Why the Blue Jays shouldn’t wait to extend Guerrero and Bichette

O ne way to avoid any such awkwardness is to settle on twin deals, something that actually isn’t unprecedented for the Blue Jays. In the spring of 2003, then GM J.P. Ricciardi bought out two pre-arbitration seasons and three arbitration seasons from two players he expected to become cornerstones – Eric Hinske ($14.75 million) and Vernon Wells ($14.7 million).

The Wells deal worked out very well. It eventually led to a $126-million, seven-year extension in December 2006, which ended with a January 2011 trade to the Los Angeles Angels. The Hinske extension didn’t pan out though, as the infielder, the 2002 AL Rookie of the Year, plateaued before being sold to the Boston Red Sox in 2006.

On April 4, 2008, the Blue Jays unveiled another pair of extensions, a $64-million, six-year deal for Alex Rios and a $12-million, four-year contract for Aaron Hill that included three sets of options. “You have to be pre-emptive with your young players that you believe in,” Ricciardi said at the time. “We’ve done this before. We’re batting .500 on that one, but sometimes you have to take those chances.”

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