more expensive as the club spends heavily in free agency, these salary numbers weigh heavily in Toronto’s broader financial picture. There were no big surprises among the 11 that settled, however, with the group’s overall total approaching the outcast models.
Blue Jays deals reached before Friday’s deadline:
Among the top earners in these pre-arbitration deals is Romano, the Canadian star coming off a 36-stop season with a 2.11 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 64 innings. The right-hander’s uncanny ability to break out of jams and throw with runners on base has made him one of the AL’s top relievers over the past three seasons and, at 29, he has three years left in control of the team.